Gravida is this week! Final reflections from the rehearsal room…

On this day I was joined by digital image maker LMHC (see photographic reflections page), Marega Palser (today a visual artist – see Marega Palser Drawing the Process page) and Iwan Brioc filming for our parent Company The Republic of the Imagination).

Further and final reflections from the rehearsal room…once again not for the feint hearted but well worth the investment of a few minutes..promise…now book your tickets…
Rehearsal 4 17 May 2013

Exotic erotic
Darrrleeeng! One
Creative greets
Another – today
We are overwhelmed
With observers;
Swamping the duet
Do they risk drowning
In the waves of visual
Description? Caution
Must be applied.

Waiting for our
Choreographic controller
Five arrive to warm
Up; even I stretch
(A little too far) on
Crutches – a lung
Is ‘performed’!
She balances on
One leg (left) the
Right reversing to
More than a right
Angle; practically
100 degrees!
Perfect precision is
Essential; accommodating
Her hibernating
Incubating precious
Parcel – is he moving?
Responding as his
Tiny head must surely
Bump against her
Placenta, ‘battered’
By movement, the waves
In the amniotic fluid?
Curious contemplation
From a barren childless
Spinster! One could
Inadvertently go too
Far! Beyond polite
Pondering so easily.
These three ladies
Are amazing delicious
Quite.. one is unusually
Lost for words!

Aleksandra, or Mrs Jones, comments that…
Today is in effect
First rehearsal –
Run through! Blank
Canvases both; rude
As the day they
Were born! Evolutionary
Journeys, in parallel
And yet completely
Separate; different
Continents, cultural
Context moulded
Discreetly without
Requesting permission!
Nature presumptuously
Is always right; a
Mother’s privilege
Perhaps? An incubator
Temporarily newbee
Carves instructions
A route map to guide
Her; she talks herself
Audibly as she moves.
More relaxed today;
Laughter ripples
Its infectious!
Facing mirrors
Somehow magnifies;
More than simple

A bank of observers
Seated in a line
Backs and buttocks
Against the mirrored
Wall; our reflection
Must be captured
In our own media.
In words, in lines
In images twice

Once again these
Boyish girls indulge
That new feminity,
Curves proudly on
Show! But only from
A frontal profile
Neat, discrete these
Bumps almost an
Accessory, an add on
An essential compact
‘Cupboard’ of foetal
Matter bobbing gentle
In amniotic fluid.
Concern expressed
A second time
‘ The baby’s moving?’
Newbee surprisingly
Glances to her belly
Focussed in the zone
She still isn’t
Pregnant in her head
Not completely; a
Consummate profession
Previously described
By me, as a ‘panther’.
She falls once
More; ‘we should
Say don’t do this
At home!’ an advisory
Programme note!
Rolling around
Rotating floor work
Belly in contact
Gently, briefly
Pulled back she
Stops, ‘he’s hanging
Out on the side!’
She needs to pee
Rapidly exit stage

Punctuated by
Camera bleeps in
Concert, they jar
As they carefully
Capture the essence
This acted out
Journey; the truck
Stops along the way
With other fellow
Travellers ready with
Advice, helpful,
Unhelpful, complimentary
Implied criticism
Slices into an already
Uncertain soup
Of information.
Juicy tidbits float
Alongside putrid
Painfully poisonous
People determined
To throw a gal off
Course! When did
You appear? With
The acknowledged right
To interfere?I will
NOT cry, you will NOT
Win! No I’m off
Get back on track –
Question is if you
Were dying would
I stop to help? We
Have other priorities
Now, no longer children
Playing innocently.

Frieda Kalhoesque
New camera chick
Swirls silently around
The studio; exotically
Erotic sensuous she
Steps from shot to shot
Simultaneously scoping
Out her next frame
One of a trio of camera
Converting dynamic
Bodies into visual
Eels in aspic; not for eating
Beautifully converted
In eye candy to be
Consumed later;
Not by these observers
But by an unknown
(Hopefully) hungry
Audience; will we
Collectively provoke
Lip smacking menu
Items, preselected
For their delectation.

Gravida – Coming Soon….

DSCF9625Further reflections from the rehearsal room…once more not for the reader requiring a shot of invitation to pause, to ponder and allow the mind to wonder…a coffee, a cigarette, an indulgent little something…if you have the time you won’t be disappointed…

Marking Tango

She can’t contain
Herself; she is so
Utterly beautiful
When she smiles
Illuminating her
Entire face, eye
Piercing affectionate

Elegance gliding
Gracefully limbs
Rolled bellies touch
Bump to bump
Realisation provokes
A hilarity that breaks
The moment joyfully!

Toes point to
Draw the Tango
Clasping hands
Gradually move
Together slowly as
Four extreme
Branches; forty
Twigs outstretched
Become entwined
Rigid as if
Brittle, enough to
Snap! Oh no this
Is Tango! Lurch
And limb; slowly
Descend don’t
Go up; not now.

My compatriots
One forearmed with
Pre packed (nutritionally)
Balanced lunches
Found encased amongst
Snacks! Cruella is
Aggressively attacking
So I have Fentanyl to
Feed my pain (nerves)

Boyish usually
Androgynous girls
Display a new feminine
Confidence; today
All woman they
Exchange conspiratorial
Superior glances.
The South American
Cool cannot be maintained
Newbee seeks reassurance
None is received She
Is contained!! Get
Over yerself please!

Limbs surround
Torsos high under
Arms bellies gorged
Reflecting creating
A side by side dance
Ensemble. Affection
Evident they walk
Away reluctantly
Turning back to
Metaphorically wave
Au revoir; they
Will meet again!
Soon please! See
You later – but she
Doesn’t know for sure

Almost pleading not
To be abandoned;
Lady this is Tango –
Cruelty comes with
The territory, this
I KNOW for sure!
Even memories still
Provoke a lump
In my throat; where
Are they now? My

Re-group, Newbee
Is never going to
Completely loose that
Shadow of a smile
Does it matter i
Wonder? From where
Are we all seeking
To escape from
To disentangle from?
Arms first followed
By legs; slender
4 each – the
Photographer guy
Out of view is
On the windowsill
Oh please be careful!

Newbee leads this
Final withdrawal
Finally getting it
Right this time
She stayed reluctantly.
All pleased with
The performance today
Timing was nice
French kissing with
Bellies side by side
Together differently.

Time for the dresses
Choreographer requests
A male from the space
To change; shed
One skin for another.
This time a second
Skin encased completely
No hiding place. No
Socks please Newbee
Still striding like
A teenage boy
Slouching somehow
Whilst erect!

Costumes in place
One black, one white
Latter see-through sheer
Beyond a family
Audiences’ sensibilities!
Dark nipples, Venus
Triangle clearly evident.

Let’s go with music
Newbee still talks
Herself through her
Sequence. Rapid
Sharp nervous
Movement rapid
Dancing round
A gliding move
Comrade. She
Falls, lies prone
Whilst She chops
The air; the Julienne
From day two.
Controlled neat
Sharp clean cuts
Carve a channel.

Suddenly I am
Overwhelmed at how
Utterly exquisitely
Beautiful this
Performance is going
To be – more people
Absolutely must see;
Experience this
Emotionally charged
Expose of an internal

Poised perfection
Statuesque they stand
Forever it seems
Disappearing in full
View they dive
Discreetly into the
Middle distance.

Newbee rushes
Towards me; her face
Etched with anxiety
Or is that pain?
She gazes maternally
Silently endorsing
A stamp of approval
In place but did
She feel it sufficiently?
Enough to continue?
Oh god I do hope so
Through invisible tears
I say this pleadingly.

Now this next
Segment a compound
By music so rousingly
Charged; a fire
Is kindled somewhere
Inside us all
Collectively we wallow
As we brush away
That tear that
Leaked (emotional
Incontinence perhaps
So foul a term
I wish to erase

A face lovingly
Brushes an arm
And yet these
Two are not lovers;
No the evidence
Clearly shows another
Presence has been
Here! Proof if needed
Protrudes, the arch
Of two pregnant
Bloated beautiful
Bellies! Fuck you
We’ve been there before
Claim stated!
Stamped; even
Proof of postage.

And now the Tango
Who says ivory
Skin whitened by
Welsh weather isn’t
Exquisite albeit
In its own way?
I dare you!
Eye content that
Penetrates, fingers
Linked, locked for
Now as one. Side
By side, legs thrust
Apart. Aloof the
Glance is alone
The one we give
For us not them
No exchange intended.

Newbee looks toward
She away unerringly
Disarmingly determined
Not to engage. Distracted
Distant; icy, glacial?
No in a flicker of an eye
She, we disengage; turn
On the tiniest of coins
Slipping seamlessly on to
Displaying superb musculature
(Arms); authentic Argentinean
Tango; concluding
With a suggestion of mine,
A slash of red lipstick!

Gravida – Coming Soon…


Rehearsal Reflections by Fran Medley

The Gravida page gives the background to the rehearsal reflections. This one is part of the free writing prose poetry written by Fran Medley. Check out the Gravida page for a long example of this experimental approach to recording the development process..please note these posts may test the patience of the reader seeking a swift injection of information…

Dressing Up was written during the second rehearsal when costumes were being explored

Dressing Up
Tango in a negligee
Fur edge dressing gown
Spinning in knee high
Black socks (floral)
Walking, running
Round and round
No bra, no longer
Boyish she holds her
(New) breasts

In virginal white
Her milky skin
Striding she pauses
To chop the air
In front of her
Hands at right
Angles – julienne
Those vegetables
Shredded to perfection

In black she is
Swimming; stand up
Breast stroke how
Utterly apt. Concluding
She falls gracefully
To the floor

Creating a new world,
For your children
And it’s not easy!
Scoop away the
Particles, like a
River eroding a flowing
Path, a channel
Leaping into the
Unknown. Where
Is the freedom
Rather than creating?

The particle of matter
That could form
Something. I can’t
Know everything
But you know
What you NEED
To know!

Making another world
Creating the world
The future. Repeating
In circles where
Life begins

Planets, universally. Cosmos
Vertical cut – just
Do it! Its easy
Its not straightforward
Complicated its
Complicated – pushed
Sideways – different
Questions – things to
Consider. Struggles
(New struggles)
Welcome to the club!

Distracted destruction
One by the other
Ha ha she’s in black
But you are totally
In your heads –
Internal dialogue
Friction, conflict
In context of new life

Whirling dervish
Pushed sideways
Pause battered
Head spinning
Loose balance
Fall – be careful!
Stay and rest. You
Continue, done it
Before its ok!
Don’t know where
Audience is?

She leans back against
The mirror – intently
Staring, watching
Black shorts with
Tights baseball boots
Red sock emerge
A stylish touch.

Red box create
Gauze – projection
Perhaps? A set design
Begins to form; we all toss
This ball around.

New Activity 2013

Thanks to the support of the Arts Council of Wales Women in Pregnancy is able to continue to explore the impact of pregnancy on a woman’s creativity specifically implementing two of the recommendations from the 2012 pilot project. The project has been awarded funding to create a choreographed work with two pregnant professional dancers and to begin to develop the partnership with Valleys Kids and Rhondda Cynon Taf Community Arts.

This phase of the project is being taken forward with Choreographer Aleksandra Jones and Creative Producer Frances Medley. We are delighted to have Leah Crossley on board to document this phase in her own very unique innovative style; as LMHC Leah is developing a reputation for photographing performance having worked with a number of performance companies since graduating in 2012.

Gravida is a choreographed work created by Aleksandra Jones with pregnant professional performers Tanja Raman and Lara Ward. Originally conceived as a solo work Aleksandra couldn’t resist the opportunity to work with two professional performers when we found out that Lara Ward was pregnant too! Both Tanja and Lara were part of the pilot project and Women in Pregnancy is proud to have created a platform facilitates performance opportunities for professional dancers during pregnancy. Gravida is a partnership between Women in Pregnancy, taikabox (Tanja Raman’s company), TROTI (our parent host company) and Chapter (our ever present and supportive venue where Women in Pregnancy both rehearse and present our work).

The law of gravity changes during pregnancy: one law for the mother and another for the child waiting in the amniotic foyer of life. Gravida is the dance of the two gravities performed as part of the Women in Pregnancy exploration of the impact of pregnancy on womens creativity.

Currently in development Gravida will be performed at Chapter at 6 pm on the 28/29 May 2013 (see details above). Creative Producer Frances Medley will be documenting the rehearsal process over the coming weeks as the choreographed work is developed. Follow this blog to view Frances’ posts!

One Billion Rising

ImageWomen in  Pregnancy has been quiet over the last few months – the pregnant participants have been busy giving birth and getting to know their new additions. Aleksandra Jones, the WIP Choreographer, gave birth to Mirijana and has been busily introducing her to the world of work – she is Lead Director for a number of projects that her parents company (The Republic of the Imagination) are involved in!

WIP is currently developing the partnerships with Valleys Kids and Rhondda Cynon Taf Community Arts alongside planning a piece of choreography with a professional pregnant dancer. More of which over the coming months.

Yesterday WIP collaborated with Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff to take part in the One Billion Rising Campaign raising the awareness of violence against women. A flashmob led by Choreographer Aleksandra with the active participation of some of the WIP participants took place in the Cafe just after noon. Using the WIP ‘theme tune’ Dianne Reeves Endanger Species we performed a short piece of choreography drawn from Pregnant Bolero created as part of the Pilot Project.

The surprise addition of a random member of the public who had seen the WIP rising on the One Billion Rising event map finished off our typically curious intervention! Star performers were two of our youngest performers who last time they were involved in WIP were inside pregnant bellies! 

The rising was filmed and we hope to be able to share this with you soon – Fran – in her own inimitable way challenge the image of disability by attempting to ‘perform’ on her crutches!


Reflections on the World Premiere of Pregnant Bolero

Here are a few of the comments made at the final presentation in response to seeing Pregnant Bolero. The fragments below include the fathers of the babies (our hidden performers) and it is these that are especially touching. Fathers we have anonymised the feedback to protect your blushes at a particularly emotional moment!

‘The whole project has been very uplifting for us, her involve in the project has affected me and I have a demonstration at home, I had a private preview (…) so I’ve been looking forward to the whole performance but nothing prepared me, none of the talking before prepared me for what I was going to see upstairs. It was really beautiful. I was really really moved by the grace and I loved the music, (..) I enjoyed it enormously.’

‘I am still shaking inside actually because it was immensely moving and evocative. It brought back memories from the first delivery, the Bolero playing during the delivery. Seeing the mothers carrying the babies it was something magical, something divine actually, the a love that does not know any boundaries, that came over very much for me. Also sort of love and spirituality, thinking of Mary mother of Jesus, carrying off Jesus, did she dance?’

‘If I would be a woman and I would be pregnant I think that I’d really enjoy it. It was nice to watch, it was peaceful, ‘choreotherapy’ ‘

‘I loved it, I’ve been around since the beginning of initial ideas. It was lovely to see Rowan in it, puts things in a different context as well, beautiful. And I love seen it on stage, this is obviously the beginning of something, but I love to see it in a theatre on stage, because it has kind of meditative and intensity that need a frame, and it needs costume, and I’ve no idea what kind of costumes.’

‘I find it very moving, I was taken by the fact that it felt very personal but at the same time I had a strong sense of the collective.’

 ‘Strong women in fragile spaces’

‘This tiny baby was so present, I absolutely loved that, I was held completely within it, this is something that in my work place would have some potential. I have a very young team of very intelligent women; I am surrounded by women in their 30s with small children, I kept seeing all of them in the room and that was very powerful.  In terms of the actual physical piece I would like to see it in a theatre space.’

‘I really enjoyed it, particularly towards the end of the Bolero I was feeling quite relaxed, I was coming back to when I was taking part in the Bolero myself, it’s peaceful, very lovely.’       


In One Shell Two Hearts

I happened to open yesterday a very dusty and slightly damaged shoe box piled among many in the attic . In blue pen on the side read ‘Babies’. Inside, among hospital mum and baby name tags and other birthing memorabilia I found this poem. I had forgotten I wrote it only a few weeks before giving birth to my second child. Truly what had me more intrigue this time was not the emotional state but the date at the end, 1.11.01. It seems so significant now somehow… First 1 body, then 1 body and 1 body, then 0 body and 1body… Mine? His? I though some of you may like to read it in this blog. Just a thought: your babies just born, your thoughts prior to birth and now, all will have 1 and 2 on their date, clearly I am glad to say, a much more positive look.


And here I am


Waiting and preparing

Preparing to say good bye

Preparing to say hello.

Waiting on this rock

Letting go of me

On this rock, holding on

Waves crushing with new foam

Letting go of me.

Dreaming of you

Two in one


A sea and a rock

A window and a wall.





Two hearts in one shell.


Screening Of The Documentary

As part of the Women in Pregnancy Pilot Project we are producing a dvd documentary about the workshop process, the Authentic Body  methodology and the creative imperative behind the project. This 12-15 minute film will be screened in the small cinema in Chapter at 430 pm on Thursday 31 May 2012. The primary purpose behind the screening is to show the film to the people who have been involved in the process but if you are interested in coming along please email . We are keen for as many people as possible to see the documentary and find out more about Women in Pregnancy but we are limited by the capacity of cinema so please do let us know if you are planning on coming along on the 31st!

This will be the opportunity to meet some of the small people who are inside the pregnant bellies on the DVD! Two girls and a boy have joined the real world since the project finished – by the time of the screening there could be two more!

If you are interested in the documentary but are unable to come along to the screening please do contact the project and we can send you a copy of the DVD (subject to availability). Over the coming months we will be considering how to take the Women in Pregnancy project forward and we would love to hear from individuals or organisations who are interested in getting involved.