Sunday, 25 November 2012

City Running Bristol

On the night of Friday 30 November I will take part in City Running Bristol. At a time when I am usually fast asleep, I will be researching a neglected part of the city with 29 other artists. Under the eyes of the audience we will play, gather, create and perform. The process seems as important as the outcome, an aspect I value very much. You can book a FREE ticket and enjoy the process between 9pm and 2am.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Lost in Broadmead

Last Sunday I met with Beth Porter, Mark Anthony Whiteford and Bart Jekiel for a multi-art improvisation session at DanceSpace, Bristol. Bart and I had explored movement and drawing before (see posts Burning Giraffe and Shared Imagination). Now Beth and Mark added soundscapes and more. Continuously improvising for 1.5 hrs, we wove sound, voice, movement and drawing into a wonderful web of surreal stories.

Moments I recall:
At the opposite end of time I feel a painful embrace long gone. A voice nagging inside ... longing ... losing. A dog searching for his bone. A woman with a hole in her belly, lost in Broadmead. He doesn't see, he doesn't care. A crow arrogantly judging. A scarf took a piece of neck away. Lines drawn on bodies. Bones tapping bones at the Police Station. No 75 bus taking them home.

Moments Bart drew:

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Dancing into unknown Forms of Leadership

I currently work as a freelance artist for Creativity Works, an organisation that commissioned artist Marina Sossi to lead the socially-engaged art and health project The Black Dog Residency. I wrote this article for The Black Dog Residency blog.

My name is Itta Howie. As part of the Creative Links project I offer Soul Dances – Movement and Imagery. I have led sessions before and after Marina’s residency, pausing during the time of the residency to give the black dog more space to roam.

In each of my sessions we let movement experiences flow into drawings. Below are the titles I gave my drawings from the last five weeks: 

Beginning to know one another

Cell bodies landing

Birds messing about

Let’s see what happens


Looking at the titles I see a process. It’s partially a familiar process I go through every time I work with a group. But in sessions four and five something unfamiliar happened to me: shifting, questioning, relaxing, doubting, wanting, needing, allowing, tightening, losing it – a legacy of the Black Dog Residency?

The journeys with the black dog are not over. They meander through my sessions. I notice a shift in participants’ desires. How do I respond to these? 

Somehow the last session was all about tortoises. So here it is, me as a chameleon-tortoise in the middle of a session, trying to adapt, to take on the many colours swirling around me, feeling for what’s needed, putting out spikes to protect me. I shared these feelings with the group – suddenly all of us were connected on the same ‘horizontal plane’ with our emotions, questions and doubts.

At the time I felt exhausted, challenged and desperate. Now it feels like a good starting point for a new journey:

How can I go with the flow of what happens within the group and also take responsibility for what’s happening?

How can I inspire with my art form and creative processes and also give room to the processes unfolding within the group?

How can I combine ‘holding’ with ‘letting go’?

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Burning Giraffe

A couple of weeks back Bart and me did another dance and drawing session (see March post Shared Imagination). Using Salvador Dali's Burning Giraffe as initial inspiration, we entered a process where dance leads drawing, drawing leads dance, and so on. Here is my favourite of Bart's images combined with words that I wrote to express my inner journey.

Pulled into belly drawer 
back burning

orbiting the black earth
expansion … sucked in

gnarled ivy out of control

lightness anchored by claws

feather skirt 
covering oceans

punctured lungs
spreading gold dust.

Monday, 19 March 2012


Last month Chris Lewis-Smith invited me to take part in his PhD research on screen dance. Within a few hours Chris, musician Beth Porter and myself created the material for the film BOX. What you see is an improvisation inspired by a poem. It was a novelty for me to dance in a black studio ... no objects, no environment to relate to! I very much enjoyed the process and the connection between us three. We had never worked together before. Here the link:

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Shared Imagination

Last Sunday I met up with graphic artist Bart Jekiel for an experimental session of dance and drawing. Using Butoh imagery as inspiration I moved; using my evolving dance as inspiration Bart drew. Ephemeral dances and tangible outcomes. Yet the drawings don't document the dance. Instead they hold something of both our imaginations ...