|Bea Bidault taken at Uillinn, 3rd June, 2023|
A native of Barcelona via training in London, I asked Bea about her impressions of West Cork and how her experiences of Skibbereen have been.
“Well it’s a very beautiful part of the world. I had an amazing time even though it has been a short week and I have mostly been in the studio. I have been to the lakes and I have seen bioluminescence. That has brought me a lot of joy.”
She has also been taking the opportunity to find commonality with local people in Skibbereen, including her host, of whom she speaks warmly, ”I have been staying in town with Lisa Coughlan (one of the recommended West Cork hosts for artists in residence at Uillinn) which has been amazing and we have been just chatting and discussing the piece’s themes and other things.”
Bea demonstrates an openness to draw inspiration from people from other walks of life, “I just think that having this opportunity to talk to people who grew up here and do things very related to dance because she uses somatic practices, and using movement to help others, it has been very interesting and very inspiring as well.”
I asked her about her own creative practice and how she approaches the themes in her work and she points to philosophers such as Byung-Chul Han, Silvia Federici and Franco Berardi, “I like this idea of using philosophy as a way to describe the present. I think it’s like looking through some lenses to see how the present is being shaped and how that is contrasting the past or even other ideas of how society could be.”
When prompted to discuss some of the main themes she wishes to tackle with her work, Bea appears to have cultures of consumption clearly in her line of sight, “I think this idea of neoliberalism and how we are exploiting ourselves. And our body, our personality, our identity becomes a tool to function in this society because I think consumption and capitalism are much embedded. We have this idea of becoming better or acquiring more knowledge and competing amongst ourselves to find this success.”
She elaborates further on the perils and pitfalls that neoliberal value systems pose to communities and individuals, “I think that is a trap because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to become something and to be always achieving so that we are always in this place of unsettledness and dissatisfaction. And also that just brings more loneliness and alienation in the community because we are becoming more self-centred and therefore more narcissistic.”
Bea hopes that even if dance is viewed as a very abstract form to meet these challenges and pose these questions, that these ideas can be effectively and interestingly explored and contested through the artform.
I was curious about what form the process of devising a new dance piece might take; whether there is a clear destination in sight or whether the devising journey is relatively open-ended so I asked Bea about her own experiences and outlook on this process.
“I think there are some ideas I have that I would love to create so I am working towards those,” she acknowledges although she does remain open creatively, “The aim is to get these main things done but obviously the journey is going to determine whether I find some new images and how the whole piece is going to be shaped by them.”
A particularly striking aspect of Bea’s Les Nuages sharing has been her use of a clear plastic suit and a smoke machine, which make it clear that costumes is something that Bea appears to consider of immense importance for this piece.
“I am still looking for a costume designer,” she shares, “and then to have an R&D with them. It’s possibly going to be the most influential part of the work because it’s going to be determining if some of the images are possible or not, or maybe the costumes are going to bring other possibilities that I had not thought of yet.”
Bea Bidault's residencies at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre (https://www.westcorkartscentre.com/bea-bidault)
Bea Bidault's website (https://beatrizcalzado25.wixsite.com/my-site)