I'm not really. I couldn't even if I tried. I'm just making a piece with an old friend.
I met Tony Adigun about ten years ago somewhere in the deep of East London. I stepped off an open mic stage and he was there with compliments and questions and collaborations in mind. This was way before I ever called myself a writer and way before I knew the basics of graphic design. I was just a dude with a notepad and bootlegged photoshop, with things to say and sketch, looking for spaces and people to belong to.
Very quickly, I became the in-house graphic designer for Tony's dance company AVANT GARDE and grew to creating text for them and once in a blue while, taking part in performances, threatening that if he turned his back too long I's start dancing. I wrote for his productions: The Bunker Thing and Illegal Dance. I also wrote a libretto which Tony choreographed, which was performed at the Royal Opera House. I sometimes forget this happened... I reminded Tony yesterday and he went completely blank for a few seconds before saying... "Oh shit! Bruv, we did that!"
Tony is busy. I mean BUSY. I mean if his diary was sentient, it would have tried to make a run for it by now. I'm crazy at the best if times too... but over the years we have talked about ways of working together, just him and I on a stage. The Place and The BAC have worked together to make this happen under the expert hand of Christina Elliott who was my first project manager at Fuel and is now Tony's at The Place.
I'm nervous and excited. Contemporary dance goes where language fails. It is concerned with communicating what the sounds of words mean to say... whereas poetry is the harsh blunt word; dance is the ghost and poetry is often the machine. Tony was born in England and speaks a Nigerian language. I was born in Nigeria and speak none. Tony is Yoruba and I am Hausa meaning historically, he is my mortal tribal enemy. Tony is stocky and muscular and I... well, my muscles mostly transport my brain from one room to another these days...
But we are creating something. For the first day of rehearsals, we talked and laughed and shook our heads and reminisced and dreamt came up with lists of things not to do, and parameters to guide what we will do. We have a first line and a title... I think it will be called 'On Any Given Night'.
Come see me dance.