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Planting tiny seeds that grow into massive connections

We asked Vicki Oliver about volunteering with Moving Memory on making Love Grows, a new dance piece coming to bOing!2019.

Volunteering for this project has been exciting. Seeing the enormous outcomes happen, such as the joy of dancing as a whole collective of strangers. Or young and older people working and playing side by side to create a dance. But for me it was the tiny things, little connections and acts, that have made Love Grows so special to volunteer with.

Each week we engaged in small, and seemingly simple activities, to forge connections with each other. Right at the beginning, this included drawing round the hands of each other. Then writing in them the things the hands had held and loved. While the bigger idea was to find out about the moments in which we have experienced love, it was the tiny act itself that created a bond. When you draw around a stranger’s hand, you make contact with them, touch their hand with care, and feel safe in making that connection. Young skin against old, allowed to understand what each other looks and feels like. The trust not to cover each other in pen!

Later on, we decorated cookies with portraits of each other. This simple exercise was not at all about the quality of the outcome. But about being given permission to look in detail at another face. To talk about eye colour or point out spots and lines and freckles! The honesty of the young ones was ‘refreshing’! To pick someone you don’t know and do this takes a certain amount of courage. Many of the children at first asked to draw their teacher or friend. But with a little encouragement, it paid off! It’s an activity I’d encourage anyone to do, to take a few minutes and really look at someone else’s face. The results were extraordinary.

And finally, it was the personal stories that were shared between everyone. Anecdotes such as hanging onto railings so as not to go to school. Owning a dog with the same first name as last. Knowing how to be a ninja or how to grow plants from cuttings. Each of these stories inside us makes us unique, and the sharing of them has brought us together to ‘grow’ love. Each of these tales appears in the film and the dance that we cannot wait to share.