Symoné: “Artists that make me really feel one thing encourage me”

Phrases by Maria Elena Ricci.

Extravagant, immersive, athletic and multidisciplinary, Symoné is a one-of-a-kind artist with an plain, awe-some expertise. From spinning 50 hula hoops on her physique directly whereas skating on excessive heels, to presenting her work at standard and unconventional inventive venues, Symoné strikes although the performing arts flawlessly and courageously. 

DAJ: You conceive your physique as a ‘multiversal device’. What do you imply by that? 

Symoné : There may be a lot we will do and say with our our bodies; for a very long time I’ve been inquisitive about communications, notably physique language, sociology and linguistics. I studied linguistics at college and thought that this was what I used to be captivated with, however discovered myself extra excited by how we will inform tales with the physique. I prefer to preserve exploring how we use the physique. I imagine our our bodies are endlessly in a position to obtain and achieve this a lot, say a lot, and I feel there’s at all times far more that hasn’t been found.

DAJ: Your work as a multidisciplinary performer lives in numerous inventive cultures, from underground events to industrial and modern artwork. I’m inquisitive about what variations, structural or extra particular, you’ve observed or skilled in these completely different contexts? 

Symoné: These areas are all so completely different for certain. The primary two types of labor that come to thoughts that really feel very contrasting, just like the “entertainer vs artist” are the company areas vs. the dwell artwork performing areas. Firstly to say that is all based mostly on my expertise and ability set, it’s not gospel. I are inclined to work in company settings as a circus artist, however there are company dwell artwork occasions, I suppose I’m notably referring to the occasions that rent “leisure”… So there’s a language that I’m utilizing that isn’t common. 

Company areas are inclined to lean extra in direction of crowd pleaser abilities, fast exhibits, and excessive ability degree performing. These are usually situated in luxurious accommodations, personal occasions, company dinner events, and so on. and costuming and “look” may be very particular. 

If it have been a sort of spectrum, dwell artwork is far more expressive and the pacing of a efficiency is much more lenient. This tends to be carried out in all kinds of areas from artwork galleries, basement golf equipment, artwork centres, outside areas, and so on. From my expertise, I really feel just like the expertise and artistry is valued in some of these exhibits. 

Then there’s cabaret, outside work, indoor theatre, I feel these locations can combine artist vs entertainer and you may be extra versatile to how far on that spectrum you need to go, like there’s extra freedom. At the very least, that is how I strategy it. Additionally to say, this very a lot my skilled based mostly on what I do! I might say in my expertise with dwell artwork vs company settings…once I mentioned “there’s a particular look” in company settings I really meant gender and the way there’s an significance in conforming to magnificence requirements in these worlds and fluidity of gender (until you’re a drag queen) doesn’t appear to be one thing these areas will supply. Whereas all of those areas supply one thing completely different as a performer expertise and the viewers, actually I worth working in all these areas, I can categorical completely different components of me. 

DAJ: What influences your work? 

Symoné: I get requested this loads! I feel in my early years I used to be impressed by circus artists and cabaret, however discover myself the previous few years extra inquisitive about these exterior my major fields (notably writers, visible artists, technologists). Additionally, I’m impressed by artists and makers which have this “realness” and by realness I imply artists that make me really feel one thing. I like combining abilities and kinds and at all times studying new issues. Studying poetry, enjoying video video games, cooking and touring helps encourage and influences my work. 

My favorite: Taking walks in nature. The extra I open my thoughts and do an exercise exterior my very own, the extra it simply appears to feed into my work by pure feeling. I don’t actually really feel excited or impressed by what’s occurring Instagram or tiktok, I feel it’s superficially attention-grabbing however it doesn’t stimulate me sufficient to really feel like I need to create like these different inspirational kinds. That’s me I do know! I’m not saying these locations can’t be inspiring, however I feel saying what does and doesn’t encourage you is vital, realizing who you might be as an artist is vital… 

DAJ: How do you see your work in dialogue with previous, current and future? 

Symoné: Bear with me making an attempt to clarify this! Thematically time is one thing that appears to creep in subconsciously for my items. 

UTOPIAN (t&c’s apply) responded to energy roles, why they’re abused and the way hierarchy exists. When making this work I checked out my private previous and referenced human historical past and mirrored on these matters. I appeared into the long run craving for a sort of queer utopia. I used the Greek etymology of the phrase ‘utopia’ (which means “no the place”) as inspiration for this piece. I’ve a eager for one thing that appears too complicated to exist, however one thing I dream might exist in our future and I communicate to the current and future about this sense.

Euphorica, our ensemble costume based mostly efficiency in regards to the relationship to queerness and nature, has an identical intention with a sort of speculative fiction strategy. A lot of this work pertains to the previous and future, of how LGBTQIA+ individuals have been recognized, how they have been both honored extremely or disregarded and wanted to stay hidden alongside how nature strikes past time and human communication. This communication system was impressed from nature plus the previous when LGBTQIA+ individuals used coded programs throughout strict anti-homosexuality legal guidelines within the U.Okay as one instance. With this present we dreamed of a sort of queer telepathic community that was past our present senses and communication system as people. I feel much like UTOPIAN (t&c’s apply), there’s a feeling of “wanting right into a way forward for queer utopia” that this present is impressed from. 

A videogame I’m at present engaged on is considering reminiscence loss and the facility of the thoughts. Whereas I’m nonetheless figuring out what this piece is doing precisely, I feel I’m simply fascinated by expertise proper now, the place it’s going and the way a lot you need to use it with artwork and storytelling. I’d say when it comes to time, it’s turn into a reference for temper and aesthetic, how expertise appeared and sounded up to now (the way it glitched, the sounds, and so on) and utilizing this aesthetic throughout the storytelling to attach the concepts of reminiscences/and the previous. 

DAJ: What’s the position of care and pleasure in your work?

Symoné: Care is a phrase I like to think about, however pleasure is a phrase I just like the sound of enthusiastic about it extra! When it comes to care, I feel it’s one thing I take into consideration within the course of of making my work. For me, creating in a caring setting presents playfulness and good communication. When it comes to pleasure, I suppose the primary phrase that involves thoughts is voyeurism. It’s a phrase I like to think about extra within the remaining product of a few of my performances, and within the second as part of my character. I feel it’s a strong and empowering device I take pleasure in utilizing.

So far as care, I do worth “processed centered work” which means work that’s created mindfully with the method in thoughts. Creating playfully and in a timeline that looks like pleasure is essential to me. It’s like creating turns into meditative and creatively stimulating relatively than rushed and unenjoyable. 

Picture by Studio Radar.

DAJ: You’ll be able to spin 50 hula hoops in your physique directly, all while skating on excessive heels! What does your coaching and schedule seem like? 

Symoné: I used to coach 3-5 hours per week my first few years. I feel this was helpful in my observe however have since switched up my coaching to extra “micro coaching” 20 minutes to an hour a pair occasions per week…which usually involves the identical period of time as earlier than, however mainly I don’t crash and have to get well like earlier than and permits me to do extra exhibits healthily! 

My coaching classes sometimes seem like warm-up, conditioning centered (damage prevention workouts) creatively centered (creating new methods/strikes, and transitions) or drills (redoing actions and methods I take advantage of in exhibits to additional ingrain them in my physique). Consistency is essential.

DAJ: Are you at present engaged on any new productions? 

Symoné: Sure! As I discussed briefly I’m newly engaged on a present and videogame in regards to the energy of the unconscious thoughts and goals. It’s one other fusion of dwell artwork and circus and at present within the mode of getting it out into the world. When? Unsure but! Arts Council England have supported this preliminary R&D, and I purpose to have artist chats in regards to the technique of creation so if this pursuits you to debate I hope to share extra of this quickly on my Instagram and e-newsletter. Sorry for the shortage of particulars proper now on what I’m making. I’m making an attempt to not share an excessive amount of info on this stage however positively value preserving eyes open (and in the event you’re a programmer searching for new work and studying this please be at liberty to get in contact I’d be blissful to talk)! 

My present Euphorica and UTOPIAN (t&’s apply) are in planning mode, they are going to be out 2024/2025 for a tour in the event you missed it in 2022.


Subsequent present dates: Showwomxn by Marisa Carnesky September sixteenth – Full day of durational facet present performances by 16 of the UK’s main showwomxn (Smithfields). Header picture by Captured by Corinne.