Sam Quy is a freelance Flamenco dancer who has worked at the Royal Opera House and is BBC Strictly Come Dancing's Flamenco Dancer. Plastic Swan, her solo dance installation, highlights plastic pollution through telling the story of a swan who is dying from mistaking plastic in the river as food. We caught up with Sam to find out more about piece.
What was the Inspiration for Plastic Swan?
As a dancer/choreographer, I love to experience human movement. So, as a new London boat woman, I naturally find myself observing the beautiful movements of our wildlife.
Seeing these marvellous creatures nest on faded carrier bags and crushed plastic bottles really concerns me. So Plastic Swan is a dancers way of exploring this.
Why Totally Thames?
I want to be part of all the exciting river-based activities and bring dance to the festival. Totally Thames' theme of plastic pollution enables me to bring a nagging concern into the foreground through my choreography and hopefully reach others.
Why Plastic Pollution?
Wildlife eat our plastic rubbish as they think it's food. Birds can die of starvation this way. They are vulnerable. They cannot detect plastic or control pollution. We can, however, so we must do it for them! That's what I want to say through dance in Plastic Swan.
What are your influences?
My influences for this piece are mainly the swans and seeing the dance in their movements. My own dance style has many influences due to my background in ballet, musical theatre, contemporary and flamenco dance.
A strong grounding in Classical Ballet training from June Mitchell at the Royal Academy has given me longevity in my career and guarded me against injury.
Working with choreographer Gillian Gregory as a child has had a deep impact on my theatricality and musicality. Also, working with contemporary choreographer Jane Dudley as a child helped me look further than the obvious inside choreography and narrative.
Working with Arthur Pitta at Royal Opera House taught me radical new choreographic approaches. Milagros Menjibar's training in the Sevillan school of flamenco gave me a traditional base from which to develop and Javier Latorre's musicality inspired me further.
Were any other artists involved in this production?
Plastic Swan is a solo piece which owes big thanks to Willow Witch of Pendle who made my unusual costume idea a reality; GarageBand App for enabling me to actually produce the impossible musical mix inside my head! The Space and Canary Wharf for their wonderful roof garden arts facility, Ursula Sampson for sharing her Dance Double Bill with me and Totally Thames Festival for their interest and support in my project.
- Plastic Swan will be performed at 12pm & 1pm on Tue 5 Sep