ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: MICHAEL NAYLOR

Tell us a little about yourself, what’s your name? where are you from? What do you do?

My names Michael Naylor, I was born in a little town called Bedford and I’m a creative artist. I work with movement. 

Why do you dance?

The basic answer is because it just feels so so good. The deeper one is because its my theropy, mentally and physically. Its meditation to music, nothing clears my mind more while taking me on such a journey. I have to dance to feel alive sometimes. Billy elliot nailed it, that whole song electricity – its cheesy as hell but its all so true. 

What is your favourite experience in dance and why?

So many beautiful experiences, also so many challenging ones. Favourite is a lie, favourites maybe… Two quick ones that stick out are choreographing a 4 minute piece with a group of traditional Ghanaian dancers in Ghana, we worked together and bounced off each other and the light and love they shared will always be with me. Another was improving with Emma Portner the very first time I met her, she challenged me and led me to explore way past my comfort zone. But truth me told most my favourite dance moments are just getting lost improving in a park on sunny day or in my house with some dimmed lights and deep sounds. 

What inspires you to create your art?

What doesn’t… Everything is inspiring. Nature, human interaction, colour, live music, a soft breeze. All sorts. Sound is probably the ultimate, great music moves you no matter who you are. Also pain, pain is underrated, channeling struggle and pain and allowing movement to harness the pain is beautiful. 

If you weren’t a dancer, what would you be? and would it still be in the creative field?

A bum. Who knows. I’d like to live sustainably off the land one day. Maybe I’d find a way to self sustain myself and live/love as stripped back as possible. Creating with nature perhaps. 

As someone who has gone through injury, what advice/information would you give to help others prevent it?

Injury will never stop you if you care enough. Use the time to invest in other aspects of your life. I won’t lie injury sucks but I wouldn’t be as greatful for life without my time bandaged up on crutches etc. Prevention – don’t be silly and listen to your body. I danced on a badly torn meniscus basically straight away because my ego wouldn’t let me rest. Rest, recover, dance again. 

Do you see yourself dancing forever? If not, what other ventures would you like to pursue?

I guarantee I’ll be the old dude left on the dance floor at the end of the night at all family parties or weddings, probably just giving you a gentle two step, eyes closed and full feeling. Other ventures… I want to convert a van and travel for a while. But career wise, who knows… I’ve dipped in and out of choreography since I started and I’d like to have the confidence to peruse that properly, especially within theatre. Dance theatre done right can be so so powerful. Also choreographing for musicals is a dream too. See where the wind blows me. 

 

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