The Heroine’s Journey of Shelley Owen

What is the best thing that I love about my work? My work provides the opportunity to connect, communicate and exchange with people from different backgrounds and experiences, from all over the world. I have the pleasure of working alongside so many interesting people, work across different countries and collaborate with other art forms.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Perfect happiness is being surrounded by loved ones, whilst enjoying a glass of red wine.

What is my greatest fear? My greatest fear is being disconnected and lonely in the world. Human connection, touch, sharing of energy is so important to me.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I think I can be too critical sometimes. I give myself a hard time.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? There are numerous people I admire within my profession. Katie Duck stands out for me though as someone I have had the pleasure of working with. A beautiful, kickass woman who has paved her own way.

What is my greatest extravagance? Probably wine. I do love a good bottle of red wine.

On what occasion would I lie? I pride myself of being a very open and honest person, so tend not to lie. Although I would lie if it was to project someone who has told me something in confidence.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Oh don’t get me started. The inequality, gender bias, hierarchy, the competitiveness of some working within the performing arts (dance mostly I must say)… There is a lot of positive action being taken to address some of these issues, but we still have a very long way to go.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? There have been lots of happy moments over the years. In 2017 I did a project in Northern Finland, which was a great adventure for me and a very happy memory. It was an interest project where I worked alongside a group of amazing artists. As it was my first visit to Finland the opportunity to spend time in a new country was also a real perk.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I would be less self-critical. It is easy to find fault, doubt your abilities or doubt how far you have come, instead of taking a moment to look at the bigger picture and say to yourself “you know what girl, you’re doing alright! Look what you’ve achieved.”

What is my greatest achievement in work? I expect my greatest achievement is yet to come. Although, when I reflect on the past four years in particular I am proud of the progress made and projects produced. Maybe my greatest achievement is sticking at it. Not being deterred even when faced with the challenges that come with working in the arts.

Where would I most like to live? Amsterdam.

What is my most treasured possession? My notebook is my most treasured possession. This book has been carried with me for the past few year, holding markings, thoughts, sketches. These often nonsensical scribbles are the very start of what has materialised into embodied performance works shared with public.

What is my most marked characteristic? I am told it is my ability to differentiate and see things from other people’s prospective. I have also received many comments about my smile. Apparently I have a warm and beautiful smile, which is nice to hear (although you wouldn’t tell from my photographs).

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? I am inspired by people, so anywhere that you can sit and watch the world go by.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? There are many beautiful places to eat and drink. Just on the edge of the city is a small Italian café/shop where you will find good wine, friendly staff and THE best lemon cheesecake.

What books influenced my life and how? Simone Forti’s Handbook in Motion has had an influence on my life and the way I think about myself as an artist. It is probably the style of writing which resonated with me. The insight into Simone’s experiences over the years reminds me that we are all on a journey, having lots of experiences which lead us in new directions. I don’t need to be at my final destination just yet, instead simply enjoy the ride.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? I would listed to Chet Faker, starting with his song Love & Feeling. His voice has such soul.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Can a choose Bridget Jones? How very lowbrow.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? I am very lucky to have grown up with a family of strong women. My Mum and her sisters are as fierce as they are loving. They demonstrate great compassion, dignity and strength. I have learnt a lot from these ladies.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? Closer by Patrick Marber.

What role does art play in my life and work? Well, art is my life and work. There isn’t really a line where one of those starts and the other stops. My practice is carried through my everyday life, not simply something that is switched on when I enter the studio or step onto the stage. Artforms outside of my own also act as a form of therapy I guess.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My partner in crime is Josh Slater, a dance and theatre practitioner based in Plymouth. We first began working together in 2015, and since he has become a dear friend and valued supporter. Josh is co-creator and fellow performer of current touring duet TRY|TRYING|TRIED.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018? I would like to work with more women from dance and other art fields.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2018? I would love to meet any people who are passionate about their work, driven and genuinely supportive of fellow artists inside and outside of their respective field.

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on? I am a mentor with Arts Emergency, a charity working with 16-19 year olds from diverse backgrounds who are most able to benefit from, but least able to access higher education in the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences. I am very excited to be working with my new mentee throughout 2018 and I look forward to supporting them achieve their goals.

Where can you see me or my work in 2018? The beginning of 2018 is mainly going to be spent in England. You can see my new performance installation in Manchester on 8 March, and two of my choreographies, SpeedDating and TRY|TRYING|TRIED at The Capstone Theatre in Liverpool on 9 March. After that I spend a few months in London preparing for a performance at The Place theatre at the end of May.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? My art is my passion and profession, my practice a way of life that I live and breathe every day. I am sure a day will come where my body no longer cooperates and my mind is not as sharp, but I don’t envisage there will ever be a day when my passion ceases.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Catharine Cary and Benedikte Esperi.

How can you contact me?

Twitter: @ShelleyOwen_

Visit my website: www.shelleyowendance.com

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