The Scotsman Sessions #74: Mele Broomes

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With the performing arts world shutting down for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Glasgow-based dancer and choreographer Mele Broomes performs a new work called Mobile Thoughts

Mele Broomes (pronounced Me-li) is a dance director, award-winning performer and choreographer based in Glasgow. For her Scotsman Session she has chosen to perform a piece titled Mobile Thoughts, so-called not just because it was filmed on a mobile phone but because, as Mele puts it, “We, as humans, are mobile. Our thoughts are mobile. That is the beauty of human movement.”

Shot indoors and outdoors, Mobile Thoughts is evocative of both freedom and confinement, and Broomes points out the irony of only coming to properly appreciate the outdoors during lockdown: "Before lockdown, the outdoors was just a way for me to zip from place to place - now I’m actually taking it in.”

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On a deeper level, the film is also about the freedom to be herself. It’s important to contextualise the work of any Black womxn through the lens of their own experiences – especially of racism and misogynoir. A Black womxn in predominantly White spaces, particularly in contemporary dance, has to first carve out a space for herself, before even being able to work towards achieving her goals.

Mele Broomes

These systemic barriers have resulted in Broomes's role now being more of a leader and activist than a dancer. Project X, of which she is director, is a multi-disciplinary, collectively run organisation designed to nurture Black/POC artists of African/Caribbean heritages and address the barriers that are put in the way of such creatives. For people with these heritages, music and dance are a normal part of life, and these barriers take an incredible toll. "We all just want the freedom to live," says Broomes, "like anyone else."

For more information on Body Remedy, Broomes's programme of health and well-being movement classes for womxn of colour and non-binary people of colour, using exercise as a form of self-care and a way of furthering one’s connection to and understanding of the body, visit www.melebroomes.com

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