Scarlett Turner is an artist who is very much having a moment. They are director of Fuelled Dance Theatre Company (who are about to head to Edinburgh), contemporary dance teacher, an Associate Artist with Attenborough Arts Centre and one of Curve’s Breakthrough Artists.
Their resume also illustrates a role as Associate Artist with Attenborough Arts Centre and is one of Curve’s Breakthrough Artists. Outside of Scarlett’s own projects, this year alone, they have performed with Yu Funa at Nottingham Contemporary, Priya Mistry, Beth Kettal, Dance4 at Destress Fest, as well as performing at the newly opened Haymarket Theatre.
Oh and they’ve got a new solo show, Come As You Are. Anything else? Probably.
Now I’ve caught my breath, it’s worth saying this hasn’t been without hard work. Having only graduated from their De Montfort University Dance BA in 2015, Scarlett’s packed a lot in. Whilst their contributions to the Leicester arts scene have provided on-going opportunities for other artists, Scarlett stresses that collaboration is one of the most important and enjoyable parts of their work.
“I have met many talented artists that have embraced and supported my work throughout the years, which is the best thing about being part of the arts scene in Leicester,” Scarlett explains.
Highlighting the ridiculousness of constructed ideas of normality, Scarlett’s work is notoriously funny, playful and personal – vital in that the themes of their work centre around identity. Fuelled’s most recent show This is Sense? investigates how we construct stories about ourselves to help us cope in difficult situations.
“I’m interested in exploring important issues around LGBTQ+ themes, particularly challenging audiences to start talking about non-binary gender and consider other realms of identity through physical theatre performance.”
This is practiced in both subject and process. In Fuelled, each dancer has a distinct personality and style, an important part of how their shows develop.
“I do prefer working collaboratively, as I find this more rewarding and see how my ideas can be developed or challenged in the eyes of others, which keeps me on my toes!”
This attitude is definitely working, as the company seem to have gone from strength to strength. This year Fuelled are heading to Edinburgh for the first time with This is Sense?
After a successful application to be supported by Innovations Dance Platform. The fringe is a milestone for any artist, so how is Scarlett feeling about it?
“Nervous! Excited! But I believe our work speaks for itself in its weirdly wonderful way.”
Outside of Fuelled, Scarlett is developing their first solo show, Come As You Are, set for a WIP showing at Curve’s Inside Out Festival this year.
“It’s very challenging, as I am used to working collaboratively in the studio. However, it does ‘force’ me to go with my gut feelings and find ways in which I can develop them.”
Straight after Inside Out, Scarlett dives right back into a research and development period with Fuelled at the end of the year with a new show “commenting on the nature and ideologies of ‘coming out’”.
No holidays then? Despite the impressiveness of Scarlett’s prolific creativity, I ask whether they ever get burnt out.
“I do have very long days; I do struggle with trying to balance it all,” Scarlett says. “But being able to keep creating, collaborating and performing after graduating is something I really value.
“It’s a privilege having the chance to run my own dance company, work with many talented dance artists and share my wacky ideas of dance theatre.”
Photography by Matthew Cawrey