Lithuanian choreographer Ieva Kuniskis tells the Adver about the dance drama They Lived Next Door, an intricate two-hander danced by Nicholas Minns and Mark Boldin at Swindon Dance on March 22. 

What inspired you to make They Live Next Door?
Ieva: I love observing how people interact and I love finding beauty in everyday stories.  In this particular show, through a story of these two men, I set out to explore how stereotypes and social labelling affects our identity and relationships, and at our preconceptions around maleness and masculinity.
How did you cast it?
Ieva: I am interested in seeing more diversity on stage. In choosing to work with mature performers for this show, both men, was part of my questioning of labels and stereotypes – what do we expect to see on stage…usually young dancers,What stories can we tell with two men? Falling outside of expectation they already bring stories on to the stage.
A few years ago I saw Nicholas Minns’ work onstage and thought he was one of the most charismatic performers I’d ever seen!  So when I came to casting They Live Next Door, he was at the top of my wish list. In the audition I paired him with Mark and their chemistry was amazing – it would be a completely different show without these two.

Tell us about the music
Ieva: Composer Dougie Evans is a longstanding collaborator. We wanted music to add to the narrative to create a sense of longing. I wanted it to have a mix of old Russian classical piano waltzes and nostalgic guitar melodies to create a backdrop to the life of these two men, as a counterpoint to the intensity of their relationship. I also wanted to keep the music down so it didn’t change with the drama – you feel like your world is falling apart but around you life still goes on so the melody keeps going too.

What do you think audiences will take away after seeing They Live Next Door?
Ieva: I hope they will find empathy for these two people and recognise something of themselves and the people around them. I hope that each audience member will see a unique story that is recognisable to them. I create emotive landscape with very specific characters and clear emotional context but I don’t tell a linear narrative. Instead I hope that each audience member will be able to discover their own story by filling in the gaps, so that if you asked them, each one would see something different. 

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