It is a rather unusual Monday morning, as I set out to Barton upon Humber with my hiking boots, a backpack and a mind full of ideas on the current political happenings. I am fairly recent resident of Hull, an EU Citizen, and today a collaborator in Rita Marcalo’s ‘One Last Dance – An Chéad Damhsa’.

Dance artist Rita Marcalo accompanied by film-maker Juliet Davis are walking to leave the UK. A slow farewell that is taking them through England towards Rita Marcalo’s new home in the Republic of Ireland. Motivated and guided by the Brexit referendum results and ongoing negotiations, their journey is joined by different collaborators along the way, who share, engage and perform their personal account of this politically loaded situation.

Brexit is a buzzword accompanying me since the moment I moved to the UK for work in 2016. The word is layered with frustration, confusion and desperation. While I am privileged to hold an EU passport, the current negotiations teach me how personal politics are. This linkage between the personal and the political shapes the collaborative experience of One Last Dance.

On this Monday morning, Rita and Juliet’s journey takes them from Barton upon Humber into Hull accompanied by three collaborators and current residents of the city. Step after step, personal stories are shared, landscapes regarded and the effects of the political circumstances discussed. Our conversations are continuously shaped by the surroundings encountered on our walk. The Bridge connecting two shores, dead wood washed up by the Humber or the ruins of former fishing docks allow metaphorical illustrations of our thoughts, opinions and experiences. I gather inspiration, insights and ideas along the way. Steps and words mingle in ways that allow strangers to become companions within just a few kilometres of their journey.

After several hours along the path, landmarks of the city come into sight and guarantee us a point of arrival. While the boots are taken off with joy, the final hours of participation require my creative n. In an act of translation, conversations and experiences are recaptured as artistic expressions. With a collective brainstorming and highly experienced direction of Rita, all three collaborators join the evening performance of ‘One last Dance’ organized by Hull Dance as part of Humber Mouth Literature Festival at the City’s Central Library.

My body engages with the sequences rehearsed. However, my mind needs more time to process the shared stories, emotions and trajectories that accompanied every step along the way.

Barbara Grabher