22/04/22 - 29/05/22
UNEASE is a new film which brings together the practices of Liverpool-based creatives Aline Costa and Tommy Husband. Aline is a Swiss performer and movement artist with a background in contemporary dance and physical theatre. Tommy is a writer, director, filmmaker and musician with a recent focus on music videos, working with Stealing Sheep & Ex-Easter Island Head among many others.

Filmed and directed by Tommy Husband over two days in the Invisible Wind Factory, UNEASE documents a new dance work devised and performed by Aline Costa. It is accompanied by a musical score created in response by Tommy. The dance piece takes as a starting point the female body, and uses movement to explore the tensions between beauty, fragility, strength and grace.  

In addition to his music video work, Tommy Husband co-created, directed, shot and edited Stock Footage during the lockdowns of 2020/21. This Arts Council funded series of live music performances and interviews was broadcast from our closest neighbours, the Kazimier Stockroom, and features a range of local talent including recent OUTPUT exhibitor Podge. Originally from Cornwall, Tommy studied Film Production at the Arts Institute in Bournemouth before joining Warp films, working across multiple projects and roles. His work has screened in competition at the London Short Film Festival.

Aline Costa moved to Liverpool from Mexico in 2016, having studied Scenic Dance at the Institute of Fine Arts, Colima University in Mexico, where she was an active member of Univerdanza Dance Company. She has presented her work at LEAP Dance Festival, Threshold Festival and the Unity Theatre and was recently selected for the Associate Artist Scheme at Ludus Dance where she has developed a new solo piece entitled ‘A Woman’s Face’ which will be presented at the Lancashire Fringe Festival in Preston in May this year.

Aline explains; “When I started this project I found myself in the difficult situation of not knowing exactly the concept that I wanted to explore, nor the story I wanted to tell. As a first step, I took the body. I wanted to break its beauty, I wanted to make uneasy angles, to make it unnatural, almost painful... and from there a little story came up, back in time, back in some kind of surreal and mystical place. As a choreographer and as a dancer I really believe in the romantic idea that  dance is a universal language. I have always been amazed at how much is understood with only a movement or gesture, and how much can resonate with each individual in different ways. Dance speaks many languages, whatever you understand of this piece is what you need to hear in yourself, what moves you, in your own story and your own experience.

OUTPUT thanks Bluecoat for their support of this project.

UPDATE: The film which made up the second screen of UNEASE's dual-projection installation is now also online, and can be viewed below.

Film still showing Aline Costa dancing
Film still showing Aline Costa dancing

How long have you been a dancer, and what attracted you to the art form of dance?

I have been a dancer for about 14 years. I started to study dance when I was 19 years old, which it is pretty late for this artform.  The degree in dance at University was four years and this August will be my tenth anniversary as a solo dance artist. However, I remember enjoying dancing since I  was very very young. I used to spend hours listening music by myself and I recall being amazed by what I could hear: so much passion, so many textures (I loved and I still love music). My body couldn't resist, I had the need to replicate what was in the music, and how it made me feel, so dance was something that it always came out naturally for me. Later on, I learned how much I love the power of gestures and movement, and it is precisely that what attracted me, and still grabs me from this art: the body itself, it's movement, postures and shapes says so much, as if it has its own melody. You can express so much without any words, only with your presence in the space...I love dance for that!

What are the emotions and experiences which inspired this piece?

When I'm creating a new piece I always want to share somehow something of myself and this time was no exception. My work always reflects something of me, it is kind of a mirror. In this piece I took as a starting point the beauty of the female body, and I wanted to break it down a little bit, to explore a different structure of it, unfollow the natural lines of the body. And when I was doing that,  I started to feel uncomfortable, there was a bit of frustration, sadness but also some fragility. Then when I accepted these feelings and sensations there was a moment of empowerment, of expansion and satisfaction. This piece goes back to very old and maybe even imaginary and mystical memories. It is an "up and down" of emotions, bouncing from one side to another, but mainly it shows a woman as complete and as vulnerable as any other human being.

How did you find collaborating with Tommy?

Tommy is not only a great  artist but also an amazing person. He offers a dialogue and that for me is the most important things when you are collaborating with someone. With him it was easy to share ideas and there was no fear to be judged, he listened and suggested. He followed me through must of my creative process attending many of my rehearsals and made the whole process very smooth. I'm a person who gets very nervous in front of a camera, but I have to say that, as an extra quality, and probably a very good one for a filmmaker, Tommy makes the working environment very easy, very supportive, and in fact, I loved the filming days!

What are your ultimate goals or ambitions as a dancer?

This is a deep and difficult question, maybe a bit selfish in the answer... It is closely related of why we create "art"... I would like to have a voice as an artist, I would like that when people see my work, it will resonate with something inside them. I want to surprise and awake emotions in audiences. As a dancer and choreographer I would like to find my own language, my own style, to know it so well that it would be recognisable to everyone, but yet, I would like to still evolve, change, to never stop this process and to rediscover myself each time.  I hope to never get stuck! Of course I would love to be able to tour, nationally and  internationally, and I would like my practice to be sustainable, so I could dedicate 100% of my professional life to it.

How long have you been in Liverpool, and how has the city affected your creative practice?

I have been living in Liverpool  for 6 years. Before I moved here, I was in an "artistic crisis", I was ready to drop the towel (is never simple as a solo artist), but as soon as I arrived here I had a change of mind. Liverpool was a fresh new start. It is a city with lot of independent artists, fighting for their art and that was a huge motivation for me. As I said, it is never simple when you are a solo artist, but somehow now I know that Dance has to stay with me, even during "crisis periods" (specifically during them!). Liverpool gave me that, it was the city that offered me the time and space to reflect on it. I now know that I have to create dance, it is a way to find myself, it is the way to be myself.
Installation view of dual-projected dance film
Film still showing Aline Costa's extended hands

How would you describe your practice as a filmmaker / musician - what kind of work do you make?

It's pretty DIY: I write/direct/shoot/edit/sound mix/etc. I make music videos and short films at the moment. I do make music but i don't really think of myself as a musician, It's all just the same thing.

Much of your work is collaborative - how do you find the process of artistic collaboration?

I used to see collaboration as a necessary evil to be honest but I really love it now. I'm not sure what changed, maybe i got better at communicating ideas.

Have other art forms affected how you create work?

Hmmm, I don’t think so - only in as much as everything affects or inspires you somehow in a positive or negative way.

How was this collaboration in particular? How would you describe your role in the process?

It was great. I didn’t really do much for most of it. I met with Aline a few times at her studio and she would show me the piece as it evolved. I just sorta observed and thought about how best to shoot it. Then we had two days in the Invisible Wind Factory basement where we shot it, it was no frills.

How long have you been in Liverpool, and how has the city affected your creative practice?

I've been here for eight years? The first five were all on renovating a property in a similarly hands-on DIY way, so it was deffo frustrating to not really be able to work on anything else creative in that time.

The city is just people I guess, so all the cool people, bands and organisations I’ve worked with that have helped and supported me.
Installation view of dual-projected dance film
Film still showing Aline Costa dancing
Installation view of dual-projected dance film