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This explosive performance of mesmerising solos explores the joys, the sorrows, the idiocies, the brilliance of anything human.

From cutting-edge contemporary movement and pumping folklore to exhilarating commercial dancing, this up close and personal solo of brilliant dance will set your heart racing.



Choreographer Eliot Smith

Dancer Yamit Salazar

Composer and Pianist Adam Johnson

Horn David Tollington

Vocalist Rayan Ali

Voiceover Children from St Mark's RC Primary School, Newcastle upon Tyne

Mastering John Martindale

Property Designer and Costume Eliot Smith

Duration 40 minutes

Premiere Newbiggin Maritime Centre, 26 May 2023

Promo Images 

Official promo trailer 

Reflections on HUMAN 


The Choreographer, Eliot Smith 


What does it mean to be human? It’s a simple question, just a few short words, but it unwraps the bundle of complexity, contradictions, and mystery that is a human life. 


Why do we behave the way we do? How do we live better? How did we get to now? What is now? What is our future? What is our purpose? What is our story? 


Ultimately, this work presents various human emotions and the 'discrete emotion theory' has been central to this exploration of anything human.

The Dancer, Yamit Salazar 


When hearing the word “human”, and what it meant to me, it was quite challenging to find a straight answer, as it is a word that can be seen as limitless and personal to us all. I wanted to find common ground where I could resonate with the audience and to show them in some ways that we are equal. 


We breathe, we eat, we feel, we have a heart, and one of the natural instincts of humankind is trying to survive in this fast moving world that we live in. As a dancer I see this work “Human’” as chapters of life. 


An exploration, a journey that makes us feel alive, revealing our authenticity, the emotion and the obstacles that we face in life. The hurt, pain, rejection, happiness, love, loss, and sadness. The repetitiveness of everyday living that we set ourselves to be able to survive and the rise and fall of our paths.


Experiences that can teach us who we are as people and who we want to be, that allow us to learn from our mistakes and become more knowledgeable about cultures and identities.


The music composed by Adam Johnson has sounds that have a sense of evolution from wildlife, out of space and AI, which compliments and rounds up my own interpretation of what “Human” is, allowing me to have a deeper connection and bringing a different dimension to the work.

The Composer, Adam Johnson 


Before I wrote anything of the score for “Human”, I had to consider the universal elements which describe the word “Human” and its link to artforms. These included subjects like cell-development, rhythm-looping, phenomenology, and the bigger questions of “where have we come from?” and “where are we going?”. 


Delving deeper into more unusual depictions of “Human” took me to the American artist Bruce Nauman. His works Clown Torture (1987) and Good Boy, Bad Boy (1985) were hugely inspiring to me. They included the looping of material and the shift from what is expected to the turn of the “question” itself. 


Looping in classical music is not uncommon. The French composer Olivier Messiaen was a master of this. He drew upon birdsong and his own synaesthesia which he wove into his compositions. Messiaen was also inspired by the stars and our reaction to them. His piece “Appel Interstellaire” is an extraordinary work for solo horn and requires great technical command for the extreme musical language and the effects he creates. This piece was so integral to my studies for “Human” we have included it within the score, and it begins Act 2. 


The sense of stars, space and science was so important to include in the score that I have added certain effects at the beginning, middle and end of the piece. Other effects you will hear are birdsong, animal noises, heartbeats, and voices. As a whole, the score moves from basic “man-made” sounds (including a conch-call), through romantic music, and then finally electronic dance music. 


With the ever-growing presence of AI in our world, I have placed AI voices at the very end of “Human” which, despite their apparent terms of existence, questions their place against us.

ESD acknowledge the generous support for Human from:

Anthony Loughlin

June Atkinson

Joan Conn, Danielle Cutler, Phil Derry, Sarah Dobinson, Joel Fleming, Julian Filochowski, Gabriel of Gosforth, John Horsfield, Sue Jenkins, Karen Mathieson, Janet Mawson, Sharon Orta, Rowan Parker, Sandra Peacock, Renzo Pini, Eileen Raby, Ian Raby, Eve Reverchon, Allan Riach, Rosalba Salazar, Frances Thorp, G & B Smith, June Svenson, Carole Wears, Reka Whitehead, Carol Wilson, Helen Winship, Jasmine Woolley, Desmond Wong and those who wish to remain anonymous.

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