Contemporary dance performers venture into the unknown with improvised act

Student news

Monday 12 May 2014

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Students from Coventry University’s School of Art and Design are putting on a dance performance with a difference this week.

Patricia Martin and Oana Rotariu, both in their final year studying dance, will be performing a completely improvised piece at the Ellen Terry Building on the University’s city centre campus on Wednesday 14 May.

The performance forms part of the University’s Degree Show 2014. The annual celebration of emerging creative talent is now up and running, allowing students the opportunity to show off their work to friends, families and public audiences at venues across the city and beyond. 

Entitled Assenza – the Italian word for absence – the piece is concerned with the concept of vulnerability in relation to the performing arts and the belief that uncertainty can act as a catalyst for creativity.

This idea is something that Patricia and Oana are hoping to demonstrate with their production and while they have been working hard on perfecting their individual movements and techniques for the show they will not be performing a choreographed set routine as such. Instead they will be relying on their creative instincts and training to produce what they hope will be a spontaneous and free flowing piece.

Lead performer Patricia accepts that this is a potentially risky tactic but it is one that both she and her creative collaborator Oana believe will pay off in terms of entertainment, excitement and audience engagement.

The 22 year old who is originally from the United States but now based In Birmingham said:

As performers we expose our work to the outside world which means opening ourselves up to scrutiny, analysis and sometimes criticism. So in that sense we’re quite vulnerable and Oana and I thought that this was a really interesting aspect of performance that was worth exploring in more detail.

We’ll be doing so in quite an explicit way by improvising on the night. There is an uncertainty that comes along with that which is quite scary but it’s also exciting for us as performers and we hope it will be thrilling for our audience as well.

While we’re exploring philosophical concepts about creativity and performance our piece is intended to be playful and accessible. We’re bringing a mixture of styles into it as well. Oana has many years of Latin and ballroom training whereas I have practised ballet and contemporary dance. And given our different cultural backgrounds - Oana is originally from Romania - our piece will also have something of an international flavour.

The performance of Assenza takes place at 6pm on Wednesday 14 May at the Ellen Terry Building, Jordan Well, Coventry CV1 5RW. Tickets cost £3/£2 concession and can be booked through the Degree Show website

For further press information, please contact Mark Farnan, communications assistant, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 8245 or email

Coventry School of Art and Design: Degree Show 2014

Coventry School of Art and Design’s Degree Show 2014 exhibits the original work of the UK’s next generation of creative talent.

Final year undergraduates in visual arts, design, music, fashion, dance, drama, media production and photography will be showcasing their work to the public at different locations across the city centre campus and at selected venues in London. Further information on Coventry School of Art and Design’s Degree Show 2014, including dates and venues of exhibitions, can be found at the dedicated website