Dancing Bodies in Coventry - Part 2

Dancing Bodies in Coventry - Part 2

Funder

Coventry University

Value

£7,000

Project team

Duration of project

January - July 2020


Project overview

The Dancing Bodies in Coventry project has secured funding from Coventry University City of Culture Grants 2019-2020 scheme and the University Partnership Coventry Creates Funding Call to embark on a second iteration of the project. 

Dancing Bodies in Coventry is a multimedia project that will continue to document the legacy of dance in the city of Coventry. The very successful first iteration made 16 films, a pilot podcast episode, and several visual banners/posters, and went out into the city to creatively share those materials with a variety of communities using projecting techniques. 

This second iteration, DBiC-II, encompasses the making of one further dance film (with Coventry-based vertical dance artist, Luka Owen), the recording of a ten-episode podcast series and three artistic residences with dance artists Kate Lawrence, Anton Mirto and Marius Mates.

The podcast series focuses on dance and performance practices in the city, site dance more widely and thinking about how we document and archive dance. The podcast has already invited over a dozen performers, makers, dancers, researchers and other independent artists to join hosts artist-researchers Marie-Louise Crawley and Rosa Cisneros (C-DaRE, Coventry University) in conversation. Each 30-40 minute episode features two guests in conversation with one of the hosts talking about their personal and artistic connections to the city and discussions of how the city has shaped their artistic practice. Previous guests have included maker and director Carolyn Deby, independent dance artist Katye Coe, artist Anton Mirto, academic and architect Sebastian Hicks, performers Claire Lambert and Luke Sheppard, postgraduate doctoral researchers and artists Erica Charalambous and Charlie Ingram, Brazil-based artist-researchers with connections to the city, Monica Dantas and Andrea Soares, choreographer-directors Ashley Jordan and Ben Morley, dance artists Luka Owen and Courtney Reading, and Francis Ranford, Cultural and Creative Director of the Herbert Art Gallery. Topics of conversation have so far ranged from personal histories and what it is to rediscover the city through performance, the body in public space, urban intimacy, flow and drift, re-wilding the city and what the future of dance and performance in the city might look like. An overarching theme of the series is the surfacing of the different hidden spaces, bodies and voices of Coventry, as well as looking in different ways at the city’s emotional, physical and architectural body.

DBiC-II has also commissioned two artists – vertical dance artist Kate Lawrence (Vertical Dance Kate Lawrence) and artist Anton Mirto (A2 Dance Company) - to carry out artistic residencies to engage communities in thinking about dance in the city. This R and D phase has comprised meetings, workshops and interviews with local citizens from Roma and other migrant communities as a means of thinking about city and community. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these residencies have been carried out in a series on online workshops – Anton Mirto with the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre (CMRC) and Kate Lawrence with the Coventry Roma Project. Results from these residencies will be shared through online Scrapbooks.

There were three dance films that were created in a collaboration with Reel Master Productions.  The first was a Podcast Showreel. The second was a film on the residencies.  And the third is a danceshort that was co-created with Luka Owen from Rebel Manifesto Aerial company. The dance short titled, INTERVAL is a film that is playing with themes of lunacy, psychological duality, and impulses of instability. The dancer, Luka Owen choreographed a dance score that oscillates between tension, paranoia and boredom. The film meets a dancer that is carrying out everyday activities, like waking up, making tea and getting ready, but with a slight hint of anxiety. The dance sequences and editing agitates and the movement phrases draw on Owen’s aerial and contemporary dance background. Rosa Cisneros was the director and Reel Master Productions edited the film.

The final strand of the project is a new residency with breakdance artist Marius Mates / Break Dots Dance Company. Marius is currently working on creating new site-based choreography across a series of locations in the city to be put together in a series of online vlogs, short films and a digital scrapbook.

The project is a first step towards building an archive for the rich history and ecology of dance in Coventry. The city has a deep history of dance that is understudied and this project aims to bring that history to light. In addition, the project is working with a range of key stakeholders from across the city to demonstrate the wide variety and diversity of dance that is taking place across the city in the here and now. The project brings forward underrepresented voices and communities to build a case for the potential future(s) of dance in the city, building to City of Culture 2021 and beyond. There is thus a clear projected impact for the city’s and wider region’s arts and cultural heritage sectors.

In its focus on dance and the city, the project also makes a contribution to growing scholarship in the Dance and Performance Studies field on site dance practices and the various interconnections between dance, site, architecture, tourism, history and cultural heritage.

  • Dance films and vlogs
  • Podcast series
  • Project website hosting the films, images, podcasts, vlogs, curated digital scrapbooks
Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021