Qualities for Being (together): Things Dance Artists Know and the World Needs

‘A New Role for Dance’ was a project that I conceived during lockdown (2021) and involved a number of artists and invited guests. I was interested in exploring together what kinds of knowing emerges from training in dance and choreography. I was curious to be beyond ‘transferable skills’ in dance to understand and make visible the kinds of bodily and relational expertise of dance artists and what might emerge together in looking at the role of dance artists alongside those from fields beyond the discipline of dance.

The first part of the project, I invited five dance artists (Annie Hanauer, Vanessa Abreu, Akshay Sharma, Seke Chimutengwende, and Lauren Potter) to map out and explore the history of their dance and choreographic training wha knowledge they feel they gained.  5 words (courage, empathy, resiliency, play and care) emerged and were explored further as visuals by the photographer Christian Kipp.

The second part of the project consisted of 5 curated conversations between one dance artist and one expert from outside of the field of dance. Those industry experts were: Rennie Tang (architecture), Lauren Bedal (interaction designer), Miranda Laurence (dramaturgy), Guy Cools (academic) and Ellie Cosgrave (engineer). In hosting the conversations, I asked each pair to consider how one of the qualities of courage, empathy, resiliency, play and care play out in their practice.

It was a chance to hear dance artists articulating their knowledge alongside and amongst those from other industries – putting dance skills on the map and encouraging conversations that highlight knowledge as something embodied and felt.

What I loved about this project was the cross-disciplinary approach and knowledge sharing. I am looking to publish the texts and images from the project and welcome a chat with those interested in learning more about the project.



Photo by Christian Kipp as part of the ACE-funded project ‘A New Role for Dance’, led by Sara Wookey (2021)