On June 19th, The Imagination Museum – a network supporting and showcasing dance and heritage collaboration - will be sharing videos and links to heritage-inspired projects across our social media throughout the day, linking to at least 2 projects every hour for 12 hours (from 10am - 10pm).
This links with Museum Week – an annual international campaign promoting and celebrating the brilliant work of museums, galleries, archives, libraries and other cultural organisations – and this year, the theme for the 19th June is dance – too good an opportunity for us to miss!
Our aim for our Dance Museums Marathon is to draw attention to the great range of work already happening with movement in museums and heritage sites across the UK:
- from a Curious Tea Party at the Horniman Museum, to a dance under the hull of the Cutty Sark
- from a promenade for a china clay works in Cornwall (Wheal Martyn) to an immersive performance for the coastline of Morecambe Bay at sunset
- from a dance in a cave in Torquay to a silent disco bring the rebellion of Owain Glyndwr, the legendary rebel Prince of Wales, to castles, fields and the steps of urban buildings to name a few.
This is work that can engage everyone, bringing history to life in new ways, introducing new perspectives and revealing hidden stories.
To join in…
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throughout the day on the 19th June to find out more about the huge range of dance/movement already happening in museums and heritage sites across the UK.
Use the hashtags #DanceMuseumsMarathon #MuseumWeek #DanceMW #ImaginationMuseum to share posts and show your support.
Schedule for the day
This schedule for the 19th June is subject to change.
Cotton by About Time Dance Company was the first case study we shared on the Imagination Museum site. Intertwined with traditional Lancashire clog dancing, mesmerising sound and intricate choreography, Cotton explores the life of a Lancashire Mill.
Leytonstone TrailblazARs was created by students from Connaught School For Girls in collaboration with digital dance company Pell Ensemble and computing educator U Can Too Tech. Students co-created the performance, stories and music, and developed the app using Augmented Reality programme blippar.
In July 2018 Casson & Friends were resident for 2 weeks at Kettle's Yard in Cambridge during the Antony Gormley SUBJECT Exhibition. During the residency, the company created several pieces of work including community performances, dance films, and an immersive performance in the gallery spaces. This residency was the first outing of Untitled (The Gallery Project) where Casson & Friends create new work in gallery spaces, inspired by visitor responses to the exhibitions.
Black Victorians is a dance performance by Jeanefer Jean-Charles inspired by the discovery of hundreds of portraits of black people in England in the Victorian era. By bringing voice and body to the characters in the portraits, the performers used a range of styles including African and Jazz to tell the reimagined stories of Black Victorians. You can see a clip from the company’s performance at GDIF and read the case study here.
High Tide | Low Tide by Bethan Peters and Stacie Lee Bennett-Worth is a film installation – part home movie, part cine-choreography, which traces tender moments of fun, laughter and love as families play, dance and embrace on Margate’s beach. Projected onto the floor of Turner Contemporary like 3 irregularly scattered postcards, the film was displayed with the gallery’s young visitors in mind.
Museums in Motion Luton (2021) was created by BEEE Creative and is a heritage, dance, film and music project that asks – What’s inside your mobile phone? Young people from The Chalk Hills Academy worked with professional artists from MakeAmplify to create work for Wardown House Museum and Gallery.
Exhibit 2020 is a large scale project that BEEE Creative have been running in five Hertfordshire museums since 2019. Exploring the theme ‘growing up between the years 2000 – 2020’, it has included school and community workshops, online arts sessions, residencies and installations within the museums.
In Autumn 2016, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance created études, an eight-minute contemporary dance piece responding to The Courtauld Gallery’s exhibition Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement. The exhibition explored Rodin’s fascination with dance and bodies through experimental sculptures the artist made towards the end of his life. Performed in silence, and in the exhibition space, études translated Rodin’s sculptural poses into graceful contemporary dance. The work explored the boundaries of balance, extreme poses and curve within movement.
In a collaborative project between National Gallery and Avant Garde Dance, choreographer Tony Adigun created VR180 dance films as part of YouTube’s Creator Lab Programme.
ILA Project by DancingStrong Movement Lab connected three primary schools to their local museums in Bristol (UK), London (UK), and Flint (USA). Students, classrooms and communities in these areas explored artworks, and artefacts with each other through exploration of their local museums. The project involved all participants in the creative process of making dance - performance, linking to the curriculum, and exploration of different collections in the museums. The ILA project resulted in the creation of DancingStrong Movement Lab’s interactive - performance work ‘Found’.
SALT by Martin Hylton was commissioned by Arts&Heritage’s Meeting Point programme in 2017. Visitors to the exhibition were provided with a virtual reality headset to view the dance piece, which was set inside a salt pan. Dancing in water, representing the brine used in the salt making process, dancers captured the physicality of the manufacturing process whilst bringing Lion Salt Works’ (Lion Salt Works) unique heritage to life.
Clay Walks, directed and produced by Suzie West from SpinDrift Dance Company was an epic and beautiful showcase of Clay Country’s past, present and future created with Wheal Martyn . With a cross generation cast of performers from 10 to 72, the story tellers, choirs, professional and undergraduate dancers, youth groups, primaries and college students, created, conversed and performed together at the outdoor museum. Interweaving the poetry of Jack Clemo, folk stories, live Cornish folk music and archived anecdotes with dance theatre and thronging percussive music the show took the audience on a promenade journey that built chapter upon chapter, into a huge all cast performance.
The Great Thames Disaster by Daisy Farris Dance Collective toured in 2018, 140 years after the Princess Alice paddle steamer collided with a large cargo ship, causing her to sink to the bottom of the Thames. The show used contemporary dance and physical theatre to reimagine this lost piece of history.
Glitch/Giselle by Glitch Projects uses museum objects, historic film and sound recordings as a way of creatively shining a light on the future by digging into the past.
Lowestoft Dance Map was part of Making Waves Together, an ambitious programme in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft to raise the profile for culture as a driver for economic growth and community pride. It was a two year project in partnership with the Association For Suffolk Museums to unearth stories from Lowestoft’s heritage and share them through dance. Dance East and Glass House Dance worked Lowestoft Maritime Museum, Lowestoft Museum and a wide range of schools and community groups to create outdoor, public performances.
Created and filmed in 2018, (Re)Make is a dance film by Sara Wookey in collaboration with Camilla Robinson. It features four female dance artists exploring ideas of remaking in choreography through movement and dance. Presented by Lakeland Arts to celebrate the opening of Windemere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories.
Longways & Crosswise was an immersive, site specific dance performance by About Time Dance Company. Taking place on the coastline of Morecambe Bay, the performance was inspired by David Cox’s provocative paintings of the crossing, and performed by a cast of professional dancers and local participants. Commencing an hour before sunset, the audience and performers witnessed the phenomenal transformation of the bay at day’s end.
Devised in collaboration with a steering group of archaeologists, geologists, historians, cavers and former miners, Made by Katie Green’s Beneath Our Feet was a promenade performance that used dance and live music to tell the story of the underground. Premiered at Kents Cavern in Torquay in September and October 2017, it then toured to 5 further caves and underground sites across the UK - Gough's Cave Stump Cross Caverns (Yorkshire Dales), Redcliffe Caves (Bristol), Fort Amherst (Chatham) and Carnglaze Caverns (Cornwall), where the first phase of touring completed in October 2018.
Shifting Beneath is a tempestuous music and dance voyage into the unknown presented by Royal Museums Greenwich and Choreographer in Residence Bethan Peters in collaboration with students from Trinity Laban. Created specifically for the awe-inspiring dry berth of the Cutty Sark, Shifting Beneath considers the physical effects of the body at sea, exploring disorientation, inertia and endurance, whilst also taking inspiration from the history, design and harmonious beauty of the famous tea clipper itself.
Who is the Land by Bethan Peters and Stacie Lee Bennett Worth investigates the ever-changing landscapes and coastlines that exist where the land meets the sea. The film explores hidden gems from around the UK and examines the cultivation of choreography in these unique places.- What do we take from the land and what do we leave behind?
Cinderella: A Museum Adventure was an exciting collaboration with the Imperial War Museums to coincide with the tour of Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella which was set during the blitz. New Adventures created three bespoke dance works that were performed at the Imperial War Museum’s sites in London, Manchester and Duxford. The museums came to life with stories inspired by local heritage, stories and artefacts, all told in the New Adventures unique narrative style, with a total of 2,298 people attending the three events.
Dancestry was a collaboration between Born and Bred Dance Theatre and Saddleworth Museum and Art Gallery that used dance to learn about and explore the local history of Saddleworth. Working with five schools over three months, they created dance works with a heritage focus that were then performed at Uppermill Civic Hall.
In Dancing to Art, four Corali Dance performers chose artworks from the galleries at Tate Britain and developed individual dance responses to them.
In 2014 the Horniman Museum and Gardens and Trinity Laban held a Curious Tea Party as part of Big Dance 2014. The event was an eccentric weekend of Edwardian inspired music, art and performance which brought dance into the museum like never before. A large-scale event over 2 days with 10,000 attending over the weekend.
Dance artists Leah Marojević and Theo Clinkard created a dance installation conceived to be stumbled upon by audiences in unconventional spaces. In The Elsewhen Series, strikingly designed duets bring the spontaneous wanderings and powerful yearnings of the heart and mind into the visible realm through duration, repetition and the naive belief that the body doesn’t have to be here, it can be elsewhen.
Taking inspiration from the views of Berry Head in Brixham and the Singaporean dancers who perform the work, Richard Chappell Dance’s Silence Between Waves frames a conversation through movement and sound, connecting two places across the sea by reflecting on home and far away. The work is fuelled by local stories of people in Brixham through a soundscape that features local people describing their relationship with the sea and communication over long distances.
Trying It On: A performed exhibition from Lea Anderson that delves deep into the Cholmondeleys' costume archives (designers Sandy Powell, Simon Vincenzi & Emma Fryer) to dust off some treasures and re-present with a new twist.
Commissioned by Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, who wanted a performance to complement Grayson Perry's exhibition 'The Vanity of Small Differences', 'Trying It On' takes a wayward, witty look at identity, through the eyes of one of the UK's most iconoclastic choreographers.
And In The Soil, There Be Mirrors is a site-responsive dance film set across a selection of historical locations in the English landscape by Hollie Miller and Sam Williams. The work responds not only to the architecture and former life of these sites but also counteracts a heritage version of the landscape with a Gothic and mythological vision. A series of figures whose traits are drawn from nature and English folklore inhabit the site, possessing a sense of the uncanny and discarding the pastoral, nostalgic images of the countryside that people hold on to.
Disgo Distaw Owain Glyndwr Silent Disco - In this hour-long interactive show by Light Ladd and Emberton, audiences discover the destiny of the legendary rebel Prince of Wales Owain Glyndŵr on the dancefloors of castles, fields and the steps of urban buildings. Led by a cast of six performers they dance the rebellion to a mix of club-classics, Welsh electro and prog rock.
Be part of The Imagination Museum
To keep up to date with everything happening with The Imagination Museum, and our plan to continue growing as a network, resource hub and co-commissioning partner for more dance work in museums and heritage sites, sign up to our consortium mailing list here: https://imaginationmuseum.co.uk/consortium .
The network won’t work without you!
More about The Imagination Museum
The Imagination Museum is a professional network that:
- Advocates for the benefits of working with dance and movement in museums and heritage sites
- Develops best practice through provision of resources, training, networking/workshop opportunities and a chance to talk through ideas
- Supports collaboration, including through a supported co-commissioning process in the future
For more information contact email@example.com