To celebrate International Day of Dance, we're focusing on dance at Bluecoat over the years through a selection of archival material, interviews and features on dance artists we work with today.
Liverpool dance artists featured include Bisakha Sarker, who has a long relationship with the arts centre, and three who have been resident at Bluecoat for the last decade, Paula Hampson, Andrea Buckley and Mary Prestidge.
The last of these collaborated with Blue Room artists Tony Carroll and Diana Disley, who are also featured. We look back on a recent success when visual artist Frances Disley devised a work for three dance artists.
There is a rich selection of dance images from our archive, and an opportunity to learn how to "Help Yourself To Dance", in our movement activity for all ages.
Bisakha Sarker MBE, who is Artistic Director of Chaturangan Indian dance company, is interviewed here talking about her long relationship with Bluecoat where she has performed many times and run workshops for people living with dementia.
Her most recent commission was an immersive dance installation, Do not yet fold your wings, made in collaboration with visual artist Ansuman Biswas and composer Chris Davies.
We're delighted to share Expanding the Picture, an exciting, interdisciplinary research and performance project from 2018/19. The project was designed to support and showcase the development of Tony Carroll and Diana Disley's emerging dance practice.
Co-created by Mary Prestidge as part of Bluecoat's three-year programme of New Dance, INHABIT, the essence of this collaboration, and the journey and magic of the performance itself, is captured in a short film created by Soup Collective.
Last year, Frances Disley presented Tripleflex, an installation and performance that combined visual art and dance, which she choreographed. It was performed by Bettina Carpi, Rosalind Holgate Smith and Maria Malone, accompanied by a newly commissioned soundtrack from DJ and sound artist MT Hall.
Tripleflex featured a giant colourful floor painting created by Disley which acted as a guide for the performers. Her painting also featured across garments and sculptures in the installation.
The work was part of Disley's wider enquiry into the conventions of art spaces, and her desire to make those spaces more accessible for adults and children alike.
In two short films, dancers and choreographers Andrea Buckley and Paula Hampson reflect on their work and the ways in which Bluecoat has shaped their work over 30 years.
Andrea Buckley’s work draws on contact improvisation - relating to other dancers and collaborators through touch. Filmed during our 2017 exhibition material / arranged / to / be, she speaks about the impact of working in Liverpool over 30 years and the importance of bringing her work with Siobhan Davies Dance home to Bluecoat. Click here to watch her interview.
Paula Hampson has been working in dance, choreography and education at Bluecoat for 30 years. She recently collaborated with composer Chris Mellor and a group of women and children from Kinship Carers Liverpool. This film combines archive footage of early performances with Hampson’s reflections on working with people and shaping ideas through collaboration. Click here to watch the film.
Dance at Bluecoat
This slideshow of images is taken from our archive website My Bluecoat, and offers a snapshot of dance activity – performances, commissions, workshops, parties – since the early 1980s – at the arts centre.
This was when contemporary dance started to become a mainstay of the programme, with visits by leading UK dance artists and the nurturing of Merseyside’s dance scene.
While we have a comprehensive collection of brochures, posters and other print featuring dance, its documentation is patchy, so if you have any photos, or even film material, we would love to hear from you.
Activity: Help Yourself to Dance
This week's activity is for people of all ages. Stimulate your senses and your imagination with some simple movement ideas from dance artist Mary Prestidge. They can be done sitting or standing, alone or with family members, even over a video call!
As a charity, we rely on the income generated by our cafe, bistro and events programme. While our building remains closed in line with guidance from Public Health England, we're losing a huge portion of our income.
Do you regularly visit Bluecoat for a coffee or lunch? We would be so grateful if you could consider donating what you might have spent. Your support will help us to reopen as soon as possible after the restrictions are lifted.
Image credits: Do not yet fold your wings, photo by Simon Richardson;Expanding the Picture II, photo by Brian Roberts; Frances Disley, Enhance, 2018; "Tripleflex am”, single channel video 2019. (Performed Oct 10 2019) Performers Bettina Carpi, Rosalind Holgate Smith and Maria Malone. Musical score M T Hall. Performed at Bluecoat. Camera George Ellis. Performed at Bluecoat in partnership with Bluecoat and MDI 2019 LEAP Festival. Supported by Arts Council England, Bluecoat and MDI LEAP festival. With thanks to Cheshire Dance for advice at research and development stage; In Tension by Andrea Buckley, photo by Pari Nadei; In the Palm of My Hand; Bluecoat Winter events programme cover; Expanding the Picture II, photo by Brian Roberts.