We would love to hear your suggestions for future Dancing Bodies in Coventry podcast episodes, whether it’s about dance and performance practices in the city, site dance more widely or thoughts about how we document and archive dance. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Episode 1– Natalie Garrett Brown and Emma Meehan in conversation with Marie-Louise Crawley
This episode invites artist-researchers Dr. Natalie Garrett Brown, who at the time of recording was Head of School of Media and Performing Arts at Coventry University, UK and who is now Head of Music, Writing and Performance at the University of East London; and Dr. Emma Meehan, who is a Research Fellow at C-DaRE, Coventry University. Both Natalie and Emma have been working with the University of Warwick on the AHRC-funded project ‘Sensing the City: An Embodied Documentation and Mapping of the Changing Uses and Tempers of Urban Place, a practice-based case study of Coventry.’ We spoke about what Coventry means to them as dancers and makers, how the city has shaped their dance and movement practice and, in turn, how their own relationship to the city has been shaped by their practice.
Episode 2 Carolyn Deby and Katye Coe in conversation with Marie-Louise Crawley
This episode’s guests are Carolyn Deby, Director of sirenscrossing, and one of Carolyn’s collaborators, independent dance artist, Katye Coe. Under the auspices of sirenscrossing, Carolyn and Katye have been working with the University of Warwick on the AHRC-funded project ‘Sensing the City: An Embodied Documentation and Mapping of the Changing Uses and Tempers of Urban Place, a practice-based case-study of Coventry’. For this project, Carolyn was commissioned to make urbanflows: entangled in the grain of worlds, becoming, an audience experience that journeys through the city of Coventry, with elements of performance, installation, sound, video, and words scattered throughout the everyday spaces passed through. Our podcast conversation explores flow and drift through Coventry, returning to sites through the lens of the lived history of the body, and rewilding the city, adaptation and surviving, especially in terms of the climate emergency.
Episode 3 features two special guests, artist Anton Mirto (A2 Dance company), and architect and academic Sebastian Hicks (Coventry University), to talk movement, choreography and architecture in Coventry.
At once playful and rigorous, Mirto’s work is interested in the possibility of social change – and in thinking about the small actions that might build up to bring it about. Mirto has presented works at: Whitechapel Gallery, Royal Opera House, ICA, LIFT, The Place, and Tate Modern as well as internationally from Paris to Cape Town. She has also been visiting lecturer at University of the Arts (MA Costume) Royal Central School of Speech & Drama (MA Performance) and Kingston University (Architecture & Landscape).
Sebastian Hicks studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, and is a Practising Architect, as well as Course Director for the Masters of Architecture at Coventry University. Hicks is a researcher at Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations. As part of his research, he developed the project, The Chapel of Many, as a tool for the appropriation of public space, where act takes precedence over form. In summer 2019, Mirto worked on Scaffolding, a workshop-performance event for seven dancers sited within Hicks’ The Chapel of Many and set inside the ruins of Coventry Cathedral as part of the Coventry Welcomes Festival Refugee Week.
We spoke about Lady Godiva, the body in public space, and urban intimacy, with a special focus on Hicks’ The Chapel of Many and Mirto’s Scaffolding (Coventry, 2019). Given the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown in the UK, we also discussed how Scaffolding’s themes of restriction, attachment and intimacy in public spaces might speak to us today.
Episode 4 features performers Claire Lambert and Luke Sheppard. We speak about personal histories in rediscovering Coventry through performing, remembering the city’s outdoor spaces differently through the body during this time of lockdown and restriction where we remain indoors, and what the future of dance and performance in the city might look like.
Supported by Birmingham’s strong network of youth dance training, Claire Lambert was introduced to movement at the age of fifteen. She later graduated from London Contemporary Dance School with Postgraduate Diploma in Performance, having completed her BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
With a varied career to date, Claire has found particular interest in devising and performing dynamic, narrative and socially relevant work for indoor, outdoor and site-specific settings. Recent work also includes touring children’s theatre production Up Up and Away, R&D for a concept film vertical dancing on cliffs and vertical dance piece Home for Coventry City of Culture 2021.
Claire enjoys building longer term working relationships which include developing new work with CoDa Dance, expanding company repertoire with award-winning Highly Sprung Performance, pursuing professional development in aerial harness techniques with Kate Lawrence and supporting the sustainability of Birmingham Dance Network.
Luke Sheppard graduated from Coventry University with a 1st Class BA (Hons) in Dance, Theatre and Professional Practice. Shortly after completing his degree Luke became the recipient of a BBC Performing Arts Fund award and spent his first professional year based at the Warwick Arts Centre. During this year he worked with companies Being Frank Physical Theatre, Infuse Dance and Highly Sprung Performance Company, with whom he continued working for several years. Most recently in January of this year Luke performed in a Highly Sprung children’s theatre production – City Beat.
Luke has always found interest in character driven work, finding joy in narrative and storytelling through movement and dance. This is something he aims to continue discovering more of in the future.
Episode 5 is a C-DaRE postgraduate special, where we talk to Erica Charalambous and Charlie Ingram, two doctoral researchers at Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE). We speak about the surfacing of the hidden spaces, bodies and voices of Coventry, as well as the city’s emotional, physical, architectural and digital body.
Erica is a dancer and dance researcher, currently completing her PhD at the Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University, UK and Deakin University, Melbourne Australia. Her research focuses on archiving dance, the curation of dance collections and the analysis of dance content, especially in digital archives in Germany, the UK and Australia. Erica received her first dance degree in Greece at the Rallou Manou Academy of Dance in Athens (2001) and then her MA in Contemporary Dance Education in Germany at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt (2011). Her dance practice draws on her dance training, as a professional dancer, in contemporary dance and ballet techniques, and also on dance improvisation, somatic practices, martial arts and site-specific performance. Erica also has a long-standing experience in art production and cultural management: she was involved in various European Capital of Culture projects, in Luxembourg (2007), Essen (2010), Valletta, Malta (2018) and in Paphos, Cyprus (2017). In Cyprus for the European City of Culture project, Erica designed dance-related projects for the bid in 2012, planned and developed the Community Involvement programme for the City of Culture 2014-2016, co-ordinating and directing several large-scale art productions during the official year of the event in 2017. She has lived and worked in Cyprus, Greece, Germany, Australia and the UK, and now lives in Coventry.
Charlie is a PhD researcher within the Coventry University Centre for Dance Research, starting in May 2019. He lives in Coventry and has done for most of his life apart from three years in Crewe at MMU – Cheshire during his undergraduate studies. His work is based in theatre practice, directing and theatre-based practitioner studies. His current project investigates the cause and effect that UK City of Culture as a phenomenon may have on the perceived civic pride of Coventry residents, by following the work of City of Culture producers leading up to and during the UK City of Culture year. Using headphone verbatim theatre as a lens for exploring these perceptions, this practice as research method aims to establish if UK City of Culture has the ability to shift perspectives of the public, offering a new way of measuring impact with regards to cultural engagement project’s, and provide advice to those invested in engaging communities in theatre practice. He also manages his own theatre company, New Project Theatre as producer and Director and the company produces self-funded productions bi-annually.
Episode 6 welcomes Dr Andréa Moraes Soares and Dr Mônica Dantas all the way form Porto Alegre, Brazil. In this episode we discuss their relationship and experience of living and working in Coventry and how this compares to Porto Alegre Brazil. Their time at Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) is also closely discussed and they share insight on their research which ranges from archives, bodies in space and the political aspects of dance. Friendship, solidarity, and legacies were also mentioned as there is an ongoing relationship between dance artists and researchers in Brazil and some from C-DaRE. City of Culture and the future of Coventry is also referenced. Andréa is a Performing Arts Post-doctorate fellow at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul funded by PNPD CAPES. She is a Belly dancer, a teacher for twenty years and director of Harem Belly dance school at Lebanese Society of Porto Alegre. Mônica, a contemporary dancer and Associated Professor at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS – Brazil), supervises PhD and Masters candidates in the Performing Arts Program and teaches in the Dance Undergraduate Course Program.
Episode 7 Ashley Jordan and Ben Morley from Ascension dance in conversation with Rosa Cisneros
Episode 7 welcomes Ashley Jordan and Ben Morley from Ascension dance. The company aims to achieve 3 things –
△ Create compelling dance work and performance
△ Inspire young people to use dance as a vessel for expression
△ Better their community by providing opportunities for participation in events and activities
The conversation describes the process of making the “Sent to Coventry” dance film, the City of Culture 2021 bid and their current digital initiative, #CreateIt, ShareIt, curating exercises during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Episode 8 sees Luka Owen and Courtney Reading from Coventry-based aerial dance company Rebel Manifesto Aerial in conversation with Marie-Louise Crawley. We speak about aerial dance and performance in Coventry, connecting with the city’s communities, nurturing those communities and passing on that body-to-body knowledge to future generations of dancers.
Episode 9 welcomes cultural and creative director Frankie Ranford from the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in the heart of Coventry. The Gallery has several permanent galleries that showcase the museum’s collections, from fine paintings to historical and archaeological artefacts and natural history specimens. The Herbert has extensive and wide ranging collections which are grouped under four broad headings:
• Visual Arts
• Social and Industrial History
• Natural History
Episode 10 welcomes the Belgrade Theatre. We sat down with Kim Hackleman and Krysztina Winkel.
Hackleman is a theatre practitioner. She has worked for the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry England since 2012 as an Education Officer and Participation Associate, leading workshops, directing plays, acting in productions and producing events, and concurrently as a freelancer both in England and the United States of America, where she was born and educated. Winkel has been working as Embedded Community Producer at the Belgrade since 2019. Before that, she worked in Opera and Dance education for the Deutsche Oper and the Ballett am Rhein, Dusseldorf in Germany. Further theatre community projects brought her to Zambia, Italy, and Iraq.
Note: At minute 10:55 Corey Campbell directing Cranston Knights is mentioned. Please note that Corey Campbell and Esther Richardson of Pilot Theatre both directed the work.
Episode 11 welcomes a three individuals who are part of the Coventry dance legacy contributing to the dance ecology for over three decades. We sat down and spoke with Yael Owen-McKenna, Alexis Haines and Suzanne Cantwell Birkin about their friendship, Youth Dance, and collaborating as young artists.
Episode 12 welcomes back Yael Owen-McKenna, Alexis Haines and Suzanne Cantwell Birkin. In this part 2, the three friends talk about their hopes for the future of Coventry’s dance scene, City of Culture 2021 and site dance.
The three artists are fundamental to the Coventry dance scene and have contributed to the dane legacy of the city in a number of ways. It was an honour to sit down with these powerful women.
The episode features Mates in conversation with fellow dancer, friend and collaborator, Mickael ‘Marso’ Riviere7, a French hip-hop dancer and company director living in the West Midlands. Both artists have close connections with Coventry and the culture of dance in the city. The purpose of the episode is to understand the relationship they have with the city of Coventry and how their experiences of dance have shaped or impacted their practice in the city or elsewhere. They talk about their arrival into the city from Romania and France respectively and the friendships that they have formed through dancing in the city over the years.
Episode 14 sees three friends discuss the importance of dance archives. Suzi Weber and Mônica Fagundes Dantas , both based Brasil, are integral in building the Eva Schultz dance archive, and are in discussion with Karen Wood from C-DaRE on ways to bring to Coventry.