Yorkshire Dance

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Into the Light

Gary Clarke's Into the Light - Hull - 29 Jul 2017 © David Lindsay

We were thrilled to contribute a new outdoor dance work to Hull UK City of Culture 2017 as part of LGBT50. Into the Light, a specially commissioned Yorkshire Dance production by choreographer Gary Clarke, was performed by eight professional dancers and 42 non-professionals from Hull and the East Riding’s LGBTQI+ community and friends: a 50-strong cast to celebrate 50 years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality.

Into the Light looked at LGBTQI+ history over five decades, including the AIDS epidemic, 70s gay liberation movements and the legalization of gay marriage. The band, Best of Fiends, took inspiration from queer musical icons to create an original soundtrack. Costume designer, Ryan Laight, worked with the cast to explore fashion over five decades to create a unique design concept and costumes to empower the cast.

During 3 weeks of intensive rehearsals at Hull College the cast, who ranged from age 15 to over 60, were encouraged to share their personal experiences of LGBTQI+ history in  Hull, some of which inspired the final work.

On Saturday 29 July LGBT50 opened with Duckie’s Summer Tea Party, featuring tea and cake served by non-binary waiters, poetry and music. Our cast of 50 dancers performed Into the Light twice to an audience of thousands of people who lined Queen Victoria Square in Hull.

A year later, the cast are still meeting, performing and collaborating. Into the Light strengthened relationships between dance artists in Hull resulting in mentoring relationships. Members of the non-professional cast engaged with the Performing Gender project and Gender Moves workshops in Leeds.

“I’ve never seen the media look so gob-smacked – I couldn’t stop them gushing, I almost had to calm them down when interviewed! The stories I’ve heard from many of your participants have been incredibly moving and life-affirming. I know they will not forget their involvement quickly and cherish this experience forever.”
Cian Smith, Producer LGBT50

“My endless thanks. What a wonderful, ground-breaking, uncompromising, moving and special day it will stay with me for a very long time. If I had to say from the whole year what exemplifies what we were trying to achieve here it is this event. I’m in awe.”
Martin Green, Chief Executive, Hull City of Culture 2017

“It is a rare opportunity to work with such a wide range of people from all different backgrounds, lifestyles, ages, experiences etc. Everyone learnt more about each other and just became part of the Into the Light family that supported each other, laughed and cried together! I loved it all! The project has made me regain my love of dance.”
Into the Light participant

“I was expecting to take part in a performance of some type. After the first few workshops I realised I was getting involved with something with much deeper significance and meaning. I feel really honoured to have been able to be part of it.”
Into the Light participant

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