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Dancing the Horizontal: A Reflection

Fri 27 January 2023
Part of: Dancing the Horizontal | 2022

Dancing The Horizontal is an international exchange and collaboration program, supported by the British Council, in partnership with Yorkshire Dance and CSC dancehouse in Bassano del Grappa.

Dancing The Horizontal proposed a deepening of artistic practice through exchange between three exceptional artists – Kate Cox (Gracefool Collective), Rachel Fullegar (Gracefool Collective) and Silvia Gribaudi. The project connected the artists with their local communities of older adults, investigating together how working with non-professional dancers informs the practice of choreographers, and also expand definitions of beauty.

The exchange invited people who normally have little access to dance to experience its transformational power. To find connection, joy, self-expression and insight. To make visible, empower and tell untold stories.

In 30 days of residency, (two weeks in Bassano del Grappa and two weeks in Leeds) Dancing the Horizontal has involved 23 older adults in daily workshops. The sessions explored the mutual exchange between choreographer and community participants, shifting the focus between the individual and the collective, and using imagination as a collaborative tool.

One of the older participants commented:

“It was an insightful, interesting & fun exploration of dance. We researched different qualities of movement and how they are influenced by the music, mind, audience, environment, performance space, group dynamics, shared trust, empathy and togetherness”

During each residency – lead artists exchanged practice with local dance artists and delivered a professional development workshop, to disseminate their research and practice with a wider group of local artists and peers.

Dance artist, Thom, reflects on the Leeds professional development workshop:

“The workshop blends physical activity with clowning and silliness. Expect high energy movement sequences to pumping music, improvisational explorations with contact, as well as theatrical tasks to let go and encounter the performativity of silliness. The workshop seamlessly blends together solo and group exercises allowing the group to share and witness for each other… by the end of the day the room of strangers felt like a community!”

Watch the videos below of Dancing the Horizontal in Bassano del Grappa and Leeds to see how it went.

The Bassano del Grappa Residency:


The Leeds Residency:

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