Remembering British New Dance. Image by Rose English.
Remembering British New Dance


Choreographer Jonathan Burrows and Dance Historian Ramsay Burt from De Montfort University, presented a series of evening events, Remembering British New Dance, in London in June 2012. New Dance was originally the title of a British magazine covering innovative dance that was being ignored by rest of the dance press. Gradually it became a label for a range of experimental work.
The 1970s was a time when radical experiments in British dance were comparable to what was happening internationally. This series of three events explored key aspects of British new dance in the 1970s and 1980s and considered its legacy today. Each began with a short presentation by Ramsay Burt contextualising the evening’s topic which was followed by a panel discussion with invited guests and chaired by Jonathan Burrows.

New Dance and the Visual Arts

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Siobhan Davies Studios - Friday 1 June, 7.30-9.30pm

Guest panellists – Rose English, Gaby Agis and Amanda Prince-Lubawy

The opening event of the series Remembering British New Dance examined the relation between dance and visual art in the UK during the 1970s and 80s, revisiting a highly influential period of work. Many visual artists at that time, as feminist and art critic Lucy Lippard put it, were pursuing a process of dematerialising the art object, and some women in particular were turning to performance because, unlike conventional forms such as painting and sculpture, it was comparatively free of male dominance. At the same time, dance artists were expanding towards collaborative projects, multimedia performances, architecture and the visual arts, overlapping considerably with the performance art of the period.
This panel discussed some of the different ways in which the new dance and visual art worlds during the 1970s and 1980s were interacting, and asked whether there are similarities with the present day.

New Dance and Feminism

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Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells Theatre - Thursday 7 June, 7-9pm

Guest panellists Emilyn Claid, Jacky Lansley and Vicki Igbokwe

British-based dancers began to explore new approaches to choreography, performance, and to the way dancers positioned themselves in relation to dance as an institution at a time when feminist ideas were being pushed to the forefront of public consciousness by the Women’s Liberation Movement.
This panel remembered and discussed the relation between new dance and feminism at that time and reassessed the significance of ideas about gender representation in the context of dance practice in 2012.

New Dance and Somatics

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Chisenhale Dance Space - Wednesday 20 June, 6.30-8.30pm

Guest panellists Siobhan Davies, Miranda Tufnell and Antje Hildebrandt

Contact and exchange of artists and teachers between the US and UK during the 1970s and 1980s led to explorations by British-based dance artists of new ways of moving, particularly ones that encouraged a focus on sensitivity to somatic processes. These included (but were not restricted to) contact improvisation, release-based methods of movement exploration, Body Mind Centering, the Alexander technique, Tai Chi, and Aikido. This panel considered the different ways in which these explorations informed the work of British-based dancers and their practices.