About Dancing Words

Dance and poetry =?

Dancing Words is a project designed to explore what happens when you bring together the art forms of dance and poetry.

These two forms have much in common: both rely on significant creative input from the audience and both take their own language of meaning (movement and words) to their most concentrated level. If the two are combined is it possible to create a new hybrid art form? A form which is greater than either the poetry or dance alone? Is it possible to bring the complexity and intimacy of page poetry to the stage? What methodology should be used to make the collaboration come to life? These are the questions at the heart of the Dancing Words project.

Collaborations between the two forms are not new, although they are surprisingly limited. Within spoken word-dance there are many excellent examples of physical theatre. Sadler’s Wells and The Place have also explored this area, and the Poetry School has offered poets the chance to understand this further but there is far more that could be done.

In 2014 dancer/choreographer Sean Graham and poet Kayo Chingonyi performed a collaborative piece, Some Bright Elegance, on the stage of the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre to rapturous applause (part of an on-going national poetry organisation, the Complete Works). The poem-dance explored issues of race, identity and belonging and offered a seamless union of movement and words. The poem was given physical life, breathing on the stage. The Creative Director, Dr Nathalie Teitler, decided that this should be explored further and Dancing Words was born.

The project will:

1) Produce three new dance-poetry collaborations which will be filmed and performed with intertanionally known BME poets and dancer/choreogrphers all of black and Asian backgrounds.
The poets are: Malika Booker, Karen McCarthy Woolf and Kayo Chingonyi
The dancer/choreographers are: Ella Mesma, Leon Rose and Sean Graham
2) Chart the methodology on this website as well as offering a research resource.
3) Present a symposium where dance, poetry and other art orgnanisations can share their knowledge and interests and develop platforms on social media for on-going interactions.

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