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Animated Edition - Summer 2020
Animated cover image: Vicki Igbokwe teaching an Empowerment Workshop, Aditi retreat
Focus on: "What is this illusive thing we call our 'practice'?"

It is no exaggeration to say that last few months have been a rollercoaster of extraordinary change, deep loss, frustration, hope and now maybe some hints revealing more about what a new future might - or could – hold. 

The content in this edition of Animated speaks for itself. I hope it offers a reference point for times when you need to dig deep and find re-energised purpose and vision in your own work, as we turn our faces into the wind.

Our sincere thanks to all the contributors to this edition of Animated: Vicki Igbokwe, Melanie Precious, Sarah Boulton and Adele Wragg, Linzi Ann Rumph, Dr Mark Edward, Dr Adseola Akinleye, Helen Kindred, Dr Thomas F. DeFrantz, Elaine Westwick and Andrew Waldron.  Special thanks to Helen and Adesola for also curating five articles from Queering the Somatic: Interrupting the Narrative Symposium, held at Middlesex University London in November 2019. As a result of COVID-19, this edition of Animated is online only.

Black Lives Matter 

The Board and Staff of People Dancing stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in calling for an end to racist practices, systems and behaviours, inside and outside of the Arts. You can read our full statement here.

Chris Stenton, Executive Director, People Dancing

In this issue
The practice behind the ‘practice’
What is this elusive thing we call our 'practice’, our 'voice'? Do you find it, or does it find you? How do you grow it, with whom and for how long? Is it a case of a flash of inspiration or commitment over time? And when is it ready to pass it on? Vicki Igbokwe, choreographer, movement director, facilitator and founder of Uchenna Dance tells us about her own journey and the value of taking the time you need and savouring and learning from each step you take
Melanie Precious. Photo: Roswitha Chesher
Greenwich Dance and the coronavirus
When Melanie Precious, Chief Executive Officer, Greenwich Dance was invited to submit an article for this issue of Animated she imagined she would use the opportunity to tell readers about the great strides Greenwich Dance has been making over the last 18 months. And then COVID-19 happened
It’s Your Move
Sarah Boulter and Adele Wragg, Co-Artistic Directors of Spiltmilk Dance, hand over the creation of their latest work to 100 choreographers with no previous experience of dance
What Have YOU Done To Deserve This?
Dr Mark Edward, lives, works and negotiates chronic pain to deliver his ‘artistic mess’ to the public. Focusing on how, as a dance artist, he has used movement as a way of healing and physical identity forming he says ‘it’s been a hell of a journey’ but that creating work has been a dance theatre of rejuvenation and narrative therapeutics
Valleys dancing
Artis Community’s Development Officer and Dance Leader Linzi Ann Rumph talks about artform, flexibility and inclusive dance practice as a mechanism to support the South Wales community in their everyday lives
Queering the Somatic: Interrupting the Narrative Symposium
Photo: Anton Califano
Queering the Somatic
In November 2019 Dr. Adesola Akinleye and Helen Kindred, co-Artistic Directors of DancingStrong Movement Lab and Senior Lecturers at Middlesex University London, curated a two-day symposium - Queering the Somatic: interrupting the narrative - which brought together artists, practitioners, researchers moving within the fields of dance, queer theory, feminism, narrative, and somatic practices. Here they introduce the following articles which are contributed by some of the Symposium’s speakers
Towards an otherwise sort of being
Symposium keynote speaker and Professor of Dance at Duke University, North Carolina, Dr Thomas F. DeFrantz speaks from his personal experience of queering on a project which “shifted the sense of what my dancing could be and could be for” as well as asking wider questions of what queering might evoke for us in terms of imagination, effort, agreement and limitless possibilities
Improvisation and change
Helen Kindred is a dancer, choreographer and movement practitioner, and co-curator of Queering the Somatic symposium with Dr. Adesola Akinleye. Queering, for Helen, is a process of questioning; the possibility of change, of resistance, of questioning assumptions, blurring boundaries, embracing difference and defying a singular definition. Here, she describes the improvised, participatory performance/presentation she shared at the symposium and the thinking that expands from it
Photo: Christian Kipp
Believable bodies: sensory authority and community dance practice
Queering the Somatic workshop leader and somatic Pilates teacher Elaine Westwick addresses a particular form of embodied difference - not outer, physical manifestations of difference but differences in inner, felt experiences and describes how movement and dance, particularly community classes, can provide a window into sensory experience and the acceptance of differences within
Talking together / Queering together!
Performer, choreographer and teacher Andrew Waldron shares how the experience of and connections made in attending Queering the Somatic impacted him personally and influenced his studies