Outsider Dance is a phrase I coined to describe my practice of dance with people who feel themselves to be dancers, who attend dance classes, events and workshops because they feel dance can allow them to express themselves and/or know themselves, in important and fulfilling ways. Borrowing from the concept of Outsider Art, which celebrates the self-taught artist, the non-trained and non-institutionalised artist, the often visionary and quietly private artist, I find myself drawn similarly, in the world of dance, to people who haven’t sought out the traditional or predictable pathways to dance. Although they haven’t trained as dancers, and are uninterested in pursuing a dance performance career, dance is a vital part of their lives. I have always been interested in dancing with those dancers. People who often don’t even see themselves as dancers, until they begin. I am fascinated by ordinary movement, by dance that is developed from every day life experiences. I am intrigued by what it means to call oneself a dancer. What does it take?
In its present constellation, Outsider Dance is myself, Toby Peters, filmmaker and musician and Laura McGariggle, chanteuse and musician. I have been working with Toby Peters since January 2013, where we met on a dance project with the Cambridge homeless community. We have been working together, exploring & developing ways and styles of capturing movement through film, so as to bring the dancer’s experience alive to viewers and audiences. In particular we are inspired to create spaces and events where ordinary dancers, non-professional dancers, can contribute to and enjoy being part of a rich dance experience.
In August 2013 we began working with Laura for a SHINDIG night as part of the 1st Romsey Art Festival, Cambridge. We are interested in the process of collaboration, and creating live performance where dance, music and film come together to freshly improvise and freshly create. Taking threads of personal interest and create richer landscapes of experience. We delight in open exploration and experimentation.
Excerpts from the Romsey Art Festival performance, where a film made by Toby around Filipa’s dancing was projected. Filipa, seeing the film for the first time, danced in response to the film and the music being spontaneously created by Laura and Toby, who of course were creating the soundscape in response to the dance and each other.
Most recently, Outsider Dance worked on a project in some wild woods. Through a sparse landscape of sound, and simple images, a story is woven around a woman and a man in the woods. A dance of a kind is created. The film is a blueprint for workshopping material – bringing non-dancers into a dance performance that is shaped by their improvisations.
To watch Sun, please click here