The Artistry & Access Lab is a week dedicated to artistic exchange and exploration, with access at its heart, curated by Annie Hanauer and Susanna Recchia. In their words:
“The Lab sprang from a desire to feed our community – to create space for artists to breathe, meet and exchange by moving together. We hope that spending time together engaging deeply with different artistic proposals, without a product at the end, will provide a rich experience for everyone involved.
We have invited an incredible line-up of artists to lead sessions throughout the week whose work we find unique, deep-rooted, and exciting. They each bring their artistic perspective and practice, approaching accessibility in their own way. You will find details of the week laid out below: each day has been programmed around a common theme, and we will be present all week as your hosts and co-facilitators.
This is an opportunity for anyone interested in accessible artistic methods in dance to have an encounter with some of the d/Deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent artists whose work we admire. They include Alexandrina Hemsley, Claire Cunningham, Maiya Leeke, Anna Seymour, Laura Jones and Chris Pavia, with Kate Marsh documenting the week through writing and leading a talk.
The Artistry and Access Lab week is aimed at artists with significant dance experience, which can be self-defined, or an in-depth engagement with movement practice. We welcome artists of all backgrounds and particularly encourage D/deaf, disabled & neurodivergent artists to join us. 50% of available places are reserved for those identifying as D/deaf disabled or neurodivergent. Two places are reserved each day for artists who cannot attend the entire week but want to join us. If you require a support worker to attend the lab, they can attend free of charge.
We look forward to welcoming you!”
Prices for the whole lab are £125 full price, £75 low-income. Day tickets are £20 each and are limited in number, meant for those who cannot attend the full week.
The Artistry and Access lab is part of dance it, dance it, dance it, dance it, Independent Dance’s year-long programme conceived by Heni Hale and Nikki Tomlinson which aims to foreground disabled, neurodivergent and d/Deaf artists as leaders and widen the dissemination of inclusive dance practices. Partner organisations on different strands of the programme include Candoco Dance Company, Sadler’s Wells, The Work Room, Dance Umbrella and Team London Bridge. This programme is supported through public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and with subsidized space at Siobhan Davies Studios.
Claire Cunningham will share methods and scores central to her work, opening up dialogues about where her choreographic practice based on attending/attention and perception, and practices learned from normative-bodied artists, meets with concepts of Crip politics – such as Crip time – and the phenomenology/lived experience of disability.
Through talking, moving, watching, listening and documenting in a manner accessible to you, we will engage in tasks looking at: attending to our own attention; the connection between movement and language; communication and consent; and the potential within these scores in gaining ownership (or re-ownership) over our bodies and for new modes of noticing, moving and improvising.
This workshop is open to people of diverse physicality’s and sensory modalities. The work will use structured improvisation and allows everyone to engage at their own chosen levels of energy, pace and scale of movement.
Claire Cunningham is a performer and creator of multi-disciplinary performance based in Glasgow, Scotland. One of the UK’s most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists, Cunningham’s work is rooted in the study and use/misuse of her crutches and the exploration of the potential of her own specific physicality. This runs alongside a deep interest in the lived experience of disability and its implications not only as a choreographer but also in terms of societal notions of knowledge, value, connection and interdependence.
A self-identifying disabled artist, Cunningham’s work combines multiple art forms, and includes ME (Mobile/Evolution); 12 made for Candoco Dance Company; Give Me a Reason to Live; Guide Gods, and the duet The Way You Look (at me) Tonight with choreographer Jess Curtis which was selected for the 2018 Tanzplatform in Germany and was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award. Claire’s ensemble piece, Thank You Very Much won CATS awards for Best Ensemble and Best Sound and Music and was the inspiration for the BBC Radio 4 documentary, Elvis – A Tribute in Dance.
In 2020, Claire collaborated with scholar and activist Julia Watts Belser on audio works Quanimacy commissioned by The Place, London and We Run Like Rivers for Theaterformen Festival, Hannover. In 2021, Claire was honored for her Outstanding Artistic Development in dance at the German Dance Awards.
Maiya’s session will be based around her ongoing enquiry into translation and communication of movement. The session will explore musicality and curiosity through personal connections to music and movement. It will be a moment to delve deeper into individual explorations and possibilities.
Inspiration will be drawn from Maiya’s jazz musicianship and continued exploration into methods of communication.
Maiya is a Contemporary Dance Artist and Jazz Saxophonist. She is a Sadler’s Wells Young Associate 2023/24, was a finalist in BBC Young Dancer 2022, and has an MA from Northern School of Contemporary Dance where she danced with Candoco Dance Company. Currently Maiya is performing ‘Look Mum, No Hands!’ by Mimbre and Daryl and Co, and ‘I think we should start over’ by Jamaal Burkmar for Candoco Dance Company.
She works as a Creative Support Artist for National Youth Dance Company with Wayne McGregor CBE, and continues to research her practice with Hawk Dance Theatre, Mimbre Acrobatic Theatre Company, and Alleyne Dance. Maiya is a previous Associate Artist at Mind the Gap and was a shortlisted artist for the Arts Foundation Future Awards 2023.
Anna Seymour’s session will be based on principles from Pleasure Activism, The Politics of Feeling Good (adrienne maree brown) and how these principles can be a part of our artistic and performance practices as well as everyday life. Anna will be sharing how this text and desire has been a rich source for her own practices as well as some practices from Last Shelter (Jeanine Durning) the piece she is currently performing and touring with Candoco Dance Company.
There will be embodied explorations and some speaking scores. Hopefully your bodies and minds will feel good by the end of the session!
Anna will deliver this workshop in BSL with BSL/English interpreters.
Anna Seymour is an Australian born dance artist and performer living in London. She is currently a dancer with Candoco Dance Company.
Born profoundly deaf to a hearing family, she started dancing at the age of 6 years old. After a long break where she didn’t dance for several years due to the inaccessible nature of dance at the time, she moved to Melbourne to study contemporary dance at university.
Anna is currently touring Last Shelter with Candoco as well as remounting her work SPIN, an interactive dance rave with deaf hosts and a DJ in Europe and the UK.
Resident Choreographer, Chris Pavia, and Co–Artistic Director, Laura Jones, from Stopgap Dance will share an insight of their near 50 years of combined experience in inclusive dance practice and choreography.
They will use the morning movement studies session to reveal how Stopgap approaches creating and leading an accessible company class for the many different learning and movement styles within the company.
The afternoon will focus on their choreographic processes. Chris will share his unique perspective through explorations based on his latest piece, Echoes Within the Earth. They will also explore how harnessing the power of movement translation across diverse dancers creates a rich movement vocabulary.
Laura Jones joined Stopgap in 2001 and has been integral to the growth and direction of the company. Laura has worked with numerous choreographers, gaining extensive creative and performance experience, touring internationally in both traditional and non-traditional settings. She has also choreographed numerous works, such as A:Version for Resolution! (2009), remounted for IND4 in 2016. She is a fierce advocate for dance and disability, inclusion and equality, advancing the sector through teacher training in inclusive practice, public speaking and consultancy work.
Chris Pavia joined Stopgap in 1997 as a trainee and is now a Senior Dance Artist and Resident Choreographer. He has choreographed numerous works including the duet The Journey Between (2019). In 2020, Chris became Artist in Residence at Watts Gallery, as part of his Beyond the Waves dance film, a project supported by DAiSY and Stopgap Dance Company. Chris continues to lead and support with creative learning outreach work and choreographic residencies in schools and community groups across the UK.
Alexandrina Hemlsey’s creative practice lands in the fluid spaces of dance, choreography, writing, facilitating & advocacy. They turn towards the sensorial, the bodily, the multiple subjective positions of self as ways to find breath & voice amidst the unjust & inequitable.
Alexandrina founded Yewande 103 in 2020. Yewande 103 lives as compassionate, embodied advocacy in action.
Lab curators and co-hosts Susanna Recchia and Annie Hanauer will lead the final day of the Lab together, which will include proposals from their own movement research and a facilitated closing of the week.
Annie Hanauer will offer a morning exploration of improvisation scores from her new solo work, Updraft, which looks at the body in relation to landscape, and ideas of flying, falling, and letting go.
Susanna Recchia will lead the group through a movement journey to remember and recall what emerged during the LAB, giving space and time for integration through dancing and resting together.
A day of moving, conversation, and time to absorb the week.
Annie Hanauer is an internationally-renowned disabled dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Annie is passionate about the power, wisdom, and creativity of disabled people, and discovering different ways into full-bodied dancing.
Annie’s work A space for all our tomorrows, looking at utopia through a disability lens, is touring Europe. She has choreographed for Mobius Dance, Zurich University of the Arts, University of Minnesota, Ramped, and Candoco Dance Company. She has performed with Rachid Ouramdane since 2013, and in projects with Paris Chamber Orchestra, Emanuel Gat Dance, Lea Anderson, Nic Conibere, Boris Charmatz, and with Candoco between 2008-2014. She regularly leads inclusive workshops and professional classes internationally.
Susanna Recchia is a dance artist and somatic educator. As a performer, teacher, mentor, rehearsal director, project and tour manager, choreographic advisor and maker Susanna has worked and toured internationally for the past 20 years. Her teaching methodology and artistic work is based on somatic work, improvisation and on supporting creativity through moving. Inclusivity, dialogue, movement, collaboration, freedom of expression and imagination are the core forces of Recchia’s work as an artist and facilitator.