The Cilia Dance

Category: Show Related artist: The Bicycle Ballet Co

The Cilia Dance is a socially distanced, participatory performance, co-creating a movement dialogue about moving around towns/cities. The show will be developed over the summer 2021 & premiere in Brighton in September, coinciding with our 15th anniversary.

The show is inspired by Covid & climate change; respiratory illness & air pollution; transport & lockdown; communication & empathy; choice, empowerment & behaviour change; & by Pina Bausch’s Nelkin Line & Toni Morrison’s advice to ‘write about something you don’t know.’

It is conceived for outdoors, where the impact of transport, on our lives, health & the climate emergency, is felt. The piece is an ambitious experiment in holding a conversation using the language of movement instead of words, in a playful, fun, collaborative & empathic exchange; to dance in each other’s shoes, on the streets.
Cilia are microscopic, hair-like structures on the body’s cells, especially the respiratory tract & lungs. They are primordial & rhythmic, moving to keep airways clear; allowing us to breath easily without irritation.
In the piece, the dancers are Cilia, moving to communicate, learn, teach & understand. They move in a line or block, in unison or performing their own sequences in a repeated loop. Sequences describe, epitomise &/or reflect the best & worst of scooting, skating, walking, cycling, buses, trains, private & shared cars.
The Cilia Dance will be playful, fun & tongue in cheek; raising a smile rather than challenge. Participants will share their movements & teach them to others throughout the process, to help create & build dialogue, empathy & choreographic sequences
It is sustainable & made for touring, with the creation of an outreach & workshop model to tour, scale up or down responding to participant numbers, sites, & work in the widest range of contexts.

The Cilia Dance is created by a core team who have collaborated together on The Bicycle Ballet Co shows over the years, including:

Artistic Director, Karen Poley, with over 25 years’ experience of creating & producing outdoor arts performances, installations & community engagement projects of all scales & sizes, including Bicycle Ballet, The Living Coast Undersea (VR) Experience, reCyculture, The Great Pebble Dash, & over 100 outdoor arts festivals & events, & Brighton Festival’s Streets of Brighton, for Zap Art.

Choreographer, Ella Fleetwood is a contemporary dance artist & choreographer, making socially engaged work through her company, ella&co. She currently performs in Bicycle Ballet Co’s Blazing Saddles show & for Springs Dance Company & teaches in a range of community settings, & as lead artist for Sadler’s Wells, DanceWest, Danielle Teale’s Dance for Parkinsons & Magpie Dance.

Mentor, Virginia Farman with over 25 years’ experience creating & directing dance projects, from the wild nightclubs of Milan & Rimini to more recently specialisation in large-scale participatory work. Trained as a Diva with Liz Aggiss & Billy Cowie, she has created productions with Zap Art, South East Dance, Paddock Productions, Brighton Festival & Bicycle Ballet. She is Senior Lecturer in Dance at University of Chichester.

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Show Details

  • Date Created: September 2021
  • Length: 1 hour, approx
  • Performance area: Depends on number of participants (5-100), along a road is ideal
  • Approx. get-in / get out: Workshop rehearsals with participants in advance
  • Number. of people on road: 4
  • Workshops available: Yes
  • Scale: Medium scale
  • Capacity: 500-2000
  • Availability: Has touring availability
  • Language: Non-text based
  • Audience type: All audiences, all ages