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Reflections on ABOUT US at Modern Art Oxford

“ABOUT US is a remarkable embodiment of ordinary human experience that reveals the universal through the personal, and places dance firmly in the political sphere.” – Maggie Watson of Oxford Dance Writers

“……it was lovely to see the dance performance yesterday. I loved the idea of how small movements embodied, reflected, revealed and foreshadowed  inner worlds.” – Audience Member

“I find any group of people moving in a public place exciting to watch – if I allow myself to really look at the cacophony of gestures, shapes and rhythms that are happening. The passings, almost meetings and near collisions are somehow choreographic. In our performance ABOUT US there are episodes, which seemingly don’t connect to each other – moments that might seem obscure, but which, we hope, provide enough clues for viewers to go on a journey with us. 

ABOUT US developed slowly over 3 years and explores a collage of personal stories the performers brought to the studio to share. These stories, while unique to the individual artists involved, foreground the everyday choices we all make around loss, joy, anger, pleasure, fear; choices which may feel ‘free’ but are in fact often determined by our personal histories, the economic system and by societal expectations.  As a team we asked how these experiences (not all painful and melancholy) might resonate with audience members because of the way they reflect a more generalised space relating to contemporary life in the UK. 

Modern Art Oxford has been a very positive and inspiring context for us. In 1977 I collaborated with the artists Sally Potter and Rose English on a performance project titled Mounting which was commissioned by Modern Art Oxford (then Museum of Modern Art Oxford). The surface form of ABOUT US may seem very different from Mounting - more ‘choreographic’ – however, many of the same performance strategies are there: playing with a juxtaposition of visual and theatrical languages, drawing on ‘high’ and ‘popular’ forms, deconstruction of archetypes and intimate dialogue with audiences. In my recent book ‘Choreographies’ *I say of Mounting “… the audience was invited to share in the process of making performance, which at times felt very uncomfortable. Their attention was used to create energy and effect, they were in the ‘spotlight’ – we explored their presence in relation to the woman performer.”  It is so interesting to me that, after all these years, I am still working with the same intentions.” – Jacky Lansley


‘About Us’ at Modern Art Oxford

‘About Us’ performance and Q&A at Modern Art Oxford on February 19, 2019 (6:30 pm). 

ABOUT US is a multimedia performance created by Jacky Lansley with artists from dance, visual art, experimental music and theatre backgrounds. It is characterised by interdisciplinary collaboration and powerful explorations of personal and political struggles around loss, joy, caring and oppression that affect us all.

Inspired by the everyday experiences of the human condition, this performance plays with multiple perspectives – near and far, live and film, inside and outside – to draw the audience into an intimate world of which they are a part, it is a performance about us all.

ABOUT US is devised and choreographed by Jacky Lansley; performed by Fergus Early, Jreena Green, Esther Huss and Tim Taylor; with music/sound composition by Sylvia Hallett and cinematography by Roswitha Chesher

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Image of performer Esther Huss

Jacky Lansley Wins One Dance UK Jane Attenborough Industry Award

Congratulations to Jacky Lansley who has won The Jane Attenborough One Dance UK Industry Award!

This award honours an individual working in dance who has made an outstanding contribution to the art form. Named in memory of the founding Director of Dance UK (later to become One Dance UK), the award aims to highlight the important, but often unacknowledged, contributions made by exceptional individuals who make a real difference to how dance is created, supported and seen.

The One Dance UK Awards salute the outstanding contribution of people working in dance, the annual event is an opportunity for people in the industry to unite, celebrate, acknowledge and recognise the people who have made an impact on the vibrant UK dance landscape.

Click here for more information about One Dance UK’s Awards and other award winners.

The One Dance UK Awards 2018
Jacky Lansley with her Jane Attenborough One Dance UK Industry Award
Jacky Lansley with supportive Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp

R-AGE: Chisnehale Dance Space Collaboration Between Generations Commission

Showcase Performance December 8th, 2018 (6pm)

We’re pleased to announce a new project commissioned by Chisenhale Dance Space and supported by Dance Research Studio: Jacky Lansley and Grace Nicol (Woman SRSLY) have begun working on R-AGE, a conversation through dance, image and performance between a ‘young’ woman and an ‘older’ woman. Together they explore the power of women working together across generations and examine questions about women and age, including those frustrating generalisations which frame women as never being the right age.

Drawing on their working relationship and friendship over the last four years, they will collaborate on devising a cross-disciplinary score, which will engage the audience in a series of challenging, humorous and radical questions about women, power, art and age.

CLICK HERE for tickets to the December 8th, 2018 (6pm) showcase at Chisenhale Dance Space

The Speaking Dancer: Interdisciplinary Performance Training (SDIPT)

Now in its 10th year!

The Speaking Dancer is a unique and outstanding professional development programme that supports the artist as performer and devisor/choreographer. SDIPT offers students coming from a professional and or performing arts degree background the opportunity to rethink their relationship to their practice, and develop new processes and skills. The programme consists of four modules taken over intensive weekend workshops with an exceptional faculty of tutors.  Find out more

 “The art of performance requires above all else a self awareness; to be a performer you have to know yourself, to understand your heritage, your cultural and personal patterns… Most importantly the ability to focus on the small and everyday is vital: particularly within a craft that is often extraordinary and extreme.”  Jacky Lansley

“Taking this programme has been absolutely pivotal to my development as a performing artist. I feel like I have found my niche! Dance Research Studio is a unique environment and offers something so different to anything I have experienced at university or in other performance courses.”  SDIPT student

ABOUT US:  Performance Installation

The ABOUT US project brings together an outstanding group of intergenerational artists from dance, visual art, experimental music and theatre including: director/choreographer Jacky Lansley, composer Sylvia Hallett, cinematographer Roswitha Chesher, lighting/technical designer Nao Nagai and dramaturg Ramsay Burt. The interdisciplinary performers participating include: Vincent Ebrahim, Esther Huss, Ursula Early, Ingrid Mackinnon, Fergus Early, Jreena Green and Tim Taylor.

The 2018 launch tour saw ABOUT US visit Cultural Exchanges Festival – De Montfort University/Leicester, Bluecoat – Liverpool, and Oxford House Theatre – London
Read more

“This is utopian performance in which performers bathe both one another and their audience in well-being and gently instil a sense of hope for our collective futures…

It’s a show that doesn’t emphasise what you can’t do but what you can. Rather than being over-stimulating or jarring it’s kind and inclusive. And a lot more” Josephine Leask, Dance Tabs


DRS is delighted to announce it has received an award from the PRS Foundation to support the creation of new music by the leading experimental composer Sylvia Hallett for the mixed-media performance ‘ABOUT US’ directed and choreographed by Jacky Lansley.

‘About Us’ is a performance built from the artists’ shared experiences about – home, loss, joy, caring, age, the environment and cultural identity. Repetition of these stories through soundscapes, film and live performance becomes celebratory and insightful, as large and small events are framed and made special.

CHOREOGRAPHIES: Tracing the Materials of an Ephemeral Art Form

By Jacky Lansley
Published by Intellect Books

See reviews by: Lynn MacRitchieNicholas MinnsRosie Lehan and The Dancer-Citizen Journal

Choreographies offers unique insight into the processes behind independent choreography and paints a vivid portrait of a rigorous practice that combines dance, performance art, visuals and a close attention to space and site
Buy online

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