Part of the launch programme for South East Dance’s new home for dance, The Dance Space, 20:20 Vision aims to address long-standing gender imbalances in dance
In the week when we celebrate International Women’s Day, the Brighton-based dance organisation has announced it is to dedicate its inaugural programme exclusively to women and non-binary dance artists.
20:20 Vision will feature 20 unique performances from 20 choreographers and producers, all of whom identify as women or non-binary artists. In the past 19 years, there has been just one female commission for the main stage at the Royal Ballet. Meanwhile, only five of the 16 associates at Sadler’s Wells are women. South East Dance aims to challenge the long-standing imbalance in the dance sector towards white cis-male choreographers in the sector.
“With the opening of The Dance Space, and the launch of 20:20 Vision, comes increased focus on South East Dance’s mission to push the boundaries of dance, challenge the status quo and perceptions of what dance is, who makes it, what it can achieve and who it’s for,” said Cath James, Artistic Director South East Dance. “The programme gives women and non-binary choreographers a much-needed platform.
“Unfortunately, gender discrimination continues to run deep in the arts world. Women and non-binary choreographers are simply not given the same opportunity and recognition as male-identifying artists. With 20:20 Vision, we will challenge the status quo to showcase a powerful body of work from unique and talented women and non-binary artists.”
Local artists will be represented by Artistic Director of aerial dance theatre company Gravity & Levity, Lindsey Butcher (above); and award-winning live artist and Emeritus Professor in Visual Performance at the University of Brighton, Liz Aggiss (right). Known for her Punk aesthetic and music hall performance style, Aggiss will take to the stage with a special performance – The President’s Wife is Still Dancing featuring an extract from her new solo work Crone Alone.
Gravity & Levity will perform an aerial piece, Why, tethered to the exterior of The Dance Space in a taste of what’s to come from the building’s ongoing public programme. Choreographed by Fin Walker in 2004 for dancers Lee Clayden and Lindsey Butcher, Why will be re-created, re-scored by composer Ben Park and re-imagined for the new South East Dance building and performed by the original creative cast as a marking of a collective 60 years of crafting and creative practice.
“Gravity & Levity are thrilled to be presenting Why as part of 20:20 Vision,” said Lindsey Butcher, Artistic Director Gravity & Levity. “We will be applying a decade and a half of experience and knowledge to this recreation and alongside that, more mature bodies. We are excited to be sharing the resulting piece, not only as a celebration of female creatives and an active reflection on creative practice, but also as a visible presence of an older generation of artists.”
Spanish-born choreographer and lecturer, Eva Recacha will also feature, in addition to Janine Harrington, a dance artist whose work explores movement and technology, and who is currently receiving professional development support from South East Dance.
In 2020, The Dance Space will be helping to breathe new life into a neglected part of Brighton & Hove. It’ll offer a wide range of classes, community-led projects and performances from three brand new state-of-the-art studios and performance space. There will also be an entire floor of rentable shared workspace for creative industry professionals, as well as a permanent home for South East Dance.
Main image by Mark Morreau
Other image by Joe Murray