Dancing Bodies in Coventry
Artist-researcher, Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University
Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University
Assistant Professor in Dance and Cultural Engagement C-DaRE
How does the body of the city co-exist with the dancing body?
Dancing Bodies in Coventry (DBiC) is a multimedia project telling the story of dance the city. Led by Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) the project is based around the production of films, podcasts and more, recording and celebrating the amazing variety of performance taking place in Coventry.
They also provide dance artists, schools, festival organisers and local groups with a platform to share their stories, with the aim of this evolving into a kind of dance archive for the city.
Coventry Creates was the first time that the DBiC team had been able to include hip-hop dance within the project: it seemed important to be able to highlight the history, present ecology and future of this dance form in the city of Coventry.
The collaboration has been significant for broadening the project’s remit and reach into the hip-hop dance community.
The project explores Mates’ relationship to Coventry: what the city means to him as an artist and also as a citizen. We ask Mates to offer his perspective on his dancing history, present and future in the city, as well as to explore his own dancing body in relation to various sites and locations across the city, and how the city’s architectural and spatial body co-exists with his own dancing body.
To find out more and to see all outputs from the project, go to dancingbodiesincoventry.com.
The opportunity to work with academic researchers came during a period where I found myself stuck in my style of dance, and wanted to progress into a new field.
I didn’t know what to expect from the call out, but I knew I wanted to make my art form widely known, whatever that would take. Breakdancing is not an academic-taught dance, but it is a style that can adapt and can bring dynamicity.
This was my opportunity to help make breakdancing a more recognised art form, to give it the chance to shine together with other styles.
After engaging with the researchers I felt really motivated to tell my story and my experiences. It blended in very well with my art form and gave me the freedom to experiment ideas and build on my storytelling.
This opportunity opened my mind and confirmed that breakdancing can be experienced in so many ways. This type of project is something that I look forward to doing more – a balance between my academic and professional experiences.
Take a look at the full project scrapbook here and listen to the podcast below.