Suspend Motion – An immersive performance experience

Young lady in a dance performance

New Collaboration:
Sense Arts is pleased to announce a new ground breaking dance performance partnership with screen dance director Sima Gonsai and professional dancers from interACTION to create a trilogy of screen dance films performed by dancers with complex disabilities.

The Project:

Suspended Motion is a project funded by Dance Hub and The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and was an excellent opportunity to expand our audiences reach and share the triumphs of artists who are so often unseen by society. The dance piece focuses on two experienced deafblind dancers: Caroline Sapsed and Joe Coffin, and explores their relationship between body, space and connection with leading non-disabled dancers from interACTION.

The project was a pilot for all involved – it has been a tool to explore how we involve all dancers with complex disabilities in a high quality creative process, how we raise the profile of their work and how we enable audiences with complex disabilities to engage with the work.  

Caroline Sapsed, and Joe Coffin have been developing their dance practice with Sense for six years. They performed together in the first iteration of Suspended Motion at Sensibility Arts Festival in 2018. The concept for the screen dance film evolved from this immersive performance experience.

Suspended Motion is about exploring representation of dancers with complex disabilities and piloting new forms of access as an integral part of the production process. We collaborated to develop audio description, subtitling and vibrations (using SubPac technology) to enable the film and dance to be experienced through non-traditional communication approaches.

The professional opportunities open to dancers with complex disabilities remain extremely limited. Suspended Motion addresses this inequality by opening new audiences’ minds to the ability and potential of dancers with complex disabilities.

Through the film and the process, the dancers articulate who they are and their world view. It has given them time and space to experiment with new skills and to gain confidence in dance performance and choreography. A key aim is that the project  will open doors to continue dancing professionally and provide further access to outstanding training and performance opportunities

Man and woman in a dance performance

Accessibility:

Piloting new forms of access is an integral part of the production process and we explored verbal and nonverbal audio description – using vibrations (Subpac technology) to experience the film and dance through non-traditional communication approaches.   We collaborated with local artists from other disciplines to create each accessible format and break new ground in considerations of accessibility for audiences with complex disabilities

The original music score was created by artist Justin Wiggan and featured vocalisations by Sarah N’Diritu, a vocalist that is supported by Sense.

Film 1 – featuring Sarah’s original vocals
Film 2 – featuring Sarah’s vocals and audio description
Film 3 – featuring a score created by Sam Fox and Ricardo Rocha for Subpac Technology. This unique and innovative composition enables audience members to experience the dramatic arc of the film through the vibrations of the SubPac .

Ladies watching a dance performance using SubPac to feel vibrations

What next?

Suspended Motion had its initial screening at Touchbase Pears October 2019 and has been installed in a public area of the centre since then. The team has created a festival submissions strategy and hope to install the work across UK and international festivals and galleries throughout 2020. We want as many people as possible to engage with the work – not only share the creativity and talent of people with complex disabilities but also to bring new audiences to organisations by piloting innovative forms of access. We estimate there will be a reach of 5,000 interactions online, 2,000 views at festivals and for the film to help showcase and shape a national inclusive dance programme at Sense.

If you’re interested in screening the films at a festival, please get in touch with National Arts Manager – Stephanie.tyrrel@sense.org.uk

To find out more about Sense Arts visit our Arts Sports and Wellbeing pages on our Sense website.

Suspended Motion had its initial screening at Touchbase Pears October 2019 and has been installed in a public area of the centre since then. The team has created a festival submissions strategy and hope to install the work across UK and international festivals and galleries throughout 2020.  We want as many people as possible to engage with the work –  not only share the creativity

Stephanie Tyrrell

Author: Stephanie Tyrrell

Arts and Wellbeing Projects and Development Manager at Sense

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