Posted Tuesday 17 August 2021
Dance students from Kingston School of Art have taken part in their first live performance in 18 months as part of Ben Judd's fellowship project at Kingston University's Stanley Picker Gallery.
The students collaborated with artist and Stanley Picker fellow, Judd, to perform The Origin, which examines themes of belonging and identity. Their performance explored a fictional lost community which inhabited an island on the Hogsmill River where the gallery stands and explored the group's identity through movement and sound.
Six dance students took part in the socially distanced performance wearing costumes made by Kingston School of Art fashion students. They moved to the voices of eight professional singers and an atmospheric score written by music students.
Judd, a London-based artist, was appointed Stanley Picker Fellow in Art and Design in 2019. His fellowship project has taken the form of exhibitions, installations, and moving images, as well as performances, to explore the meaning of community, belonging and togetherness.
With support from Arts Council funding, the project also gave students an opportunity to work with professional dancers including Laurie Booth, an internationally recognised choreographer and contemporary dancer who has been in the performing arts industry for three decades.
The dance was co-choreographed by Dr Beatrice Jarvis, Lecturer in Dance at Kingston School of Art, and Athens-based choreographer Dionysios Tsaftaridis. Jarvis described the project as an example of collaboration which the dance department wanted to encourage further for the benefit of its students and the community.
"Working in performing arts involves collaboration with different disciplines. This project has given our students invaluable experience and improved their employability by working with professionals as well as fellow students and by performing live which has been so difficult during the pandemic," Dr Jarvis said.
"The audience included members of the local community, as well as Kingston University students and staff, and there was a real sense of joy coming together and being able to be part of something after such a challenging year."
The live show was part of a series of workshops, events, and performances over the summer at the gallery in connection with Mr Judd's fellowship project. It followed on from collaboration between Kingston School of Art and Mr Judd last summer when dance students led online workshop sessions for members of The Grange Centre in Bookham, Surrey, which provides support to people with learning disabilities.
The dance department will continue to work with The Grange on a project which links to new course modules on the Dance BA (Hons) course to prepare students going into the dance industry, providing them with skills such as teaching dance in the community.
University staff and students on the dance course are also planning to put together another live performance on the boat at the Stanley Picker Gallery in September.
"I hope the students have enjoyed their involvement so far. It has been very beneficial for them to work in the community, and it has been very inspiring to work with different departments and performing arts professionals on live public events. We definitely hope to do more of them," Dr Jarvis said.