Feature: From the Floor

Friday 7 April 2006

From the floor
Architect *Malcolm Fraser thought it needed to be established that there were different ways of collaborating – that the creation of a building for dance is altogether different from making a work for performance. Interestingly, some of the new buildings had continued to use the ‘black box’ model: for instance Dance City, Newcastle and the new Laban Centre has a ‘conventional’ performance space.

**Carol Brown* commented that ‘the prescriptive space’ of conventional theatre spaces is an economic issue which perhaps limits the creation of new work, when promoters/venues have to make the choice of having 300 seats, or no seats and 150 standing places.
Frederic Flamand also said that he felt one of his works was quite different when the audience was allowed to explore it, rather than remain statically seated.

Architect *Mark Foley, author of an Arts Council publication dance Spaces briefly summarised the results of his survey into the spatial needs of dancers. (See Dance UK news, Winter 2002)

An architect was intrigued about the possible use of drawing in choreography. *John Lyall mentioned that Rosemary Butcher explored drawing in their collaboration and Frederic Flamand had also became interested by Zaha Hadid’s drawings. Carol Brown compared dance to calligraphy. During her time studying fine art Siobhan Davies worked in charcoal, but generally felt that she needed to work in three dimensions rather than two. Sarah Wigglesworth was finding that working with models rather than drawing was more communicative for dance makers.

A representative from the *Arts Council of England pointed out that perhaps the range of theatre spaces we have in this country also deserved celebrating.

A final fascinating question from the floor asked how architects might learn from and use choreographers in the development of new spaces. In some ways – and not surprisingly – this symposium was very much dance based, looking to how architectural issues affect dance making. The question hung intriguingly in the air and no answers were immediately forthcoming. John Lyall stressed that architecture students in particular were always open to collaborative cross disciplinary projects and invited choreographers and dancers to approach the Royal Institute of British Architects for contacts.

As Siobban Davies is working so closely with Sarah Wigglesworth, perhaps the new building for her company will show how a choreographer can creatively influence the architectural process when it opens in 2004.
Watch this space.

Report by Carmel Smith
If you were there and would like to add any other points to this article please email: editor@londondance.com:

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