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Lewis Wilkins and Reece Calver

Residency: Accessibility in Contact Improvisation 

Reece is a dance artist who has been living with long covid since 2020. In 2022 he received support from the ‘Developing Your Creative Practice’ Arts Council England fund to initiate his project titled ‘Long Term Creative’. The project was about exploring Reece’s own personal access needs as someone learning to live with a chronic health condition, how to reconnect with his creative practice, and how to re-enter the professional dance world. More broadly he set out to investigate how both professional and non-professional dance environments could further consider and implement strategies for increasing accessibility for those with hidden and non-hidden disabilities and health conditions. As part of Reece’s Long Term Creative project he collaborated with Lewis, an experienced pedagog and practitioner of contact improvisation, in order to explore how physical contact could be used as a tool for sensing the needs and interests of the other through touch, conserving energy, and for reframing the value of subjective experience over that of the product or visual outcome.

During their residency at fabric, Lewis and Reece will take the time to reconnect and expand upon the subject of accessibility in the practice and facilitation of contact improvisation. Their focus will involve examining the common barriers to attending contact based events for those with disabilities and health conditions (hidden or otherwise). They will research ideas for making contact based teaching content, instruction, and the environment more accessible. Additionally they will investigate how best to support approaches to the practice for all, that prioritise the access requirements of others. A further aim will centre around the possibility of reframing the idea that athletic dancing in contact improvisation is an able-bodied endeavour and that non-athletic dancing in contact improvisation is the inclusive part.


More About Lewis Wilkins and Reece Calver

Lewis has worked as a performer and collaborator with various choreographers and companies including Jean Abreu, Richard Alston Dance Company, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Riccardo Buscarini, Tom Dale, Stephanie Dufresne, The National Theatre, Bregenzer Festspiele Opera, Scottish Dance Theatre, Léa Tirabasso, and TrashDollys. He teaches for companies including Scottish Dance Theatre, Vocab Dance, and DV8 Physical Theatre and is a regular teacher and guest faculty member on degree programmes at London Studio Centre, Rambert School, University of Limerick, and London Contemporary Dance School. Lewis has also taught and choreographed at European dance festivals such as Pyrenees Dance, Agitart Figueres Es Mou, and B12 Berlin. 

Reece completed his training at London Contemporary Dance School before becoming an apprentice dancer for Scottish Dance Theatre. Performing works by Anton Lachky and touring internationally. He then went on to work with Gary Clarke on his award-winning piece Wasteland. Since February 2020 Reece has been living with Long-Covid which has put a stop to his regular dance work but initiated a hunger to find a way of continuing to create with a long term health condition.


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Image by Dominic Compton


Reece Calver And Lewis Wilkins Image By Dominic Carver