These commissions feature Midlands-based artists that specialise in different dance forms and that celebrates Birmingham as a global city. The finished films will premiere as part of BIDF 2022 and will be available for viewing for the whole period of the festival online and across our outdoor festival sites.
Flock by Rachel Angus
Flock looks at the migratory patterns of birds in relation to the migration of people from one place to another. It explores the idea that one of the most significant statements individuals and communities can make is to move, travel in numbers, and leave when conditions are unfavourable – in search of a place that is safe and accepting. Through movement, we explore the
initiation for this ‘migration’, flyways or travel paths, the arrival to their new place of residence and how this journey has changed them and their surroundings.
Rachal L Angus is a freelance dance artist based in the West Midlands. Though British by birth through an upbringing that afforded an abundance of travel at a young age from Pakistan to Colombia, she has been exposed to a variety of dance styles that have influenced her practice. Classically trained in Ballet and Jazz, Rachel seeks to see how traditional dance forms from every culture can be utilised to create movement-based art that has the visual capacity to set the mind and emotions at ease. Professionally, she has worked closely with a large variety of companies that range from Bollywood, to traditional Jazz, to Kathak-inspired Contemporary.
I feel stunned and humbled to receive the commission, I am eager to get creatively started on the project and grateful for all the opportunities to glean a wealth of knowledge from the mentorship.
Symphony of Skills by Karen Wood
This dance film captures the skills of one family who are born and raised in Birmingham. The film combines tap dancing and drumming with typing on an old typewriter, each skill providing its own sound, adding to the sound score. The film celebrates
three heritage sites, linked to my family, in the inner suburbs of Birmingham and where communities of people settled, worked, grew up and continue to. Rooted in Anglo-Irish heritage, the entanglement of dance and music are ever-present.
Karen is a Birmingham-born dancer, maker, researcher, educator and producer. She has worked as a freelance dance artist and teacher in Manchester, London and now Birmingham. Her practice
includes projects that have previously been supported by Arts Council England and other funders, and involves collaborating with film, visual arts and sound. This work has been shown at venues such as Contact theatre in Manchester, FACT in Liverpool, Five Years gallery in London, Light Moves Festival of Screendance in Ireland and Vivid Projects in Birmingham.
She works as Associate Director for Birmingham Dance Network and as Assistant Professor at the Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University. She studied for an MSc at Trinity Laban and has a PhD from the University of Manchester. She is a steering group member for the Tap Dance Research Network UK and situates tap dance and contemporary dance as core to her practice.
I am excited and very grateful to have received this commission from DX to explore this personal journey of heritage and home in Birmingham. I can’t wait to be mentored by Motion Dance Collective who bring brilliant expertise to the making process and I’m sure this will enrich my practice. Thanks so much!
Together by Susannah Cox
The project intends to capture some of the beauty of Birmingham and the talent and diversity of its residents, by showing different groups enjoying dance throughout the city’s parks. It will also pay tribute to those who continued to facilitate opportunities for dance and connection during the pandemic. Dancers and teachers have adapted with tenacity to changing restrictions: while some classes went online, it was not unusual to see others rehearsing outdoors. This work hopes to show some of the beautiful unity highlighted during the pandemic and people’s ingenuity and adaptability during challenging times
Susie began dancing at a young age and trained at Orwell Dance, achieving Advanced 1 Ballet and Modern Dance. She has performed and competed on many occasions, including at the All England National Finals. She taught Zumba classes prior to studying at Durham University, where she performed and choreographed with the musical theatre group DULOG, and won competitions with the student dance team. She has since taught dance for children at Razzamataz Theatre School in Birmingham as well as for university students and is looking forward to continuing her choreographic journey with this Screendance opportunity. Susie is a social worker and currently works in a women’s prison.
I’m really grateful to have been given this opportunity and excited to start work on the project with mentoring from screen dance professionals.