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Gymnast, Bodies in Flight 17th performance project, responds to the 2012 Games by exploring the athlete’s drive and determination to acquire the skills necessary to achieve physical excellence.

Developing their commitment to creating high-quality, innovative work in which flesh utters and words move, they explore this dedication from both the insider’s point of view – the trainee gymnast, and from the spectator’s – the admiration they feel in watching the achievement of physical mastery.

Using the gymnast’s training session as both source and structure, moving from basic warm-up routines to the display of gymnastic exercises, Sara Giddens has developed a micro-choreography revealing the beauty of the gymnast’s supreme attention to bodily task: the hand as it twists on the rings, the suspended high point on the parallel bars, the thousands of minute adjustments needed just to hold that ‘still’. This is placed alongside new writing from Simon Jones, set to music, composed by Jen Bell and Sam Halmarack, and sung by The Night Bus Choir. In parallel, video-maker Tony Judge of Creative Forum has created new video consisting of interviews and sequences capturing the training regime and micro- choreography of the gymnasts’ movements.

Following the huge success of the work in progress events and the selection of four films developed from the work shown on the 22 BBC big screens nationwide throughout Sumer 2012, Gymnast is having outings across the East Midlands and beyond.

Gymnast is produced and co-commissioned by Dance4 and co-commissioned by Ferment. It is supported by Arts Council England through grants for the arts and a Creative Innovation Research and Development grant supported by the Legacy Trust UK and the European Development Fund.

Performed and presented at: Ferment/Bristol Old Vic, Surface Gallery (Nottingham), Arnolfini (Bristol), Atkins Gallery (Hinckley), Mayfest/City of Bristol Gymnastics, Rushcliffe Academy (Nottingham), BBC Big Screens (nationwide)