Tag Archive for skating

Vesper – a performance/scenography as research project

@ Edinburgh Fringe Festival. C South. Venue 58. August 2016.

Re-thinking what it is to dance on ice; re-thinking what it is to scenograph.

Sketchbook snapshot:

Scan 6

Inspired by

Dialogues with Scott Graham, his workshop and the performances by Frantic Assembly.

Tipping Point. Ockhams Razor.

Drawings of and practice with Parkour Generations.

The performances of and dialogues with Le Patin Libre.

Pa De Deux. By Daniel Wurtzel.

Research section:


Performing scenography/scenographic performance. Re-thinking what it is to dance on ice; re-thinking what it is to scenograph (when to scenograph is also to choreograph).

Link to Vesper on Academia.com

Research and performance background:

Vesper developed from my performance and research case study ‘Dance with me’ (performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015, TaPRA conference 2014 and QMIP conference 2015).


How can I choreograph through and with scenography?

1. By viewing each theatre material as a dancer, my design role as a choreographer and the scenography as a dance.

2. By developing a type of scenographic contact improvisation / pas de deux (click link for academic reference) through which I can deliberately destabilise, explore, create and enhance the synthesis between different theatre materials.

3. By creating a duet and engaging in a duel with other scenographic elements/performance environments.

“For the Traceur, and those that seek a similar synthesis and creative partnership with their environment, the moving body must be de-stablised. This de-stablisation is facilitated by a physical and repetitive exploration, defined by a series of known contact points with unknown spaces and objects.” Hannah Gravestock. 

(When) did my skates become my costume/a scenographic element?

Costume designers tend to see costume as costume as soon as it becomes part of a performance and as soon as it is used in front of an audience. Items of clothing transform in these liminal spaces becoming something different under different conditions and under different pressures. Everyday clothing/training outfits and equipment worn for performances on ice are therefore as much items of costume as a formal dance dress or a Shakespearean gown. They are also equally valid as elements that play a part in  transformation of other theatre elements and materials including the performing body itself.

“…She always wears tights and leg-warmers (on and off ice).  I should ask her if it is really for warmth… I don’t think so.  It mostly helps to hide the bulkiness of that big thing at the end of a female leg.  The skate is less ‘remarked’ with the leg-warmer.” Alexandre Hamel. Le Patin Libre.

Additional academic reference: Drawing on Ice: Learning to create performance with and through the blade and boot of a skate.

‘Dance with me’ – Scenography as research

Clip from the exhibition video 2014. View on YouTube.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 15.42.29 - Version 7This performance was created in collaboration with Sangita Champaneri who co-designed and constructed the costume. It was performed at TaPRA, QMIP and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

In this performance (three sequences of existing skating training exercises) I use and examine the ice skate as a semi-autonomous item of costume that, through an evolving partnership with the skater, contributes to the artistry of a dance.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 09.22.31 Created on a 2m x 2m surface of synthetic ice, this performance brings the skater and the skates together in an unfamiliar environment. Working through repetitive training exercises, extending and expanding each one in turn, this performance seeks to locate and elucidate the moments in which the movement of the skate leads to a change in the pattern of the performance. Video footage of the development of this performance both documents the process and provides additional data to assess the transition between learning to dance through a costume to dancing with a costume.

Research output:

2015-2016. Dance with Me. Research paper.

2015. Performance at The Qualitative Methods in Psychology Conference. 

2015. Performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

2014. Exhibition of work at the Gallery Space at Royal Holloway, University of London ( TaPRA 2014). Photo (left) by and with thanks to Nicola Hewitt.

2014. Performance at the Theatre and Performance Research Association Conference.

2013. Published journal paper; Performance Research Journal. On Ice. Drawing as Research; Learning to create performance with and through the blade and boot of a skate.

'There are times when the simple dignity of movement can fulfill the function of a volume of words.' - Doris Humphrey.