12 Moves has been the biggest dance project to have ever taken place in Worcershire, touching the lives of thousands of people. From community classes to spectacular outdoor events, 12 Moves got Worcestershire dancing.
In May 2009 we were appointed as Artistic Directors of 12 Moves to bring a fresh digital perspective to this ambitious dance project. Since then we instigated guerilla projections, flash mobs, interactive installations, shop window performances and a large scale outdoor event. Over 6400 people have witnessed 12 Moves events, and nearly 4000 people have participated in dance activities.
Our aim was to develop a new approach to a large scale participatory project. We brought together an exciting creative team including composer Mira Calix (Warp Records), choreographer Jennifer Irons (ironINC Dance), code master Evan Raskob, dramaturg Stephen Wilson and costume designer Julia Kalache.
We wanted to create a narrative to inspire a large number of participants from different ages and backgrounds as well as our artistic team. We constructed a fairytale that tied the counties past and present, embedding a recognisable and accessible narrative form into the local culture and environment.
We visited Worcester in search of inspiration where we met Gaston Phillips, the keeper of the Worcester Museum and gallery's collection. After delving in the basement of the museum and listening to Garston's narrations as he guided us to boxes of pinned insects and stuffed animals, we came away with the seeds of our narrative and aesthetic.
We kicked off with a guerilla projection campaign coinciding with winter events around the county. This gave us the opportunity to raise the profile of the project and encourage participation in community dance groups, one of the key aims of the project.
The project built over the 2 years gathering momentum with local dance groups from care homes to toddlers joining the project and working on dances inspired by the story dramatised by Stephen.
Demonstration was the second of the key aims and Jennifer got to work choreographing 100 performers to a music composed by Mira Calix. The performers were introduced to unfamiliar music and challenging choreography, but took it on board and pop-up dances appeared all over the county.
Concurrent to the flash mob dances we worked with Evan to create interactive museum cabinets staring the Creaturae Aquae. The creatures are trapped in the cabinet, by using a special card that controls a pair of scissors you can cut the creatures bonds and be rewarded to a special dance. The idea was to create a shop window multilayer game that encouraged movement and collaboration while further publicising the project and introducing the story of the Collector. You can learn more about the cabinets and technology behind them here
The dance groups continued to develop with the dance squad over the summer growing in numbers and the confidence to try out new forms of dance. The winter of 2011 saw shop window dance performances with projections decorating the façades.
We then started filming the dancers for the finale, over 100 hundred professional and amateur dancers, aged form 5 to 70 years old where dressed by Julia Kalache and made-up by students from Worcester University.
Jennifer devised a dance routine incorporating 12 dance Moves 2 for each of the 6 Creatures. The routine became an online tutorial, to encourage people to join in on the day.
The third of the key aims was Celebration. On the 24th March 2012 over 4000 people came out for a day of dance and art in Worcester.
Dance groups popped up around the city in the morning, providing two hours of free performances, including Chinese lion dances, Latin movement and contemporary dances.
During the afternoon and in a very special preview, The Hive opened its doors to the public for the first time. School children and performers entertained the crowds with a promenade performance, art installations and have-a-go activities, all based on the story of the 12 Moves.
Over at Croft Road, crowds turned out for the Breathe the Beat Roadshow, a free afternoon performance with hip hop dancers and dances from Dancefest’s groups.
Then as night fell, over 1000 people came to see the Finale of 12 Moves, a 40 minutes son et lumier, 3 massive site specific projections and live dance unfolding the narrative. During the event hundreds of performers mirrored the dance routines of the projections and joined the 12 Moves routine learned from the online tutorial.
12 Moves - the story of Robert Fletcher is available for screening for single triptych screening, contact us if you would like to host this 35 minute audio visual film.
SDNA gratefully acknowledges the support of Dancefest and the funders.
12 Moves was part of the Dancing for the Games programme, part of the London 2012 Cultural
Olympiad. It is funded by Legacy Trust UK, Arts Council England West Midlands and Advantage West Midlands.
12 Moves was also supported by Bromsgrove District Council, Malvern Hills District Council, Redditch Borough Council, Worcester City Council, Worcestershire County Council, Wychavon District Council, Wyre Forest District Council and VisitWorcester.