Featured Choreographer: December 2019

14 Dec 2019

Featured Choreographer of the month: Beatrice Allegranti

Beatrice Allegranti is a choreographer, dance movement psychotherapist (UKCP reg.), feminist researcher and educator. We asked her to tell us a little bit about herself and her practice:

Choreography as Material for Life
For over two decades, I have ‘grown up’ with choreography, dance movement psychotherapy and film making as entwined and mutually informing professional roles. This means that I’ve danced, choreographed and made films with many different people and in diverse spaces and places around the world (theatres, film sets, art galleries, NHS psychiatric hospitals). Although I am clear that the choreographic process is not a psychotherapeutic session (but there are parallels), I draw from my psychotherapeutic skills to support ethical engagements around consent, care and confidentiality in the making process. The motivational force in my career is a deep curiosity about our entanglements, how ‘we’ are not bounded self-contained fully formed humans but porous processes enfolding within a complex network of language, affect, movement and aesthetic relating, ecologies, everyday life environments, technology, embodied practices and power structures.

Becoming Bodies / Dancers: Takeshi Matsumoto & Jason Keenan-Smith / Photos: Nick Du Plessis

Feminist philosophy and activism is core to my work since it supports me to continually ask the question: how does choreography change people and situations? Because it does. Or it can. Our current cultural epoch is characterised by burgeoning public health and social in/equality concerns. The challenges that we all face right now are deeply personal and political. We need to cultivate a capacity for response in different kinds of ways (moving away from the idea that there are fixed ways of responding to or making artistic work). This involves re-asserting not only the value of dance but the ethical imperative of our art form as a core cultural practice in a world dominated by neoliberal capitalist values. The important thing is for the work to reach out with partnerships and collaborations in ways that you might not initially imagine relevant or useful (e.g. in health, science, diverse cultural communities), this can not only re-imagine our art form in ways that we might not think possible – but also can begin the rigorous process of embedding socially response-able dance practice into the fabric of everyday life.

Moving Kinship
Currently, I’m working on Moving Kinship, an Arts Council England supported dance project formed around families where one person is living with the rare form of young onset dementia. Moving Kinship is a continuing collaboration with these families, five professional dancers, an actor, composer, musician and fifteen project partners and diverse audiences. The project involves creating bespoke performances for each of the families affording us all (families and artists) to re-imagine our social perceptions (of identity, language, memory and kinship).

Informed directly from bespoke participatory material is the dance theatre production I’ve Lost You Only to Discover That I Have Gone Missing. Dementia ‘stories’ chime with ubiquitous and existential experiences of loss, care, consent, age, gender, sexuality, health and ‘othering’. Articulating this spectrum (in movement and words) affords dancers and audiences an opportunity to inhabit the affective tone of the material and simultaneously allow it to speak to personal and wider social issues. The piece toured 10 venues as a work-in-progress and has now been developed into a full production that premiered in Bergen International Festival (October 2019).

Beatrice is currently recruiting dance artists for the Moving Kinship project, if you would like to be involved please contact her. Find links below.