The artists attempting to redefine how we watch and make dance

4 Jan 2021

Image Grace Nicol and Sinead O’Dwyer Slip Mould Slippery image by Mario Bertieri of Becky Namgauds

Fashion designer Sinead O’Dwyer & choreographer Grace Nicol are collaborating with dance artists Alethia Antonia, Dorna Ashory, Iro Costello, Florence Pearl and Natifah White to tackle themes of bodily autonomy in the context of dance, fashion & public spaces (such as galleries and museums). The project, Slip Mould Slippery, explores practices for working together ‘in the studio’ and what it now is, to make performance for public venues. Through R&D studio time, the artists are questioning the autonomy of the performer, the power dynamics of inviting people to be seen and where power and responsibility lie within these exchanges.

The project will consider how the contexts of dance, fashion and public spaces can frame performance within public venues (such as galleries and museums) to support and hold space for this kind of challenging and risk-taking work. This research will include an online zoom session, hosted by Grace Nicol and Dance4, with gallery programmers across the UK to gain insight into what is needed when programming/making dance in this context. This research will be disseminated into a free, interactive Public Dance pack. The pack will seek to aid artists and venues by suggesting solutions and identifying considerations around programming and making dance for such venues. The interactive digital pack will be freely available to stakeholders through the Dance4 website in March 2021 as part of their Talking Thinking Dancing seminar series.

Alongside the creation of the pack and a performance piece, which is set to tour around galleries in the UK in 2021/22, the project is being supported by a new pastoral care offer created by dance artist Temitope Ajose- Cutting and Grace Nicol. The pastoral care offer is an attempt to redefine the way in which choreographers work with freelance dance artists. This scheme supports the well-being and needs of dancers both inside and outside of the work. This is particularly relevant given the additional need for care that the pandemic has brought about for freelance dance artists.

This project has been made possible with support from Arts Council National Lottery Grants, Dance Research Studio, Centre 151, Dance4 and Ugly Duck. For more information and to sign up to receive the free Public Dance pack go to: