York Dance Space and iMOVE: The individual, the collective and public spaces

York Dance Space iMOVE: ‘Elsewhere a new feeling emerges as there is a sudden gathering, a huddling, a warmth, an intimacy and a heartbeat’.

Helen Graham

York Dance Space worked with young people under the age of 25 to create iMOVE performed on 29th September 2019. iMOVE is one of three art works commissioned by York Mediale in collaboration with the Council. The art commissions are a response, in part, to how many people throughout the My Castle Gateway process have wanted to see performance and arts in the future of the Castle and Eye of York area.

Through the Mediale commissioned projects we can definitely learn about the practicalities of how the space might be best used and what infrastructure might be needed to be built into the new public space to enable performances. However, there is another possibility here too and that is to explore what the commissions offer as art in terms of extending and deepening our engagement with the area and its future

Here I offer a personal interpretation of iMOVE…you might be able to tell I am someone who is thinking a lot at the moment about public spaces.

They entered the space. They move as one but also not as one. They occupy the space, but differently. Some at the boundary and others not, some are in the middle or at the edge of the middle. Cross-cutting trajectories emerge. Groups move in different directions, seemingly disconnected yet held in tension through a current of energy. Pairs entangle and then disentangle, both attracted and repelled. Ambiguous couplings use each others’ energy for negotiated purpose and also against the other. The edge of the space is lined and the current remerges passing between and across, travelling also through us (the audience who are becoming less an ‘audience’). Small groups, of twos and threes, sometimes more, gather together, strong eye contact is made, arms interlock for a moment and then pull apart. A circle is created, the audience (now no longer quite an audience at all) is within and caught up, gazes glance off each other, the former-audience part and not quite part, included but never fully. Elsewhere a new feeling emerges as there is a sudden gathering, a huddling, a warmth, an intimacy and a heartbeat. A line is created with faces that can now all be seen at once, a forward movement and momentum is created, the cohering of a shared direction. Words of freedom and self are given, individuals emerge as individuals, lifted up, pointing high, distinct but collectively supported. Not just one, but many individuals, many collectives, move at speed and form in different parts of the space. Then, finally, there is an unwinding of this past the rest of us as we become an audience once more. A final line, a final trajectory as the dancers move through and out of the space and beyond.

The art comissions have been funded through Leeds City Region Business Rates Pool, which allows local authorities to retain growth in business rates for local investment.

1 thought on “York Dance Space and iMOVE: The individual, the collective and public spaces”

  1. My daughter took part in the dance, it was amazing even the rain did not stop them. A big thanks to Hannah & Drew for putting everything together. Lets hope the Council take note & use the space for future projects & not stick another hotel, bar, restaurant or student accommodation on it. Well done to all involved.


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