Of Riders & Running Horses
The stars are out. Dancing under the open sky makes a felt difference. It moves itself differently. And these age-old sediments no longer stick to my bones, melting in the blood. – Michael Klien
Night. We find a space in the margins of the city in which to gather: to start an ad hoc ceremony, to stamp our feet and shake our limbs, to dance in the face of an ending.
Of Riders & Running Horses is a stirring and visceral dance event by Still House created as a communal animation of urban spaces. Six female dancers and a live band conjure a new kind of old dance, an insistent rhythm, a joyful step into what it means to move together.
The music is a rider and we are running horses.
Directed by Dan Canham.
Associate direction Laura Dannequin.
Created by the company.
Dancers 2016: Anna Kaszuba, Robia Milliner Brown, Odilia Egyiawan, Tanya Richam-Odoi, Tilly Webber, Stephanie McMann
(2015: Anna Kaszuba, Isabelle Cressy, Odilia Egyiawan, Tanya Richam-Odoi, Tilly Webber)
Live music by Luke Harney (AKA Typesun) and Sam Halmarack.
Production Manager 2016: Ethan Hudson
2015 and BDE: Greg Mickelborough
Costume: Bianca Ward
Produced by MAYK
Of Riders and Running Horses is commissioned by Dance Umbrella, Pavilion Dance South West and Theatre Bristol. Supported using public funding through Arts Council England. Research and Development was supported by the Jerwood Choreographic Research Project, with funds from The Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Appetite, Birmingham Hippodrome, Dance Umbrella, DanceEast, DanceXchange, Greenwich Dance, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Independent Dance, Pavilion Dance South West, and The Place. Additional research and development support from Bristol Old Vic Ferment and Trinity Community Arts.
Of Riders & Running Horses is available for UK and international touring...
And why, in the end, would anyone want to? The capacity for collective joy is encoded into us almost as deeply as the capacity for the erotic love of one human for another. We can live without it, as most of us do but only at the risk of succumbing to the solitary nightmare of depression.
Barbara Enrenreich – Dancing in the Streets.
The germ of the idea for what has become Of Riders & Running Horses was sparked some years ago in the Molly dances of East Anglia, the straw bear festival of Whittlesea, the tar barrels of Ottery St Mary. At the time, the immediacy and the humanity of these folk events – inherent within them the possibility for transformation and collective joy – called out to me as a captivating alternative to the sterile conditions in which dance in particular is so often presented for an audience’s passive consumption.
I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to work with a group of extraordinary collaborators on this project, from the dancers to the producers – each of whom have led the way by virtue of their generosity, skill and fearlessness – all of them athletes of the heart. We have worked together over 5 weeks, interrogating what it means to dance, what it means to dance to music, to play seriously and to allow your humanity and your womanhood be seen. By them all I am humbled and full of respect and admiration. I must thank Laura Dannequin in particular – my partner and co-director on this project, who has at turns guided, challenged and inspired with her crucial interventions.
We have aimed to create an opportunity for people to come together, for strangers to look each other in the eye, for the vigour and power of a group of women dancing for themselves and for others to allow itself to be seen. And in spite of the state of the world, in spite of continual personal and global existential threats, in spite of it all, we’ve aimed to give rise to “the chance, which we need much more of on this crowded planet, to acknowledge the miracle of our simultaneous existence with some sort of celebration” (Enrenreich’s words).
Of Riders & Running Horses has toured to the following places: Bristol Mayfest, Dance Umbrella, LIFT in Tottenham London, Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre, River Stage - National Theatre, British Dance Edition 2016 Cardiff, Tanec Praha Czech Republic (Pilsen, Ostrava and Prague), Bournemouth PDSW, Cambridge Junction, Birmingham weekender c/o mac and Fierce, Strike a Light Festival Gloucester, Brighton Festival, Mayfest 2016, Salisbury International Arts Festival, Eastleigh Unwrapped, Winchester Hat Fair, Glasgow Merchant City Festival.
Background image: Paul Blakemore