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The Dance Collector

Stories about girls who can dance, girls who aren't me...

The Dance Collector

Public engagement, sharing stories and dance moves, gathering material for a solo devised performance


Dunken Nights (London) 2012

Read about and contribute to The Dance Collector Blog

After working on the rural touring scheme in Crewe through PANDA, The Dance Collector is currently artist in residence at The Birley Artist Studios & Project Space in Preston. 



I set up a stall on Preston Market and attended a Tea Dance in Preston - I met people who could waltz and tap, old people & young people, people who showed me their moves and shared their stories, who demonstrated an Irish jig and swayed from their hair to their hips to African rhythms. I want to collect up all of their dance moves and choreograph them together into one community dance for Preston, reminiscent of the Northen Soul moves of Wigan and the ballrooms of Blackpool....



The Dance Collector explores what it means to make a dance piece when you are not a dancer.

I attempt to dance.
I repair the performance after an attempt to dance.
I reject every movement and gesture.
I interweave stories about girls who can dance, girls who aren’t me.
I ask someone in the audience to dance with me.
I ask everyone in the audience to do a dance together.


The Dance Collector is a performance designed for small scale rural touring, as part of an evening of celebrating the stories around dancing/attempting to dance and meeting people through dance.


My mother moved to Manchester from Nottingham in 1967. 

She met my father at the Polish Club in Whalley Range, where they were paired up to dance in the Polish Dancing class. 

My mother danced her heart out. 

My father said she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. 

They met and married within 10 months and have been married now for 45 years.  Every year, on their wedding anniversary, they dance the Polish mazurka. 



















The Dance Collector explores amateur dance classes – the everyday experience of dance.  Engaging with rural touring circuits and a variety of community dance classes, this project is an exploration of a range of cultures and heritages – from Salsa to Bhangra to Morris Dancing to Zumba, and how people come together through dance.



This project engages with local communities to gather stories and experiences related to dancing and/or falling in love.  For example, I am interested to hear about couples who met through dancing or can share the story of their first dance on their wedding day, or explain the feeling they have when they dance.  The importance of a specific dance to a given community is also an area of interest.


The 2-Hour Evening Out night of entertainment will include: 

  1. An installation of their pictures, stories & anecdotes

  2. A 1 hour performance documenting the journey to different dance classes.  The audience are the subject of this performance

  3. The dance group will teach the audience some moves for everyone to join in with.

  4. The dance group will perform some routines for the audience.










This project began as a performance for Drunken Nights called Dance Your Heart Out.

For more information about Drunken Chorus' Drunken Nights, click here

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