Ely, United Kindom
Led by Belgian born Laura Vanhulle and UK born Oliver Robert Russell, Vanhulle Dance Theatre was established in 2014. VDT’S first full-length production, ‘Angles in Life’, was created in collaboration with Mickael Marso Riviere and Nicolas Vladyslav, touring nationally in 2015 and then reformed into a dance film, with Director of Photography Mat Beckett (River-Rea-Films), showing internationally at film festivals such as Pool 15, Berlin, Dance Film Festival UK, London, and selected for Dance-on-Film-Screening at 2018 Woman in Dance Leadership Conference in New York City.
In 2016 Vanhulle Dance Theatre went to Hong Kong to present ‘Infinite womanhood’ and was selected as an artist in residency. Vanhulle Dance theatre has strong teaching reputation- nationally and internationally, working regularly with organisations such as The Place, Trip Space (London), Rambert. Vanhulle Dance Theatre has led choreographic, health and wellbeing, and martial arts into dance workshops with CAT programmes and BA(Hons) courses including NSCD-CAT, CAT-Lowry(Northwest), CAT-Swindon, DanceEast-CAT, DanceCity-CAT. Vanhulle Dance Theatre has taught Internationally in Portugal-Porto, Greece and Belgium.
In October 2016 and 2019, VDT was awarded the Choreographer strand of ChoreoMatch, an extension of BDN’s ‘Introducing…”Infinite Womanhood – Reworked’ and ‘Yggdrasil’ and was later awarded a ‘Residency Choreography Award’ by DanceXchange. In 2018 VDT joined the ‘Young Composers project’ as the role of Facilitator. In the Summer 2018, VDT choreographed an outdoor work for unusual spaces “Echo”, which performed at Sommerwerft Festival, Festival, before touring to The Lighthouse, Poole and Birmingham Weekender (Bullring). VDT was selected for the Artist Residency 20 days 20 Years in Deda, before becoming the artist in residence at Pavillion Dance Southwest and Deda. In 2019 was commissioned to create a new work on BOA, before creating their next Nationally touring work “Yin”.
During lockdown 2021, the company was commissioned by Motus (Milton Keynes) to create ‘Moo Shim'(Korean for ‘Empty Mind’), performed at MK Gallery and a further 6 outdoor performances at Mk Shopping-Centre before touring to Birmingham and Cambridgeshire. The company was later commissioned by DanceCity(Newcastle) to recreate ‘Moo Shim’ on the BA(hons) 3rd Year students in January 2022.
Vanhulle Dance Theatre has received commissions from The Lighthouse Poole ‘Echo’ 2018, Muda (Belgium) ‘Schoen’ 2021, DanceCity(Newcastle) ‘Moo Shim’, Swindon Dance ‘The Last March of the Ents’ 2022′ and NSCD to create a new work in Summer 2022. The company has been asked to return to both Swindon Dance and Dance City in 2023, to create two new works.
Following the success of the ACE funded research and developments, and then creation, VDT commissioned Mickael Marso Rivere to choreograph a new outdoor work, ‘Dovetail’, performed by the Co-directors Laura Vanhulle and Oliver Russell. The work premiered at Dance City, before touring to Middlesborough, Dancin’ Oxford, Out There Festival and Deda.
‘Namu’- (Korean for ‘tree’)
Drawing upon Laura and Oliver’s practice, ‘Namu’ delves into the interflow of contemporary dance, influenced by Laura’s background in African, Kathak, Gymnastics, Yoga, Mind Body Practices, and Oliver’s 22 years of martial arts experience; his time training Kung Fu and Qi Gong in China under the instruction of 34th Generation Shaolin Warriors, the Korean martial art, Tang Soo Do, Laura and Olivers continued training in Tang Soo Do & Capoeira and the use of breath, creating a unique and fierce physicality.
An ever-growing body of research is telling us that time spent around nature and trees can reduce depression and anxiety, by decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increasing people’s sense of wellbeing. Our practice invites nature into the studio and invites us into nature.
‘The one who plants the tree is not the one who will enjoy it’s shade’ – Chinese Proverb
Our company mission is to bring dance to everyone, our education work walks beside our professional performance work. In an ever-changing world, where the cost of living is increasing at a scarily fast rate, not everyone can afford to go to the theatre and that’s why we have made it our mission to bring theatre to the people. We believe that dance is a universal language, it has no restrictions, it can be used to build confidence, motor skills, expression, spectacle, to convey messages and stories, and so much more.
Following the feedback that we have received when sharing our ever-developing movement practice, we are interested in how we can use movement as our vessel to convey mindfulness, evoke compassion and raise awareness of the need to address eco sustainability.
As artists, we believe that if we are going to create work that isn’t elitist and is accessible to the public, we must continue to interact with our audience, by sharing regularly and reflecting on feedback from people that watch it, and people that dance it.
Skopje, North Macedonia
Anna Papathanasiou is a Greek-Canadian interdisciplinary artist. With roots in the fine arts and music she has created a unique language through video, performance, installation and sculpture works. She presented her live piece “EAT” in New York, as a resident artist at the Watermill Center under the direction of Bob Wilson, performed the piece “Empathetic Body” at the Architectural Biennale of Venezia, the #SKG Bridges Festival and the Kaunas Biennal, completed a residency in La Serre Arts Vivants at Ecole Nationale De Theatre in Montreal, Canada.
Co- created and performed the site-specific performance “Outland” presented at Rooms, held by Kappatos gallery. Performed at the “Some Sort of Now” project, in France, Spain and Andorra showcasing the brutalist architecture of Ricardo Bofill. Her video-performance “Christmas Tree” was exhibited at the Art Props, Kunst- Interventionen in Mannheim, Germany. She has presented her works in the Digital Biennale, Electric Nights, Palais de Paris, Tokyo, Japan, “Infantry Square” Greece, Athens Biennale, Omonoia and Salon du dessin Erotique de Paris, France. She was an artistic collaborator at the production of “Elenit” by Euripides Laskarides. In 2021 she participated in the 8th New Choreographers Festival of Onassis foundation with her piece “Axel’s just dreaming.”
Anna Papathanasiou created “Axel’s Just Dreaming” as a compendium of moving images, an album of “unreleased” material. A series of seven video portraits that depict imaginary characters in states of isolation and ecstasy.
Each image presents an existence that builds its own narrative within strict chronological and spatial constraints, inside a closed circuit, behind a screen or a pane of glass. Each existence is a small explosion that went to waste inside a taped-up gift box never delivered due to problems with the postal service. Repetitive movements bring to mind a kind of purgatory where mentally worked up beings make each day special, even if it’s all only an illusion.
We all want someone to bear witness to our loneliness, so as not to go mad inside our own little boxes.
Distortion, repetition, and transformation are the core materials used in this rendition of a dystopian feeling. A silent and gentle nightmare with absurd visual connections that cannot be explained, but which do the explaining. Like the dream of a dog on the verge of death, already afloat inside a transitional space as its body leaves it ever so slowly behind. A tableau vivant of a dive into the absurd.
Some examples are: Our Festival 2021, Culture is Athens 2021, Apo Mixanis Theatre 2019, Lithografeion Theatre 2019, International Contemporary Dance Festival of Mexico City 2018, Rabbitlab 2.0 (Athens), In Progress Feedback Festival 2017, 1st and 2nd Platform of Contemporary Dance (Athens), Resolution 2016 and Fringe Shorts 2015 at The Place (London), Athens Video Dance Project Festival 2016 (Athens), Summer Streets 2015 in Regents Street (London), Friday League at Theatre Delicatessen (London), Motus Festival (Milton Keynes), 2nd Scratch Festival (Athens), Emerging Choreographers Platform 2015 at Broadway Theatre (London).
In 2019 and 2020 we received national funding to create two full productions entitled “Look Little Man” which was premiered in Athens, June 2019 and “A shield of dreams”, a physical theatre piece for younger audiences premiered in July 2021, as well as the educational programme ” The Museum Otherwise” that runs in hellenic cultural spaces and museums.
A(r)CT aims to create accessible, interactive art by combining dance, text, music and visual arts. Through our works we usually aim to communicate a meaning related to our everyday life, our social and human existence and the contemporary world. We want people to be able to engage with what they see and respond to it actively
These past two years we keep listening and reading the following phrase: “Please keep your distance”.
Social Distancing is something new in our lives at least as a rule. We somehow got obliged to not get close to each other, to hide our mouths and smiles, to gradually distance ourselves from the outer world.
Isolation became part of our everyday routine, or just our main routine. We started working, eating, reading, practising, rehearsing, having fun, working out, socialising just within our four walls, keeping the distance, away from what seems to be real , away from what we know and what we need, away from any other interaction. We were far and we came even further from the essence of our human existence.
Our idea started off with questioning all the above, while living in countries and societies that suddenly changed. Our roles shifted within, as people and as artists.
So where do we fit now?
What is our disDance?
Through this project, we want to explore every potential meaning of the word distance and its practicality through movement and dance, combining it with the possibilities of technology and projections.
Distance as a rule, as a law, as an obligation, as an oppression.
Distance as a choice, as a geographic element, as a walk, as a safe space.
Distance as proximity from me, you, the other, from a viewer, a reader, an audience.
Distance as a state, an illness, a depression, a refusal of living.
Distance as a gap between cultures, as walls, as borders.
Distance as the unknown, the fear, the breath.