- Clare Richards is the founder and director of ft’work (Footwork Architects), a non-profit organisation, working to help create thriving communities and ensure clear social principles underpin development within the built environment. She is also a patron of the London Festival of Architecture. In this essay she shares her thoughts on our 2019 theme of boundaries.
LFA Patron, ft’work, is partnering with leading contemporary dance company Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in a public dance response to the Festival’s theme of ‘boundaries’, bridging the gap between physical, social and cultural barriers.Here’s our first update.
SJD has now recruited dancers from schools and community groups. Secondary school students from Oaklands School and Mulberry School will be taking part alongside senior dancers from Green Candle Dance company. Under Shobana Jeyasingh’s guidance and using her hallmark creative process, they’ll shortly begin work with the company’s dancers, producers and an architect to create a short intergenerational, site-responsive performance. The final work will be performed in two outdoor locations in central London, as well as in the participants’ schools and local communities.
The first site has been selected — Aldgate Square. It’s ideal for several reasons. The backdrop of both old and new buildings reflects the rich social and commercial history of the City: a church, a school, a public square, shops and office blocks. The physical form of the renovated square, with a sculptural stone boundary, seats, pavers, flowerbeds and lawn, provides a range of levels, textures and surfaces. It has a large footfall, with a new café at one end and with people enjoying the space for their lunch breaks.
Our amateur dancers are looking forward to creating their own dance movements and to explore the architectural landmarks. It will allow the young people to dance directly with older dancers, to benefit from a truly creative approach to making movement and to work with their bodies and minds. By also performing in front of their peers, they’ll have a unique opportunity to bring contemporary dance to new audiences. As one of the teachers remarked: ‘This is a great project with huge benefits for participants and the public’.