On a multicoloured background, dancer Alice Sheppard is launching forward down a ramp, balancing on her hands lifting her wheelchair high

Apart But Together

The last few weeks have presented challenges for everyone. With social distancing and travel restrictions keeping people physically apart (for the best in light of the COVID-19 pandemic) I have been overwhelmed by how people have pulled together, and none more so than across the international dance ecology.

A little over a week ago, we hosted our press and media launch for Let’s Dance International Frontiers 2020 and within a few days had postponed the entire festival and, in its place, programmed an Alternative LDIF20, a digital dance festival featuring never-before-seen performances, dance shorts, Dance Dialogues a series of conversations taken from previous LDIF conferences and dance documentaries and an online exhibition Black Men in Dance: Masculinity in Motion.

The opportunity to pull together a digital dance festival in such a short space of time would not be possible without the support of artists, practitioners, collaborators responding with compassion and creativity. LDIF has seen a decade of challenges and triumphs and, although we are not able to host LDIF20 in the same way, I am grateful that we are able to use technology to share and create something unique in its place and to support artists. The conversations we have had over the last week have influenced the Alternative LDIF20 programme, from the launch for international dance day (29 April) through to the closing sharing of collective dance film 30 Seconds of Freedom, inspired by a conversation with Alice Sheppard and Candace Feldman from Kinetic Light. Everyone is welcome to share their own 30-second dance shorts which will be combined to create one collective film. The piece will bring dancers from around the world together, while we remain geographically apart.

Alongside this, to celebrate LDIF’s tenth anniversary, we will be publishing LDIF: 10 Years in the Making to document the legacy and move forward to the future.

Full information about Alternative LDIF20 can be found here.

Image: Alice Sheppard in DESCENT by Kinetic Light. Photo by MANCC / Chris Cameron. Image Description: As the sky transitions from gold to amber to red, green and blue, Andromeda slides in a spider position on her stomach down the shiny ramp. The shadow of her wheelchair is visible beneath; her curly hair glows.