For over a year, Fallen Angels have been working with Disley to support and enhance their regular group sessions at The Turnpike, in which they support people in recovery from addiction
through the medium of dance. Using colour, pattern, props and play, the artist has co-choreographed new work with the group to create a sensory exploration of their experiences.
Disley says, “It’s a sculptural, painterly work where the dancers activate and shift the piece constantly via their movement and interaction with the objects involved. Central to the work is a large painted dancefloor, which was initially intended to act as a score for the performance, but has become a document to how the work has evolved and adapted in response to circumstance
and the needs of the dancers.”
Epic Luxe has taken an interesting shift in its timeline, becoming responsive to social distancing measures, physical connection and the sharing of props, and physical and psychological support structures. The piece incorporates the impact of lockdown on the dancers, who shared their experiences and challenges digitally throughout this period.
“This was a deeply collaborative process where the performer’s reactions and responses were welcomed throughout the creative process,” Disley says. “Developing a dance work within a gallery space as opposed to a theatre or dance studio allowed me to profile the physical objects and the dancers on a par so that they truly function as a collaboration with a levelled hierarchy. I
think stripping out the possibility of any theatrical lighting or ambient enhancers associated with theatre allows for a clarity in what the viewer is exposed to, which I have loved wrestling with.”
Paul Bayes Kitcher, Artistic Director of Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, says, “This is the first time Fallen Angels has collaborated with a visual artist. The project was an amazing opportunity for people in recovery from addiction to explore, play and be immersed and indeed become the art.
Fran’s approach enabled us to approach making art and movement in a very different way, and opened everyone’s mind and body to new experiences.”
In response to COVID, The Turnpike has rapidly rethought its role as a gallery, instead using its spaces and resources to support Leigh’s communities through creative experimentation. Epic Luxe is an outcome of our programme of Activations, moments when artists come together to experiment and create with communities. Often interdisciplinary in their approach, an Activation
allows the gallery, and the town, to become a live testing ground for new ways of making art towards a long-term, sustainable and socially just recovery.
Helen Stalker, Director at The Turnpike, says, “At The Turnpike we’re most interested in reciprocity, the exchange of ideas and a collective re-imagining of a sustainable and positive future. Long-term embedded projects such as this Activation by Frances Disley and Fallen Angels is an example of exploring and overcoming adversity through genuine creative partnership. Aside from everything else that it is, Epic Luxe is a document of our time; a
testament to care, beauty and community in the face of uncertainty