Our third year undergraduate students have started their year with an extraordinary performance project which sees them working in the studio over four weeks with maverick choreographer Lea Anderson to bring to life her fabulous costume archive.
This journey into the combined creative minds, that for many years brought us some of the most visual and inventive work in contemporary dance and theatre via The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs is tinged with nostalgia for me. I remember working at Laban many years ago and watching the first performance of the Cholmondeley Sisters. It’s also invaluable for the students to investigate a body of work that’s been important to the development of the art form in the UK.
This is one of the unique types of projects that we know are hugely beneficial for students that are on the brink of joining the professional world. It offers new perspectives on performance and the opportunity to work with internationally respected artists.
The project called Hand in Glove, brings out of storage 300 costumes, accessories and props created by multi Oscar winning costume designer Sandy Powell, eminent designers Simon Vincenzi, Emma Fryer and is overseen by performing wardrobe mistress Jay Cloth.
Across the four weeks our students have been in the studio with Lea Anderson, Gary Clarke, ex-Featherstonehaughs and ex-Cholmondeleys dancer Anna Pons Carrera (an alumna of London Contemporary Dance School) reconstructing gems from the Anderson repertoire such as Elvis Legs, Joan, Wavy Arms and From the Sketch Book of Egon Schiele.
Our fantastic costume department at London Contemporary Dance School has also been a hive of activity. Sara, Francis and Nicole have been supporting Jay Cloth, Lea Anderson’s costumier, alter and generally make ready, the mass of costumes that will feature in the final performed exhibition.
Now just hours away from the work’s first presentation, which will take place at Candid Arts, a fantastic gallery space that has been developed within an old warehouse, Lea has knitted together the vast number of sections of work into a rich and visually exciting choreographed exhibition. So, if you’re in our School or the café in The Place and you spot a pair of over-large trousers or an Egon Schiele character going about their business you’ll know what’s going on.
David Steele D.Univ. (Mdx) FRSA is the Vice Principal and Director of Studies of London Contrmporary Dance School
Hand in Glove has been made possible with support from the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama.