This month third year dancers from London Contemporary Dance School will bring the costumes of dance maverick, Lea Anderson to life in a special performance exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Hand in Glove will celebrate the work of award winning choreographer Lea Anderson and designers Sandy Powell, Simon Vincenzi and Emma Fryer.
With a choreographic career that spans over 30 years, Lea Anderson’s choreography has been at the forefront of progressive dance and subject to scrutiny on both the GCSE and A-Level dance syllabuses; it’s also earned her an MBE.
Lea continues to question the boundaries of dance and the relationship between dance and costume. High production values are really important to her, she’s accessed her archive to present over 500 costumes and accessories from eight works for Hand in Glove. Drawing from Lea’s huge body of work to showcase vignettes of choreography originally performed by Lea’s infamous companies The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs; the students will bring to life celebrated works. These works include: Yippeee!; Draw on the Sketchbooks of Egon Schiele; Flesh and Blood; Russian Roulette; Smithereens; The Realms of the Unreal; Big Feature; Go Las Vegas.
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 an internationally respected artist. It’s been a challenge for the students to trace the pathway of a choreographer’s journey but it’s essential they experience new ways of working to find and develop their own voice as artists.
Lea’s work has often been described as offbeat, creating work that’s free of predictability; she draws her inspiration from the world around her; everyday life, cinema, religion, art and history. The results of which have inspired countless performers and choreographers.
For the students taking part, Hand in Glove will give them an unparalleled insight into the functions of design within performance. The exhibition goes beyond the larger than life costumes; as young artists the performers need to find the balance between wearing the costumes and being overshadowed by their design. Hand in Glove is a large scale, challenging project: the students have worked with the original artists the roles were created for; in costumes made by an Oscar winning designer for one of British dance’s brightest discoveries; to be presented at the world’s leading museum of art and design. It’s a tall order but they have risen to it and as a learning experience it’s one they will never forget.
David Steele is Vice Principal and Director of Studies at London Contemporary Dance School.
Lea Anderson’s Hand in Glove: 22 – 24 April 2016
Raphael Gallery (48a), Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL