Still House make work across dance, theatre and film. The company puts those performing and real human stories at its heart as they attempt to make sense of the world. As part of this year’s showcase, Still House will present Of Riders and Running Horses – a stirring, visceral new dance event created as a communal animation of urban spaces.
Dan Canham, artistic director, answers a few questions about caravan ahead of the showcase next month.
How would you describe the show that you’re taking to caravan?
The seed of the idea for what has become Of Riders & Running Horses was sown some years ago in the Molly dances of East Anglia, the straw bear festival of Whittlesea, the tar barrels of Ottery St Mary. At the time, the immediacy and the humanity of these folk events – inherent within them the possibility for transformation and collective joy – called out to me as a captivating alternative to the sterile conditions in which dance in particular is so often presented for an audience’s passive consumption.
The show we’ve now made has inherent within it this transgressive and celebratory spirit. It is a dance event for a group of female dancers, a live band and an audience. It takes place in found spaces in the margins of the city – places we can take ownership of for the length of the event and in doing so, create a temporary community for the night that comes together to enjoy the act of people dancing to music.
What can audiences expect from the show?
If you were coming to the show fresh you could expect some loud and powerful music, some fierce dancing, an unexpected location, the chance to have a good old dance yourselves; and potentially unpredictable weather.
What does it mean to you to be part of the showcase?
Still House has been fortunate enough to be part of the previous two caravan showcases and it has always been an exciting and convivial atmosphere in which to share work. It has previously led to some very exciting opportunities and conversations for the company of which we’ve been really proud. We’re also really pleased to be showing as part of Brighton Festival once more and can’t wait to get going.
What opportunities do you hope the showcase might create?
Of Riders & Running Horses is an ambitious work for Still House and much bigger than anything I’ve previously directed. It’s a show I’m immensely proud of and as such, of course I want as many people to see it, in as many places as possible. It’s a show that is ideally suited to international touring and so I’d love to see it stretch its metaphorical legs and tour a fair bit overseas.
What other work are you excited about in the showcase?
I’m gutted not to have seen Lost Dog’s Paradise Lost yet so I’m really hoping to catch that. I’ve known Ben a good while now and think he’s a top artist. I’ve got to shout out my Bristol buddies representing our fair city: Jo Bannon, Sleepdogs and Action Hero will also be around.
For more information on Still House visit: www.stillhouse.co.uk or follow them on twitter @StillHouseLive
Keep up to date with all the latest news from this year’s showcase @caravan_theatre #caravan16