Please tell us who you are and what you’ve been working on recently.
LH: I’m an independent dance artist, choreographer, performance maker and community dance practitioner in Sheffield. My creative practice is dance focused and my work spans live theatre performance, dance for film and site specific. I make solo and duet work through collaborations with artists both in dance and other art forms including theatre, sound design, visual art and film. My work is playful and charms audiences as well as gently posing questions and has an interest in storytelling. My recent works have included ‘Beam’, a granny romance one woman show which invites audiences to sit down and share a jelly baby with Granny; ‘This Is Foreign’, a digital film exploring the celebrations and challenges of being in a multi lingual and cross cultural relationship and ‘Our Diana’, a tribute to the endless public opinions and media articles broadcast about Princess Diana every day since her death. I am Artistic Director of Third Bite Dance, an over 50’s contemporary dance company in Sheffield making work that defies expectations of the ageing body. Spring 2021 saw the creation of our debut performance work ‘This is how gorgeous it feels’. This company was developed from 50+ Contemporary Dance Sheffield which I founded in 2019. My work has been funded and supported by Arts Council England, Leeds Inspired, Yorkshire Dance, Sheffield Theatres, Theatre Deli Sheffield, The Montgomery Theatre & Arts Centre, CAST Theatre, Civic Barnsley, DARTS, Deda, Derby Theatre, Strike A Light and both Sheffield Universities.
AJC: I have recently been researching and recreating a publicity photograph from the film Broadway (1929) in which Merna Kennedy, a chorus girl looks up at a cubist sculpture. Her quizzical look suggests that she’s really thinking on the similarities and differences between them. It’s an image that stays on my mind. I’ve been co-editing a new book called Sex on Stage – it’s so good! The writing is so inspirational and the project really challenges assumptions that performers are victims when they perform in explicit ways. I have a steady ongoing practice of making works on paper – collages, drawings, traced paintings. Previously I have created small traced watercolours of performers with their shadows. I recycle my own photographs of myself to create collages and I play around with those images I never could do if they were found images. I have a series of photographs of empty theatres which I am trying to add to – but it’s been rather challenging over the last year or so for obvious reasons. Earlier this year I showed a new video made of footage appropriated from backstage musicals made between 1929-1939. I created a foley sound and disruptive text to intervene on the image.
What drew you to each other’s practice?
LH: I met Allie in 2014 at an exhibition in Sheffield where she was presenting her cigarette card recreations. I was drawn first to their beauty, glamour and the excellence and quality of the work. I thought they were beautiful creations and I hadn’t seen anything like them before. So when we met again in 2018 I was keen to ask questions about Allie’s practice and learn more about her creative process.
AJC: I love Lucy’s energy, her inclusive approach to dance. Her thoughtful meditations on bodies. I also like what we get talking about when we get together. Lucy has helped me with the staging of a performative talk I created. So, a sense of how we could work together has been forming over the last few years. This is an opportunity to develop a piece together rather than helping each other out with our own work.
How will you use the 1:1 FUND?
We plan to do a combination of independent research and then come together for play dates of half day sessions. These will also involve us visiting locations where showgirl stories can emerge.
Why did you choose the idea you will be working on?
The idea of telling stories of performing, of showing off, of being looked at, from the authoritative position of the showgirl is something we talk about. It’s a theme that interests us.