Friday, 9 April 2010

World Dance Day at Budleigh Salterton

Photo by Tabitha Somerfield
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Budleigh Salterton's red cliffs form a dramatic backdrop to performances of all kinds, and last year's World Dance Day organisers were delighted to secure the services of internationally-known dancer Charlie Morrissey.

Pictured is Charlie Morrissey's rehearsal for the 2009 World Dance Day performance on Budleigh beach

A dance director and choreographer renowned for staging performances ranging from events involving thousands of gallons of water, ice, pyrotechnics, projection and fire, in elaborate large-scale installations, Morrissey is also noted for intimate and highly physical performances involving one or two performers, on bare stages in theatres and galleries.

Lighting-up time on Budleigh cliffs:
Charlie Morrissey's night-time performance in May 2009

Last year's World Dance Day celebration in Budleigh took place in the evening and was a bit let down by the weather as well as by a clash with the arrival of concert pianist Peter Donohoe who was giving a packed-out performance in St Peter's Church.

This time they might be luckier. World Dance Day on Thursday April 29 2010 will be celebrated at the same location - the beach at Steamer Steps next to the famous red cliffs - but it's a daytime event, starting at 10.30 am. Viewing for the audience will be from the cliff-top benches.

Inspired by the growing popularity in recent years of dance improvisation, local Yoga Dance community groups will be celebrating the day with what they call "a Standing Movement Meditation on the beach."

"I am taking part in World Dance Day 2010 as it brings my community Yoga Dance groups out of the studio and onto the local beaches," explains dance teacher Michelle Wilkinson. The moves, she says, are inspired by seascapes where a physical shout is being made to someone beyond reach. "These movements will be echoed by other dancers throughout Devon to unite and celebrate the magic and joy of dance."

Budleigh Salterton environmental artist Pauline Dyer with some of her work based on the theme of 'Moving Nature'
"I am on a journey of embodiment," says Exmouth-based Michelle. What she calls her strong desire to connect her moving body with her outer world of seascapes and woodlands has inspired her to work with independent movement artist Helen Poynor on the world Heritage Coast of West Dorset and East Devon.

Michelle also finds inspiration from the local landscapes in collaboration with Budleigh artist Pauline Dyer. Their site at explains how they have worked together to explore the relationship between movement and environmental art.

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