Emilyn Claid is a dance pioneer with a career as a performer and choreographer stretching back to the 1960s. She co-founded experimental collective X6 Dance Space in the 1970s, and was artistic director of Extemporary Dance Theatre in the 1980s. In the 1990s she choreographed for Phoenix and CandoCo, and performed a series of iconic solo works in which she found an authentic voice as a lesbian artist. Emilyn is also an emeritus professor and a Gestalt psychotherapist and has recently published FALLING Through Dance and Life, (Bloomsbury 2021), a book about dance performance that re-thinks Western culture’s physical, metaphorical and psychological relationship to gravity.
In 2021 Emilyn Claid undertook a period of studio research to pursue her ambition to return to performing at 72. The result is At The Brink (working title), a contrasting solo double bill created in collaboration with choreographer Heidi Rustgaard and artist Florence Peake which explores Emilyn’s interest in the intersection of movement and theatre, power and fragility and authenticity and fantasy. Florence’s piece Stories Left (working title) is a dialogue between Emilyn and her arthritic left foot, embodied in clay. This part of the evening is humorous and playful, giving Emilyn scope to explore the many stories her foot has to tell her, under Florence’s direction. XS (working title) will be a development of the work with Heidi. This piece has two starting points. The first starting point is excess, crossing the boundaries between animal and human; the second is a slow, enduring ‘butoh-esque’ movement task – a physical and visual realisation of queering – to be perpetually moving towards, but never fixing, identity.
At The Brink will premiere this autumn.
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