Dance collective returns to Hove for annual celebration

Jessica Miller and Rosa Firbank SUS-170313-124237001
Jessica Miller and Rosa Firbank SUS-170313-124237001

Swallowsfeet Festival, an annual celebration of original dance and performance from independent artists, is back at The Old Market in Hove.

Jessica Miller, founder and festival organiser of Swallowsfeet, said: “We’re really excited to bring our programme of independent dance to the city for its fifth consecutive year.”

The creative collective behind Swallowsfeet Festival SUS-170313-124226001

The creative collective behind Swallowsfeet Festival SUS-170313-124226001

Ms Miller, who makes up one sixth of the creative collective behind Swallowsfeet Festival, set up the company in 2013 while in her third and final year of training at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

In 2014, the platform started to gather momentum and Miller invited five dance artists - Rosa Firbank, Jessica Léa Haener, Sivan Rubinstein, Gordon Raeburn and Harriet Parker-Beldeau - to join her in forming the Swallowsfeet Collective.

Ms Miller launched Swallowsfeet to allow a group of choreographers and artists to present their final projects to friends and family. From this humble beginning, the annual Swallowsfeet Festival was born, and just four years later, the callout for the 2017 festival saw 280 applications from 39 countries.

The Swallowsfeet collective then had the challenging job of selecting just nine of these artists to feature in the 2017 programme. The final lineup, which is the festival’s most dynamic to date, brings together a range of artists from all over the globe. With choreography and performances from artists and companies from Germany, Israel, Finland, Gibraltar, France, Italy and the UK, the festival represents a snapshot of the world’s current dance practice.

Swallowfeet Festival SUS-170313-124213001

Swallowfeet Festival SUS-170313-124213001

“Contemporary dance can sometimes seem like an intimidating experience, but in reality it’s a lively, creative and playful art form that’s available for everyone to enjoy. We’re committed to making dance as accessible as possible, both for dance lovers and artists, as well as for anyone who might be discovering dance for the first time. What’s great about the festival is that it exposes the audience to a variety of performance, where they can discover what is to their taste and what’s not,” said Ms Miller.

This year’s lineup also includes performances that will challenge the audience’s understanding of what makes up a standard dance performance. The Howl of the old Leopardi, a collaborative work between dance artist Iain Payne and poet Gabriel Moreno, will debut at this year’s festival and explores the relationship between spoken word poetry and dance.

Also on the line-up is Berlin-based performance artist Marc Gabriel, who will present his piece AJIMA. Performed by dancer Maija Karhunen, who was born with glass-bone disease and usually uses a wheelchair, AJIMA seeks to playfully explore themes of community, disability and isolation.

“The Swallowsfeet festival is an outlet for us to bring cutting-edge performances to our home city of Brighton and to support other professional dance artists and choreographers by showcasing their work,” said Ms Miller.

And with a programme packed full of intriguing and thought-provoking performances, it’s easy to see why the festival is now entering its fifth year.

Swallowsfeet Festival returns to The Old Market from March 24 to 25.

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