City workers pacing the lobby of Canary Wharf’s iconic One Canada Square tower may be set for a surprise in February when a dance installation makes its premiere.
Devised by Middlesex University dance lecturer Angela Woodhouse in collaboration with visual artist Nathaniel Rackowe, [Un]Touched premieres on Tuesday 9 February as part of Rackowe’s The Luminous City exhibition.
Funded by Arts Council England in partnership with Middlesex University, [Un]Touched situates dancers Stine Nilsen and Martina Conti behind a corridor of reflective and transparent glass of the busy lobby to explore ideas of intimacy and separation.
Office workers will become accidental audience members, seeing a performance appear then disappear as they are reflected back at themselves as the technical glass installation flicks between transparency and reflectivity.
Curated by House of the Nobleman and presented by Canary Wharf Group, it is the first of two distinct but related works conceived by Woodhouse and Rackowe. The second piece of the diptych is set to be performed in a more traditional gallery setting later in 2016.
“My approach to the exploration of choreographic work is very much about how context drives invention and I’m interested in how the synergy of all of these elements comes together,” explains Angela.
“The underlying issue for me is about the ethics of how an audience behaves and what they allow themselves to do in a movement and dance context. I’m Interested in giving the audience a level of freedom within the performance.”
Looking to follow up her 2010-11 work Between, Angela spent a lot time dealing with the notion of touch and contact between performers and audience members, exploring the realm of space shared between the audience and performers.
“I was trained in dance and visual art, so I am always looking at things in a visual perspective and I see dance as a visual perform driven by its context. That opens up new possibilities for me,” she adds.
Working with second and third years on Middlesex University’s BA Dance Studies degree, Angela is keen to encourage her students to explore ideas outside of theatre spaces and consider choreography from different perspectives.
“It’s important because this is the real world for choreographers and the type of work that receives attention needs to innovate,” she says.
“It’s important to take students out of their comfort zone, draw attention to what they didn’t know and challenge them about what they knew. That’s what our job as teachers is.”
[Un]Touched premieres on Tuesday 9 February in the Lobby of One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB. Three performances at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm last 20 minutes each. Entrance is free.