Preview: Embodied Energy, various venues, London

The house that these dancers built

Photini Philippidou
Wednesday 18 June 2008 00:00
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A series of dances designed to form a giant animal carapace seems an unlikely way of soliciting an appreciation of architecture. But dance and architecture belong together, say the men behind the Eden Project.

"We were trying to get away from the static idea of buildings," says Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, designer of the Eden Project. "We wanted people to appreciate space through the energy of dance – to make people feel the wider breadth of architecture and show a genuine collaboration between two normally unrelated disciplines."

So he and his partner Neven Sidor have teamed up with award winning choreographer Katie Green and dance academy The Place to create five interactive performances for the London Festival of Architecture, a month-long fiesta comprising more than 500 events. And in the true spirit of the Festival, the dances will take place outdoors and are free to the public.

The performances will kick off at the Royal Academy of Arts, with each performer dancing with two rigid triangles, which, when the dancers meet, hinge together to form a larger structure, the shape of which differs according to the environment. "It's about dynamics. By moving round and forming these shapes, they're interacting with the space. And in each different place, be it Exmouth Market or the Royal Academy, [the dancers will] react differently and create a different carapace," explains Sir Nicholas.

Entitled Embodied Energy, the dances serve as a metaphor for the energy involved in creating buildings and powering them, thus broaching the question of sustainability. "We're creating a work of art without using any energy other than that used by the dancers, and with no materials except these triangles, which have the smallest number of points needed to define any surface. We deliberately boiled it down to the universal idea of the very simple producing something complex," he says.

11 to 20 July; the London Festival of Architecture will take place from 20 June to 20 July ( www.lfa2008.org)

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