Dad dancing is contemporary dance show performed by Rosie Heafford, Alexandrina Hemsley and Helena Webb alongside their dads, Adrian, David and Andy and a supporting cast of local fathers, sons and daughters.
The show premiered at Battersea Arts Centres in 2014 and went on to tour to Brighton, Gloucester, Paignton and Ramsgate in 2017 - 2018.
‘Touching, awkward, funny and revealing’ The Observer
SO THE IDEA IS...
Dad Dancing came about when the three of us were studying contemporary dance in 2009.
Our dads – Adrian, David and Andy – would come and dutifully support us by sitting in the audience, but were befuddled by what they saw and ultimately, by our career choices…
As a way to bring our dads into our realm, in 2012, we nudged them into a dance studio with the promise of good music and great lunch. We wanted to explore their unique ways of moving and also spend more time as adults with them. On our first weekend together, we naively thought that the Dads might take some persuading to get moving but they were ready and came with bucket-loads of ideas. Helena had a particularly stunning moment in a mirroring game where her father proved where she had inherited her long hamstrings from!
What we all really enjoyed was WORKING with our fathers. It was so good to be focussed and productive on the same thing and amazing to see so many transferable skills from financial writing - Andy, advertising – David and geology – Adrian, to choreography. Of course there had been instances of this shared working before; maths homework, tax returns etc, but on this occasion both parties had vested interest, no one was just kindly helping out. Andy commented on this at one point saying it was a more collaborative process than he expected. One of our first points to make clear to the Dads was that we wanted it to be a piece that we made between the six of us, not three leading three. A new group dynamic began to evolve over the weekend, with six adults creating together.
Since then we have continued to develop the project in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre through creative residencies and workshops with father-figures, sons and daughters who generously shared their stories, ideas and best moves with us. Together we drew together multiple supporting casts in London, Brighton, Gloucester, Paignton and Ramsgate and made a show that reflects on fatherhood from a range of experiences. Together we slip and slide our way through our similarities and differences, hopes and regrets with thoughts on fatherhood and dancing our own dances with joy weaved throughout the piece.
– Rosie, Alexandrina and Helena
A project by Rosie Heafford, Alexandrina Hemsley and Helena Webb. Co-produced with Battersea Arts Centre. Co-commissioned by South East Dance and Battersea Arts Centre. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.