Interview: Dane Hurst - dancing at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Friday 2 October 2015 by Carmel Smith

Dane Hurst. Photo: Kristyna Kashvili

Rambert dancer and choreographer Dane Hurst features in a unique evening of life drawing and performance later this month at Dulwich Picture Gallery. The event has been designed to complement the exhibition of work by 18th century French Romantic painter and draughtsman Pierre-Paul Prud’hon. Hurst will create ‘dance sculptures’ inspired by the artist’s work, which will slowly come to life during the evening, with live musical accompaniment. Spectators can observe, or take part in life drawing sessions (with help from a tutor on hand) and the evening culminates in a performance of a solo and a duet by Hurst. We asked Dane to tell us more..

How did the project come about?
I was approached by Ellie Manwell, Head of Communications at Dulwich Picture Gallery, after she saw my choreography Primitive at Rich Mix last September. She asked that I make a proposal for an evening of dance that could somehow include life drawing to tie it in with their current exhibition of Pierre Paul Prud’Hon’s sketches of the human body.

It is an absolute honour and privilege to be creating an evening of live art for the Gallery. The space is breath-takingly beautiful and to be performing and creating movement art, surrounded by baroque masterpieces, in one of the oldest galleries in the world is a spine tingling experience. I’ve brought together a fantastic group of creatives (photographer/composer Tom Rowland, soprano Sarah Gabriel, violinist Satoko Fukuda, composer Paul Gladstone Reid and dancer Romany Pajdak ) and hope that collectively we can create something special.

What inspires you about working in the setting of an art gallery?
I’m a dancer and choreographer, I see the exposed body in complex movement sequences on a daily basis. My mind is continually seeing and imagining the body in motion as I’m required to create movement every day as part of my career. I see Prud’Hon’s sketches of the body as a snapshot of the sensual aesthetic of everyday bodily mechanics. He captures the ethereality of the moving body in space but more importantly, he captures an inner emotional tension that is exposed through the position of the body in space. It is not the positions of the body that move me, but it’s the emotional state contained within the body, a resonating inner movement, that inspires my creativity.

What else are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently putting together the repertoire for Rambert’s Autumn tour having just finished new works by Didy Veldman and Kim Brandstrup. Im also working on a film with Dutch film maker, Clara Van Gool, but more importantly I’m in the final stages of securing a building design for a new dance space in South Africa. This project is closest to my heart as I’ve always wanted to do something in my home town of Port Elizabeth but progress has been slow as I’ve been so busy dancing, choreographing and directing. I’m gathering some great support so far and hope to launch the project in 2016!

16 & 17 October, 7.30pm. Tickets from £25 (concs £15)
Dulwich Picture Gallery

Also see:
Rambert Revealed: open rehearsal with Dane Hurst
Tues 13 October 2015, 6.15pm – 7.15pm. Tickets £5
Dane will be working with Peggy Olislaegers, Rambert’s Artistic Associate and leading dramaturg, who will be providing and facilitating feedback on the work he has created for Dulwich Picture Gallery.

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