Press Story

7 Oct 2022

The Contemporary Dance Platform, as part of the British Council’s UK/Ukraine Season of Culture, has created a digital hub to collect dance videos from Ukrainian dancers and choreographers called Let The Body Speak. Let The Body Speak aims to create a digital archive of works, movement practices and discussions that Ukrainian dance artists are having in these unprecedented times.

Let The Body Speak gathers videos from Ukrainian dance artists which have been created since the war started in Ukraine in February 2022. Each of them is accompanied by a description in Ukrainian, English, German, French and Polish for the whole world to see.

Speaking of the project, Anna Bubnova, Manager of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture and Head of Arts, British Council Ukraine says: "Let The Body Speak is one of 15 art projects supported by the British Council as part of UK/Ukraine Season of Culture called "Future Reimagined". The aim of the entire programme was to deepen the connections between artists and arts organisations in Great Britain and Ukraine and to find answers to common challenges in the future. The war radically changed the plans and life circumstances of Ukrainian artists, but their desire to express their emotions, feelings, and reflections through their artistic practices remained unchanged. With the help of the collaboration between the Ukrainian Contemporary Dance Platform and The Place (Great Britain), Ukrainian dancers have the opportunity to try to find landmarks in uncertainty and, focusing on the theme of the Season, to imagine what it is the "Future Reimagined".

Anton Ovchinnikov, author of the idea and manager of the Let The Body Speak project adds: "The human body is an "archive" that stores impressions of all the events that happen to it during its lifetime. Based on this scientifically proven idea, we decided to create a video archive of works, movement practices, and discussions of Ukrainian choreographers and dancers during the war.”

Project manager Oleksandr Manshylin explains: "It is important for us that more people around the world learn about Ukrainian dance during the war. Body language is a universal language that expresses our reactions and reflections. Through dance, we can learn more about each other, understand and feel more as well. We hope that viewers of the Let The Body Speak digital platform can feel solidarity and respect for the Ukrainian people, who continue to develop culture, thus bringing Victory closer."

The project’s main partner is The Place, a global creative centre for dance development based in the UK. The organisation, which is home to London Contemporary Dance School and has presented contemporary dance performances for over 50 years, is one of the most exciting, innovative dance spaces in Europe.

Emilie Labourey, the project coordinator from The Place, says that the main tasks are to provide support to Ukrainian dancers so that they have the opportunity to continue their practice and create a network of new partnerships among Ukrainian and UK artists.

The Place team takes an active part in creating the project programme, advising on the technical implementation of the digital hub on the YouTube platform and preparation for the call out. From October 1st to November 30th, choreographers and managers have planned 15 hours of an educational programme, and during December, support for the preparation of two new performances, which will be presented online in January 2023.

The Contemporary Dance Platform invites support for the project and dancers by placing a link to a Patreon account and a link to the dancers' social media accounts under each video. In this way, viewers, colleagues, and institutions can contact the project participants personally and invite them to cooperate. More than 100 videos were received for the first call out.

The organisers will accept works until the last day of the war, creating an opportunity for dancers to work and develop their practice. The Contemporary Dance Platform continues to do what it started back in 2015 — to support the development of the dance community in Ukraine.