Celebrating suffrage with dance festival

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Taciturn, who will be performing as part of Northern Dance Platform on Wednesday. Pic © Nadia Breen JMU Journalism

A celebration of 100 years since women first won the right to vote has been marked with a new dance show.

LEAP Dance Festival 2018 has begun in Liverpool, with the power of women demonstrated through the medium of dance.

Producers, Merseyside Dance Initiative (MDI), are celebrating their 25th anniversary with the 10-day festival in partnership with Liverpool Hope University.

The theme of suffrage is to show the importance of diversity and how transformation can happen when people have the courage to come together.

The opening on Friday at Capstone Theatre saw Liz Aggiss take to the stage with her show ‘Slap and Tickle’. The award-winning performance is a comedy that embodies feminist dance practices, along with attitudes towards mature female visibility and resisting formal conventions.

Other events this week include ‘Northern Dance Platform’, ‘Vital’ and ‘Gaby Agis: Shouting Out Loud’.

The dance group, Taciturn, will perform with Northern Dance Platform, displaying their routine ‘Facade’.

MDI Community Dance Artist, Jennie Hale, is part of Taciturn and has curated other parts of the festival. Facade focuses on female icons, the identity of women online and how it can be easily distorted.

She told JMU Journalism: “We look at how being a mother changes your role as a woman and how we view ourselves differently through motherhood.

“It is very important to pay tribute to the suffragettes. Who knows where we would be now without their fight? Even though it was 100 years ago, some issues are relevant nowadays in terms of women in the media.”

YouTube: Nadia Breen

MDI’s Artistic Director, Karen Gallagher MBE, aims to make dance more visible in the city region. All performances in LEAP present female protagonists, as Karen wants more women choreographers and dancers to be highlighted in the field.

She told JMU Journalism: “Dance can be a transformation art form and through it we can remember what the Suffragette Movement did for us. We should not have to constantly remind ourselves as a society to put women first.

“Women need to have a voice in our society and there are still parts of the world were this is not occurring.”

About Nadia Breen, JMU Journalism