X6 Dance Space (1976-80) Liberation Notes
February 7th – March 22nd 2020 at Cell Project Space
Exhibition, Performances and Discussion
‘X6 Dance Space (1976-80): Liberation Notes’ at Cell Project Space is the first presentation of work about the X6 Collective (1976-80), founded by dance artists Emilyn Claid, Maedée Duprès, Fergus Early, Jacky Lansley and Mary Prestidge.
The X6 Collective was a counter-cultural dance movement active from 1976 to 1980 in London, UK. X6 established an entirely new structure and way of working outside of Britain’s mainstream ballet and contemporary dance institutions. It was concerned with a fundamentally new approach to dance aesthetics, organisation and teaching, informed by emerging feminist and queer theoretical frameworks. The collective resisted style as a definition and operated within a non-hierarchal structure, producing a diverse and radical programme of performances, classes and workshops that took place in a warehouse in Butler’s Wharf, London – the X6 Dance Space. In addition, X6 produced and published ‘New Dance’ magazine (1977-88), a vital platform for progressive writing, which explored dance and its social context. The collective played a critical role in the development of UK contemporary and New Dance practices.
This exhibition brings together unseen, archival material including original publicity from performances and events as well as a display of selected New Dance magazines. X6 developed new radical ways of working and thinking about dance relevant to its particular social and political moment.
This exhibition presents an opportunity to revisit the movement and consider the legacy of X6 within a contemporary framework, rethinking strategies of collectivity, resistance and opposition to oppressive politics within a current cultural and social context.
A programme of discussions and performances will take place throughout the duration of the exhibition, including new performance work by X6 founders Emilyn Claid, Fergus Early, Jacky Lansley and Mary Prestidge.
Saturday February 22nd 2020
New performance work by Emilyn Claid, Fergus Early, Jacky Lansley and Mary Prestidge
March 1st 2020
Panel discussion with members of X6,’Funmi Adewole and Jamila Jonhson-Small
Saturday 14th March:
Performance by Sanna Helena-Berger and Shade Théret
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‘Liberation Notes’ attests to an embodied countercultural politics mediated by dance criticism, handwritten advertisements for feminist workshops, and event scores that double as manifesto statements. […] A scheduled live program featuring X6 members may just reprise the group’s politics for dancers (and viewers) navigating the same old problems today. – Tom Hastings, Art Forum
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View of “X6 Dance Space (1976–80): Liberation Notes,” 2020, Cell Project Space, London. From left: Jacky Lansley, Dance Object revisited, 2020; Jacky Lansley Dance Object, 1977. Photo: Rob Harris.