The architecture and space of Pallant House Gallery
will come to life this May with an exciting conceptual dance choreographed by Replica Dance Company. A group of seven students from Chichester College have drawn inspiration from the gallery to produce ‘Still', a site-specific performance which invites the audience to follow the dancers from one space to another.

Under the guidance of Hannily Bendell and Thomas Pickard who founded and run Replica Dance Company, the group of students collectively named ‘En Route' devised this exciting new project as part of their BTEC National Diploma in Dance. The idea was inspired by the famous improvisational piece ‘Frozen Grand Central' by ImprovEverywhere, which saw over 200 ‘secret agents' freeze simultaneously during rush hour at Grand Central Station in New York. This idea of using a public space as the stage for performance art encouraged the group to look to Pallant House Gallery as a basis for their dance, and to look for ways to use and interact with the space in unconventional ways.

The students aged 17 and 18 wanted to create a piece that explored the idea of the pedestrian and their everyday movements with the notion of stillness. The gallery provides the perfect backdrop for such a piece, as the students were able to develop a dance that uses both inanimate features of the gallery as well as the way in which the public explore the artworks to inspire their movements. The dance will take place in five different locations in the gallery, each one chosen for its specific feature or purpose. From the charming features of the Queen-Anne townhouse to the exciting permanent collection of art in the new building, ‘Still' aims to encourage the audience to think differently about the space they are in.

The performance will also draw on certain paintings in the collection, and the audience will see pieces such as Picasso's ‘Two Female Nudes in a Tree' brought to life in an original duet. There will also be an exciting musical intervention by Ben Logan, but the audience will have to come and see for themselves to find out what happens!

Speaking of how they felt about using Pallant House Gallery as their stage, Hannily Bendell, founder of Replica Dance Company explained; "There is always a challenge when working around valuable artworks, however it's an exciting one as limitations encourage you to work in a different way and create something new. The students feel enthused by the idea of performing a piece designed specifically for the space, and feel excited by the prospect of working on such a different stage".

Performances like this are particularly important in a time when the Arts are facing uncertainty and funding cuts. By using the gallery, and adapting to its space, the students are illustrating the increasing need of artists to find other places to perform and make more use of different and unusual environments. They show how arts institutions can be adapted to all different forms of art, creating a successful piece in the process.

En Route is comprised of Aimee Munday, Brad Marshall, Christian Lawrence, Ben Logan, Chloe Robinson, Helen Penn and Kim Canning.

Entry is free. Please meet at reception. Performances are at 6pm and 7pm on Thurs 5 May. Entry to the gallery is also free from 5-8pm every Thursday.