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Surface Area Dance Theatre. Photograph: Paul Miller
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Surface Area Dance Theatre: Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones

Sat 16 Oct 2021, 12 - 12.30pm + 2 - 2.30pm

Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones

Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones is a new dance performance centred upon an experiential understanding and knowledge of British Sign Language, D/deaf culture, Japanese culture and Butoh.

Developed through a process of enquiry and choreographic research, the piece brings together an exploration of language, sensation, contemplation, physical expression through movement and wearable technology, and is adaptive to the social and architectural environments in which it is performed.

The dancers will perform with Subpacs, wearable technology that translates sound into vibrations. Their work with Subpac is about improving accessibility and creating an environment that is equally shared. All dancers included in the performance, both D/deaf and hearing, wear a Subpac to promote a unified relationship to sound, movement and the performed choreography. A number of Subpacs will also be available for the audience to try, whether D/deaf or hearing.

Central to the piece is the Japanese word Ma (間), which can be translated as a gap, pause or interval. In developing the work, the group physically interpreted the possibilities of Ma, producing an assertive series of gestures, postures and settlements of physical contact. Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones proposes the use of the entire body as a listening instrument, capable of feeling, touching and seeing the colours and textures of sound and silence in space. 

The Hepworth Wakefield provides a unique context for this iteration of the performance, which responds to both the interior architecture of the space and ideas of space and silence within the sculptures of Barbara Hepworth. 

About the artists

Surface Area Dance Theatre CIC creates and delivers a diverse range of artistic and socially engaged activities. As ambassadors for the D/deaf community they are committed to promoting equality by building awareness and an understanding of D/deaf culture, art and language through their work. 

Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones is directed by Nicole Vivien Watson and features performing artists Charlie Dearnley and Christopher Fonseca and Ashling McCann, with set-design by Graham Patterson and sound by Tom White.  

The project is supported by Dance City (UK), The Tokyo Council and The British Council artists-in-residence at Ise Grand Shrine for UK in JAPAN 2019-20, The Wellcome Collection (UK), The Barbican (UK), and The Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens. 

This event forms part of a series of performances and audio-visual works made in response to Hepworth’s work presented alongside our 10th anniversary exhibition Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life.

The programme of events takes place throughout the exhibition and features new and re-staged works by artists, musicians and dancers, many of whom we have worked with over the past ten years. Please see our What’s On listings for details of all events.  

Our anniversary events are free but tickets to the Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life exhibition are required. Exhibition tickets are priced at £12 / £10 Concessions / FREE for Members, Wakefield District residents and under 16s. Book your ticket online.