Sophia Lycouris: Dance sensation on the streets of Edinburgh
city glimpses

Edinburgh Festival Fringe guest blog: Choreographer Sophia Lycouris tells us about her unique Fringe project City Glimpses which involves three separate dance improvisations being performed on the streets of Edinburgh, as well as being live-streamed on the internet.

City Glimpses is a new dance project I created specifically for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival to bring a sense of magic into the urban environment of the city of Edinburgh.

As John Wallace, the Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said recently in a Fringe event, “dance is a universal language” – the most accessible art form. What really fascinates me as a choreographer is the potential of movement to communicate at a visceral level.

When we watch dance, we often feel the movement in our own bodies. The artistic message travels directly from the bodies of the dancers to the bodies of the audience – it becomes a physical sensation. In this new project, I want to bring momentary but intense dance sensations straight into the streets of Edinburgh.

Three wonderful and extremely committed dancers create solo dance improvisations behind glass surfaces in three locations, which are visible to both pedestrians and passengers in cars and buses. Colin Scott, one of the many servitors of the University of Edinburgh who has helped us run this project in several University buildings, said: “Seeing three dancers in a confined space moving is not an every day occurrence, although it will not shock the Edinburgh public. The best reaction I think will be from folk glancing at the dancers from a bus, lorry, car, even a cyclist”.

But what triggers the dancers’ movement in the first place? City Glimpses invites audience members to submit short pieces of writing, poems, descriptions, notes, memories and sensations which relate to their experiences of living in cities, traveling through cities or imagining life in remote cities. Audience contributions should be emailed to cityglimpses@gmail.com.

As Abbie Wood, one of the three fascinating dancers working in this project says: “I have loved this challenge of allowing the body to express emotions and feelings through movement. This fascinating improvisational world of dance has introduced me to inspiration from poems and novels, identifying the meaning of the words and reading between the lines and then translating these into the movement I perform. It is this ability to transport the message from the page through my body to an audience that is most exciting”.

However, City Glimpses also exists as an internet-based dance performance. Unique views of the three solo dance improvisations are streamed live with high quality networked cameras installed inside the buildings in which these improvisations occur.

All three live streams appear on a single page of our website (and embedded below), offering an internet-based dance performance for remote audience members. This virtual performance is also accompanied by live improvising musicians of the Edimpro group, who also watch the triple streaming of the dance solos, and audio-stream back to this same web-page their mesmerising sound improvisations. Streamed performances are also archived for future use.

Evolution House

St. Leonard’s Land

Inspace – New Media Scotland

More information about this project can be found at www.recalesce.net. Text contributions by audience members, as well as questions and feedback should be emailed to cityglimpses@gmail.com.