Encountering contemporary dance outside of a traditional theatre is no longer so remarkable. Indeed, art galleries and exhibition spaces have become the creative discipline’s second home. What makes British-Irish artist and choreographer Joe Moran’s practice more unusual is the extent to which he embraces the ostensible ‘gap’ between these two worlds, examining their relationship and challenging the terms upon which dance is often adopted – or, in Moran’s own words, appropriated – by galleries and museums.
This spring, as part of The Lowry’s ongoing ‘EDIT’ series, Moran is preparing to take up residence within the art centre’s white-walled gallery space, neighbouring the theatre, where he will present a ‘live exhibition’ combining performance, film and spray paint drawing. Working with a small team of dancers, Live Creations will feature a new performance titled ‘Before We Are Dead,’ which will be shown alongside ‘Here and Now’ – a two-screen film installation created in collaboration with designer Sam Williams that encourages viewers to travel around the space.
A former dancer himself, Moran’s ‘full-bodied’, continuous choreographic style is influenced by some of the key American pioneers of radical contemporary dance, such as Deborah Hay and Anna Halprin (who referred to herself as ‘a breaker of modern dance’). By exposing the in-depth critical thinking that happens in dance and dance-making, Moran aims to present visitors with a window not only into his own creative process, but also into an art form which he describes as having “very often been dismissed as unthinking,” lacking in critical knowledge, and undeserving of a place at the table of contemporary art.
Founder of Dance Art Foundation, Moran has previously presented work in theatres, galleries and public spaces including Sadler’s Wells, London Contemporary Dance School, Wysing Arts Centre, Bluecoat, Kettle’s Yard, Whitechapel Gallery and the ICA.