This event is part of ‘Chisenhale on Video' a screening programme curated by Rachael Davies

The first of two events, the video footage compiled for this screening highlights community focused aspects of Chisenhale’s programme, from teaching and summer schools to performance evenings. This screening will be followed by an in-conversation between Mary Prestidge and Rachael Davies.

Mary was a co-founder of X6 Collective and Chisenhale Dance Space. Within her work at Chisenhale Mary occupied the role of community dance worker, alongside cris cheek and later Norman ‘Rubba’ Stephenson and Lynda Agard. Drawing on this experience, Mary and Rachael will discuss how Chisenhale was attempting to challenge traditional values and models in dance through experimental, investigate and interrogative artistic practices. In particular, the conversation will explore how new approaches to teaching and community engagement were being developed.

‘Chisenhale on Video’ is a two-part screening programme comprising archival video footage which documents Chisenhale Dance Space, its work, and the work of its members through the 1980s. Each event will include a curated programme of videos followed by an in-conversation between Rachael Davies and invited speakers Mary Prestidge and Sue Maclennan. The conversation will then be opened up to the audience for questions and further contributions.

In 1985, the Chisenhale Dance Space collective outlined four organisational priorities that went on to shape policy and programming for the remainder of the decade. In no particular order these objectives were:

  • To programme and develop new work
  • To programme and develop multi-media work
  • To work with non-western cultures
  • To work with youth

These objectives engendered an ambitious and varied programme supported by an interdisciplinary artist collective. In 1987, the arts magazine City Limits reported that it was precisely this ‘eclectic mix of popular, community and New Dance performances and workshops’ that made the organisation unique. Norma Cohen described Chisenhale as ‘London’s only radical dance space’ (City Limits 1985).

Taking the video footage as a starting point and with these organisational objectives in mind, ‘Chisenhale on Video’ aims to explore Chisenhale’s work and ambitions during the 1980s and to situate these within their broader socio-political environment.