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Professor hits the spotlight in BBC dance series


A dance professor at the University of Wolverhampton has created an interactive film for BBC’s Dance Passion 2022.

Dance Passion is a collaboration between BBC Arts and One Dance UK and is supported by funding from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants programme. BBC Arts and One Dance UK, along with BBC Connected Studio, are working with a network of dance companies, independent artists, and technical providers to showcase dance talent across the UK.

Matthew Wyon, Professor in Dance Science at the University of Wolverhampton has successfully been awarded the One Dance UK grant to create a short interactive film with Craig Bush of TAKT Productions and choreographer and artistic director, Ruth Brill.

The interactive film ‘Beneath Still Waters’ provides an insight into the hidden physical cost of dance. The film allows the audience to explore the different physiological and biomechanical demands of different dance genres - ballet, jazz, breakdancing and Kathak. The dancers perform a newly choreographed work, and their movements are analysed by means of data, collected by telemetric gas analysis and XSENS suits.

The short film was created in the Human Movement Laboratory in the William Penny Brookes Building and the Black Box Theatre in the Performance Hub at the University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall Campus.

Matt_WyonProfessor Matthew Wyon said: “I’m delighted to have won the grant to create a short film for Dance Passion 2022.

“Ruth is one the UK’s up and coming choreographers and after we connected during the last BBC Dance Passion, when her new choreography of Peter and Wolf was being performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet, we decided to collaborate with Craig Bush of TAKT Productions to make a specific film that highlights the uniqueness and similarities of four different dance genres.  

“Dance is enjoyable to watch but as an audience, we rarely understand how hard it is for the dancer. This film will enhance your appreciation of dancers as athletic artists, and of dance as an art form. I look forward to seeing the final production and hope you all enjoy the series as we celebrate the world of dance across the UK.”

Professor Wyon is a founding partner of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science UK and the former president of International Association for Dance Medicine and Science between 2015-2017.

Matthew has worked with numerous dancers and companies within the UK and Europe as an applied physiologist and strength and conditioning coach. His research focuses on injury epidemiology and performance enhancement in dance; presently he has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in dance medicine and science.

ruth_brillRuth Brill said: “Our film will enhance your appreciation of dancers as athletes, and of dance as an art form. Art meets science.

My new choreography showcases the dancers’ versatility, skill, and artistry within their dance genre. Seeing these artists side by side highlights the similarities and differences across the genres - ballet, jazz, breakdance and Kathak.

“As a dancer, your body is your tool. Dance training pushes you to the max. Therefore, it is important that we understand the science, and that the science informs how we look after our bodies.

“The performance data captured and analysed should leave our audiences in awe of dancers all the more. It has been fascinating to collaborate with Matthew, Craig and the dancers, to bring this concept to life.”

Ruth trained at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts and English National Ballet School. She is a former First Artist of English National Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet. As a choreographer, Ruth created several commissioned works for Birmingham Royal Ballet (including Arcadia and Peter and The Wolf) and now works as a freelance choreographer and artistic director. Recent choreographic projects include MOMENTA for English National Ballet, Chrysalis with Hannah Schneider/Oxford Alternative Orchestra, BODIES in collaboration with Brandon Lawrence, and The Cinema Show for New English Ballet Theatre.

The interactive film will be released on Thursday 3 February 2022 as part of the BBC’s Dance Passion event.

Photo credit: Ruth Brill headshot taken by Dasa Wharton. 

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