TWO PERFORMING Art dance students from Coventry University will use the Lady Herbert gardens in the centre of the city as the unique backdrop for their final year project. Known as the Jigsaw Dance Company, Amy Turner and dance partner, Lizzie Spencer, will use the historic outdoor location to stage one of three different pieces of performance theatre come May.
21-year-old Turner said the location successfully complimented the underlying theme of their project, which is to be conducted before fellow students, and members of the general public for free.
Originally from Telford in Shropshire, Turner revealed: “I have been looking for a suitable site to do my performance and came across Lady Herbert’s Garden. It is a really tranquil site in the heart of the city and combines a nice mixture of new and old in its surroundings.
“I particularly found the background as to why the garden was built to be of particular interest and it has inspired me to use it instead of a conventional performance space.”
The gardens were originally designed and built by Sir Alfred Herbert and dedicated to his wife, Lady Herbert who died unexpectedly in 1930. It lies beside the city’s ancient gates and incorporate part of the old city wall, too.
The Jigsaw Dance Company’s performance has been influenced by the work of Anna Halprin, a dancer from San Francisco, America. Halprin pioneered what became known as ‘postmodern dance’, and has been responsible for theatre artistry since the late 1930s.
Turner went on to add: “Dance today has evolved thanks for the work of Anna Halprin. She does not restrict herself to one performance space and her work has shaped the way dance and movement is taught as well as appreciated.
“A site-responsive piece like the one I am doing in Lady Herbert’s Garden takes its inspiration from the surroundings and my performance really connects with the space I am using.
“I have been getting a number of interesting looks from passers-by, especially when Lizzie and I are in rehearsal and I hope that when we do the performance in May, people will be intrigued enough to want to come and see how we’re making full use of the space.”