'Guerrilla Dances' is a series of live solo performance interventions and part of an ongoing research project that includes a book publication. Developing a repertoire of short intervention dance pieces, 'Guerrilla Dances' reconstructs and researches archive choreography to present both fact and fiction into coherent sequence of vignettes that tag any performance, like a Banksy of the dance-world, and anarchically cuckoo other practitioners stage space. Produced with a £5,000 ACESE production award, this performance project sustains profile and practice as an independent mature artist whilst continuing to develop work beyond the conventional parameters of dance presentation. Presentations 08/09 include: British Dance Edition Liverpool 30/1- 2/2/08, Caravan British Council Showcase at the Brighton Festival 11-13/5/08, National Waterfront Museum Swansea 13/7/08, ICA London 4/8/08, Glasgow Merchant City Festival 26-28/9/08, Frieze/Zoo Art Fairs London 17-19/10/08, Stockholm, Malmo, Gothenburg 24/10 - 2/11/08, Lisbon Dance Festival 09 and Loikka Dance Film Festival, Helsinki, Finland, 2009.
As an interdisciplinary practitioner and hybrid artist, I research screen, live and text space in relationship to dance. Current practice; sustaining profile within national and international screen dance circuits; developing live routes that push boundaries of presentation within conventional dance practice; developing and producing a book. Trajectory undertaken as follows: in keeping with my personal dance genealogy, 'Guerrilla Dances' emerged from a sustained period of practical research into predominantly female European Ausdruckstanz solo performances, directly inspired by former teachers/mentors Hanya Holm and Hilde Holger. The background process included: choreography and direction of a faux archive screen dance film Diva awarded £6,400 FRSF 2007 now touring international screen dance festivals: choreography of a new live work Don’t put Your Daughter on the Stage 2008 commissioned by University of Chichester touring UK: 'Guerrilla Dances' a series of dance interventions awarded £5,000 ACESE 2008: 'Guerrilla Dances' The Book publication 2009, using photogravure, in collaboration with photographer Matthew Andrews (funding TBC).
Research methods for 'Guerrilla Dances' include: revealing archaeology and uncovering history from photographic and text evidence: taking new narratives from old forms: creating a momento of a performing self within a new context. Re-archiving these performances as new presentations in turn becomes its’ own documentary evidence. As a solo female dancer the body and stage space is littered with prior constructs. This research attends to the transgressive and subversive expressive aging and fleshy body and exceeds expectations of what ‘this’ particular dancing body should be doing and where she should be doing it. Thus an interventionist model has emerged that responds to the shifting nature of live practices, and is conceived from the perspective of a post modern, solo, mature dance artist sustaining personal practice at national and international level. Whilst resurrecting, reconstructing, reinventing and substituting dance history into contemporary practice, 'Guerrilla Dances' are nonetheless apocryphal performance interventions that: ask the audience to consider the distinction between biography and autobiography, fact and fiction: defy theatre conventions and disrupt cultural borders: liberate delivery associated with theatrical, technical, and location conventions: are self contained and independent, demanding their own conditions, and defy prescriptive approaches to audience and marketing. Neither site specific or site sensitive, these interventions have to date been invited for presentation at a broad spectrum of national and international showcases, including conferences, museums, screen and dance festivals and art fairs, all of which are indicative of the scope for future dissemination. The research undertaken for 'Guerrilla Dances' has spawned a future collaborative photographic research project that redefines the reconstructed archive dancer and the photograph.
Review from BDE Liverpool:
Liz Aggiss! she named her new collection of surprise appearances aptly indeed – 'Guerrilla Dances'. They are apocryphic pieces based on historical personalities of dance and their work. How did it look like? During break or before the performance, when people usually shift in their seats switching off cells and finishing sandwiches, she stepped onto the scene and speaking through a trumpet claimed our attention. As we calmed down, each time more eagerly, she rewarded us with short cartoon sketches from the history of dance. For example, Mary Wigman wore a wide black skirt and pulling its hem over her head she made her dark performative art even darker. Then she turned around so that we could get a proper look at her. Mary may have stepped out of her grave, if she knew Liz didn’t put on any knickers. We could see only a few scraps from this treasure but there is no doubt that this Vivienne Westwood of dance is a living jewel of the United Kingdom.
(Jana Návratová 'Dance Zone Magazine' (translation) Prague)