Machine Dance

Machine Dance is a truly unique performance concept from Motionhouse, featuring dancers and large construction diggers in a moving and poetic display portraying the strength yet vulnerability of the human form and the unlikely tenderness of the machines. 

Since 2004 we have been experimenting with performances involving dancers and machines. Our interest in this work stems from a fascination with both the extraordinary articulation and expressive capacity of construction machines - particularly JCB diggers – and also the sensitivity with which they can partner and complement human performers.

We believe that our Machine Dances offer a unique view on what it is to be human. The machine when it is turned off and parked is uninteresting. When the machine is moving as an extension of the driver’s body it is filled with a living spirit. This spirit is explored in our Machine Dances and we ask, in an engaging and often spectacular way, are our bodies simply the biological forms we are born with or are we able to extend them?

The original Machine Dance was created in 2004 as part of The Edge a huge promenade performance event that spanned the length of Watergate Bay, a tidal beach in Cornwall. The Edge marked the culmination of an extraordinary participatory and creative process entitled Road to the Beach. You can find out more about the project by clicking here.

Machine Dance was subsequently developed as an integral part of Renaissance, created by our Artistic Director Kevin Finnan for Greenwich+Docklands International Festival in 2006. Renaissance marked the commencement of work on the London 2012 Olympic site in London’s Lea Green and you can read more about the show by clicking here

Further, more recent, incarnations of Machine Dance have included Waiting Game, and Traction. Waiting Game is a two dancer/one digger trio originally commissioned by Bullring Birmingham in March 2011 as the ‘Breaking the Ground’ event to mark the commencement of construction on a new restaurant development phase of the shopping centre. Traction, with 6 dancers and 3 diggers, was created in November 2011 in response to a further commission from Bullring Birmingham. The show was created to launch the opening of the new development and generated huge public hype and massive audiences.

Traction was freshly recreated for the Marseille Provence European Capital of Culture celebrations 2013. An audience of 16,000 gathered along the beachfront at Prado Nord and the show’s reach extended beyond the immediate audience with widespread international press coverage.

Both Waiting Game and Traction remain in our repertoire and can be booked as part of your programme. Further information can be found by clicking on the links above.

Alternatively Machine Dance is available as a bespoke and unique event, specially created for your festival, event or occasion.  All Machine Dance events will be adapted to each location.  Machine Dance can be performed either day or night. We can also vary the number of machines and dancers depending on the needs of the presenter.

Bespoke projects or existing Machine Dance rep require the following:

  • Bespoke projects require a minimum of 5 days in a rehearsal area prior to presentation – ideally the performance area but if this is not viable a large open area is needed. Existing rep rehearsal period to be negotiated
  • Generator/electrical supply; lighting as needed; PA and sound playback
  • Stewards/health & safety support
  • Warm up studio for performers
  • Dressing room space for performers
  • Parking and security for machines

"Awesome! Brilliantly
choreographed; beautifully
executed – an inspiration
and a wonderful piece
of theatre"

Traction Audience Member


"Blown away by Waiting Game
a stunning acrobatic contemporary pas de deux with JCB Digger!"

Waiting Game Audience Member


"Excellent entertainment, unusual, clever & meaningful"
Road to the Beach Audience Member



Watch Us In Action    


Watch film footage of Traction


Watch film footage of Waiting Game


Watch film footage of Machine Dance

   
 

Image Gallery                    



Motionhouse's first Machine Dance was performed at Watergate Bay Cornwall for Road to the BeachMachine Dance - European Capital of Culture Celebrations, Marseille-Provence, 2013. Photography by Giuliano Berti.Motionhouse's playful Machine Dance trio, Waiting GameMotionhouse's Machine Dance Renaissance was produced for Greenwich+Docklands International Festival and marked the commencement of work on the London 2012 Olympic siteMachine Dance - European Capital of Culture Celebrations, Marseille-Provence, 2013. Photography by Giuliano Berti.

Motionhouse's Machine Dance Waiting GameRoad to the Beach was Motionhouse's first Machine DanceMotionhouse's Machine Dance RenaissanceMachine Dance - European Capital of Culture Celebrations, Marseille-Provence, 2013. Photography by Giuliano Berti.Motionhouse's first Machine Dance, Road to the Beach

Motionhouse's latest Machine Dance, TractionMachine Dance - European Capital of Culture Celebrations, Marseille-Provence, 2013. Photography by Giuliano Berti.Motionhouse's Machine Dance Traction premiered at Bullring Birmingham in November 2011Machine Dance - European Capital of Culture Celebrations, Marseille-Provence, 2013. Photography by Giuliano Berti.Motionhouse's Machine Dance Traction

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