Hanging Heavy

Do we feel dance as well as see it? In a time of running to keep up with life how can we experience the present?

What do we feel when we encounter intimate dance performance?

Exploring Somatic Sensation – what do we feel when we encounter intimate dance performance?

Choreographed by Nina Atkinson – Dance Artist: Founder and Artistic Director of Loop Dance Company, Lecturer at Canterbury Christchurch University (pt0.8) and Honorary Fellow at University of Roehampton.
As part of her studies towards her Ph.D. at The Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University. Nina’s research interests are creating artwork for unusual spaces, from large-scale site-specific work to intimate installation experiences. The work is reflective of her dance perspective, emotive and human in its interaction with the viewer. Many of these works have been created in collaboration with artists from different genres bringing creative souls together in a meaningful partnership has become an expertise.
Hanging Heavy is a practice initiated research project investigating Kinaesthetic Empathy, how audiences react to live performance (focusing on immersive and intimate work).


About Hanging Heavy 2023

Kinaesthetic empathy involves the internal ‘simulation’ of observed movement in the brain of the observer; this simulation of others’ actions contributes to action understanding and empathy. For example, when we see someone expressing an emotion, the emotion is embodied through our neural and physiological response. It is not known whether this response is dependent on sight, or can be experienced in a more direct ‘somatic’ manner.

The immersive dance performance piece ‘Hanging Heavy’ is the result of the 5 year project ‘Exploring Somatic Sensation (ESS)’. This immersive performance project investigates kinaesthetic empathy focusing on intimate work that immerses the audience in the work in collaboration with cognitive neuro-scientists from BEAMlab (University of Manchester). The project builds on the pilot project which questioned if vision stimulates kinaesthetic empathy by testing audience reactions. We carried out tests to investigate by measuring things such as spontaneous movement & arousal. Interestingly, we discovered that audiences were reacting to the work physically, heart rates were elevated & were synchronizing with the dancer’s. The Encounters Tour 2023 is the 4th and final phase of ESS and involves refined data collection informed by the previous stages.
Nina Atkinson
Dancers of Encounters Tour
Becca Townsley,
Effie Mcguire-Ward,
Harriet Parker-Joy
Clarisse Roud
Music Sabio Janiak
Lighting Design
Dr Andy Hurst

Hanging Heavy III

In association with Canterbury Christ Church Universities Arts and Culture, with Dr Andy Hurst lighting and projecting a new light scape, be a part of the experiment for Nina’s third version of Hanging Heavy.

Join us at the renovated church of St Gregory’s Music Hall for the special site-specific version of Nina Atkinson’s Hanging Heavy.

Performed by professional dancers – 2 from the orignal Loop dance company – and a multi-generational community cast of dancers.

Performance18 June, 8pm

Venue –  St Gregory’s Music Centre, Canterbury Chirst Church University, North Holmes Rd, Canterbury, CT1 1NY

“Do come, it is to be a sensory and visual experience!”

See the Performance18 June at CCCU, Canterbury

lottery_logo_black-rgbThe collective have began working with Nina Atkinson since 2016 on a this research project, previously titled Exploring Somatic Sensation – A project supported by Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts funding.

Check out the Hanging Heavy film here

First image: Dancers in rehearsals, looking upwards from kneeling and hovering above the floor from kneeling.
Second Image: Site-Specific at Kings Cross Train Station, London.
Performers in all: Kiran Chudasama, Daisy Farris, Aaron, Becca Townsley, Harriet Parker-Beldeau.