Performance inspired by paradise
IMAGES of paradise were conjured up during a visit to Sheerness seafront, which inspired plans for a dance that will be performed in the town in September.
Dance production officer at Akademi, Lydia Fraser-Ward, who is producing the show, visited the Beachfields site and was immediately reminded of Paradiso, the third part of Italian poet Dante's Divine Comedy, in which he journeys through Heaven.
Fraser-Ward said: "It's an interesting place. There are raised areas and garden features but I was more excited by the sea wall, acting as a barrier. It's an unreachable place, however, as soon as you climb the steps and can see the beautiful sea view, the whole feel of the place changes."
The artist hopes the final show will consist of nine performances at different points throughout the site to reflect Dante's nine spheres of Heaven.
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Akademi combines south Asian dance with contemporary styles and Paradiso will feature Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance style inspired by ancient temple sculptures.
The idea for Sheerness' Paradiso is taken from a piece by the same name, which Akademi director Mira Kaushik developed in response to Hampstead Heath's famous Pergola, an Edwardian structure overlooking a hillside garden.
Both the London and Sheppey pieces are choreographed by Mayuri Boonham and several 20 to 25-minute performances will be given over two days.
Fraser-Ward concluded: "The dance piece will be colourful, full of character and otherworldly. We will be visiting the site again and running workshops, which are all about understanding the site better and getting to know the people who use it.
"It will be a great opportunity for residents to encounter something new and a bit different. Hopefully it will make them think about other creative projects they can make possible themselves in their community areas."
Paradiso will take place at Beachfields, between Sheppey Healthy Living Centre and Tesco, Sheerness, on Saturday and Sunday, September 10 and 11.
The company will run free dance workshops for 11 to 18-year-olds at Sheppey Healthy Living Centre from 10.30am to noon on Saturdays, August 13, 20 and 27 and September 3. All abilities are welcome, e-mail email@example.com to register.