Dances With Purpose

Dances With Purpose_Backstage photo by the performers

Dances With Purpose (2012)

Matthias Sperling's Dances With Purpose, commissioned by EDge Dance Company, sees 12 contemporary dance artists embrace Morris dance and other folk and ritual forms in a riot of twirling hankies, jangling bells and whirling swords. By setting up a comparison between the dance contexts of village squares and theatre stages, the work provokes a lively reflection on the potential of contemporary dance to perform a real social function, in the coming together of audiences and performers as communities.

Choreographer: Matthias Sperling

Performers: Tim Chew, Jessica Hatfield, Erin Johnson, Michael Kitchin, Thomas Meyers, Simone Mousset, Ally Pickering, Jacque Price, Elisabeth Schilling, Katie Webster, Nicole West, Gracie Whyte Coad

Costume design by Sharon Coleman and Matthias Sperling

Dances based in part on YouTube videos of traditional folk dances, with respectful thanks to Moulton Morris Men and Newcastle Kingsmen Sword Dancers in particular.

Music based on traditional folk tunes including Shave The Donkey/Step And Fetch Her, Tetris/Korobeiniki, and the Tenpenny Bit, performed by the dancers on voice, accordion, kazoo, mobile phone and violin.

Klingon-language words and lyrics written by Matthias Sperling, drawing on English-language writings by choreographer Deborah Hay. With thanks to the inventor of the Klingon language, Marc Okrand, and the translation website

With thanks to Siobhan Davies for her artistic mentorship

Commissioned by EDge, the post-graduate touring company of London Contemporary Dance School.

Duration: 17 minutes

Performances: The Place (London, UK); SEAD (Salzburg, Austria); Danish National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance (Copenhagen, Denmark); Contact Theatre (Manchester, UK); Birr Theatre and Arts Centre (Birr, Ireland); Firkin Crane (Cork, Ireland); Casa de Artes (Portugal); Riley Theatre (Leeds, UK); Bay Theatre (Weymouth, UK); Queens Hall Arts Centre (Hexham, UK); The Maltings Theatre (Berwick-upon-Tweed, UK); The Space (Dundee, UK); Showroom (Chichester, UK); Trinity Theatre (Tunbridge Wells, UK); Gulbenkian Theatre (Canterbury, UK); Déda (Derby, UK); Exeter Phoenix (Exeter, UK); Artrix (Bromsgrove, UK); University of Plymouth Theatre (Plymouth, UK); Grantham Guildhall Arts Centre (Grantham, UK); Stamford Arts Centre (Stamford, UK).

Watch video documentation of Dances With Purpose here (begins at 1:22:30):


Read the Klingon script from Dances With Purpose, with English translation PDF