Latitude Festival: Loie Fuller’s butterfly dance reimagined

Loie Fuller, c1902

Loie Fuller, c1902

Dancer Louise Colborne is reimagining the famous butterfly dance of Loie Fuller in a new film to be screened at this year’s Latitude Festival. Dancer at the Folies Bergère at the turn of the twentieth century, Fuller was a pioneer of multimedia performance. She projected coloured lights and images onto her voluminous, silk dress and used sticks inside her sleeves to extend the apparent length of her arms, creating an other-worldly, butterfly-like augmented human form.

Last week Louise and I met at the Speaky Spokey, a brilliant new spoken word event in Brighton. When Louise saw me play a short theremin set at the end of the night, she was struck by the resonances between the movements of a thereminist and those of early cybernetic dancers such as Fuller. So today, Louise recorded me playing the theremin. She’ll weave sound and video of my performance into her film of the reimagined butterfly dance – you can catch it at one of the short film nights at Latitude this year. Judging by the still below, showing Louise in action, the result should be compelling and eerie. I very much hope to make it to Latitude myself in 2012.

The dance, as reimagined by Colborne. Here, the dancer's costume is dark, in a bright outdoor space.