Moving Cities: the 21st century metropolis explored through the language of dance

Moving Cities presents a series of short films by artistic director Jevan Chowdhury that uses dance to transcribe cities. Moving Prague is the latest in the series. The dramatic short features 58 Czech dancers including contemporary dance collective 420 People and the Czech National Ballet.

The goal is to build an inventory of contemporary art shorts that examine cities. The films do not exist to document a traditional dance or to map a city, but instead demolish and reconstruct a city through the movements of its people.

The films focus on cities at street level, underground and through the transport systems that connect their citizens to each other and to their environment. Dancers station themselves in public places and at times in challenging locations to perform choreography that melds the architecture and movement of their surroundings with their bodies. What results is cinematographically reminiscent of magical realism, and is inspired by such works as Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities.’

Jevan Chowdhury founded film and advertising studio Wind & Foster in 2001 and was exposed to cine-dance during his work directing the film 'Dancing Voices' for Westfield in 2010. He was inspired to create Moving Cities to mark the Centenary of the First World War, stating that:

‘Cities are a modern day phenomenon moving too fast for traditional media to clearly articulate. All unique and individual, they share similar qualities, particularly in relation to the concept of transition. This is what concerns Moving Cities: the space between destinations that no-one really talks about. To examine this, I'm using language we understand and emotionally connect with – dance.’

Moving Cities’ most recent commission, ‘Moving Prague’, comes from Festival Tanecnich Filmu and the British Council. Captured over 3 days, Moving Prague propels motion from completely different sources, then packs it back together again. The premise was to encourage dance artists and actors to respond to very real, very normal locations.

The film features some of Prague's most cutting edge performance artists including Czech National Ballet, 420PEOPLE, VerteDance, Marketa Jandova, Wahe Akopjan, ProjectWINGS and Projekt AWA.

Prague is the fifth city to be covered by Wind & Foster, which has previously produced films for London, Paris, Brussels, and Yerevan in Armenia.

Once the series amasses a substantial catalogue of cities from around the world, it will culminate in a single art installation available for exhibition. Production in Athens has just completed, while Vancouver, Tokyo, and New York are being considered as important future destinations.

The project, initiated in January 2014, has generated great social media interest. Moving Cities films have been selected as part of the official 2015 programmes of Clermont Ferrand, Cinedans, the Seoul International Film Festival, Uppsala Sweden, and Taos International, New Mexico. They have also been voted Best Film at the Plein La Bobine Festival and received an Honourable Mention at the IFFCA Cinematic Arts Festival in Los Angeles. The films are shared via social media and online and can be viewed on Vimeo. So far, they include:

Moving Prague, 2015

Moving Yerevan, 2014

Moving Paris, 2014

Moving Brussels, 2014

Moving London, 2014