Behind The Scenes – Richard Chappell Dance

Published March 16, 2016


Photo Credit: Gemma Ward Photography

Despite being just 20 years old, Richard Chappell is already making waves in the dance world, with The Guardian describing him as ‘a choreographer to watch’. This April his dance company will present three works at Exeter Phoenix.

The program of work – IRIS, Burnt Norton, and The Vast Rocks – marks the starting point of Richard’s creative development and choreographic journey. Drawing heavily on the environments and geographical locations that have influenced him, these shows explore aspects of the South West’s landscape, as well as contrasting this with other places that have provided geographical influence.

Speaking about the work, Richard has said

This program is a creative effort for me to find my feet as a choreographer by actively latching onto my past and present geographical inspirations. The places I’ve inhabited and the people and the landscapes which have made them home have shaped me as a person and as a dancer and I hope that exposing audiences to this personal and sometimes vulnerable stance to my work will give them a unique window into the language I am currently researching and developing.’

Having developed a unique and hugely full-bodied movement language, Richard Chappell Dance are able to communicate this by working with highly skilled professional dancers at peak fitness and ability. This results in highly physical, aesthetically pleasing work which relies on the dancers’ strength, endurance, flexibility and agility.

Speaking about the unique language Richard Chappell has developed, Richard says

‘I have spent the last three years developing a movement language based around my experiences in classical ballet, contemporary dance, capoeira and improvisation. These forms and aesthetics have been matched with encouragement for the dancers to really lose themselves in the program in order to present each performance as a shared unique experience for themselves and the audience.’

The company is laced with a great sense of youthful energy and rigour, with all but one of the creatives involved being under the age of 22.


Find out more about Richard Chappell Dance’s Exeter show here >>