Night of Breath

Feel It Festival's Night of Breath was comprised of two pieces: Toby Young's choral piece Under the Surface and Kate Elswit, Ben Gimpert and Megan Nicely's dance piece Breath Catalogue. Under the Surface was commissioned for the Festival, whilst Breath Catalogue was an existing piece further developed and performed as part of the festival.

Three minute video showcasing the two pieces that formed the Feel It Festival Night of Breath. Credit: Pastles Productions

Under the Surface is a new choral work from composer Toby Young, commissioned specially for the occasion by the Life of Breath project. The piece explores the experience and isolation of people suffering from breathlessness, bringing this forgotten and invisible experience to life through song. The premiere was conducted by renowned musical director Stephen Rice, and Bristol University Singers performed alongside soloists from the internationally acclaimed Brabant Ensemble. 

Breath Catalogue is a collaborative dance theatre work which combines choreographic methods with medical technology to create a cabinet of breath curiosities in performance. With different tasks, the performers’ breath becomes unpredictable, messy, and varied. The catalogue makes it possible to collect and retrieve different breath samples through the process of live dance in order to make breath perceptible to the spectator. The piece uses capacitance resistance sensors from StretchSense. A wearable technology which gathers breath data during the Breath Catalogue performance and transmits it. Doing so is more than “tracking”; it enables the development of feedback loops that create new choreographic structures, in the process allowing the dancers to interact with their own breath in new, intimate, and palpable ways.

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