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Dancing on the Steps of the Senedd: Dance, Politics and Belonging

Siriol Joyner

The Welsh Assembly and the Dance House/Y Ty Dawns, home to National Dance Company Wales (NDCW), in Cardiff Bay, could not have been built closer to one another. Dancing in the Dance House studio, my horizon is Ty Hywel and the bureaucrats’ office, which is set at the back of the Assembly Chamber just as the studio is Y Ty Dawns’s backstage. What does presence engender? The presence of dance in a building made for politics, and the presence of politics in a building made for dance? Y Ty Dawns and the Welsh Assembly may be home to the seemingly disparate practices of dance-making and policy-making but their proximity is meaningful; indeed their influence on each other could be recursive.

My proposal is that these actions are not only informed by their proximity, but that the nature of the acts themselves are altered by the presence of the other.

I am not thinking of politicians being inspired by dancing during their lunch breaks or of any responsibility that NDCW might have to the Welsh Government or the Arts Council of Wales. Rather, I mean that the nature of dancing and the dancing body can be changed by the presence of political power, and that the act of politics can change due to the presence of dance.

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