Canning Town Trio a ju90 Film © 2011

Canning Town Trio is an animation of the motion paths of three traditional English 17th-century dances: 'Gathering Peascods'; 'Hey, Boys, Up Go We'; and 'Newcastle' - or rather, a version of the motion paths which has been adapted to suit the needs of the screen and the geometric shapes being used. The animations combine the urban aesthetic and sounds of the computer game, with the enduring East End landscape, and the echoes of the shipyard and the music of an early 20th century community which was already as culturally diverse in 1911 as it is today.

The animations were created for the Canning Town Folk exhibition at Cecil Sharp House, the HQ of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), to celebrate their centenary in 2011. The dances were originally published by Cecil Sharp in 1911, at a time when mass unemployment and the closure of the shipyard Thames Ironworks meant that life in Canning Town was very hard. Then as now, dance was both an art form and a positive means for young people to form friendships and to do things together. Read Canning Town Folk to learn the stories of a community that had been described by Charles Dickens as being "Londoners over the border", of the folk-dancing women who played such a significant role in the cultural history of East London, and of the author who, in fictionalising it all in her books for girls, recorded it for us here today.

For details of a wheelchair dance project inspired by the animations, see the Folk in Motion website.

11 mins (approx)

 

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