Stir - Performances

gallery blog

August 29th & 30th 2009
11.30am and 2.30pm both days
Wategate St. Chester.

A large company of professional and community dancers caused a stir along Watergate St and Rows.

Inspired by the waters of the Dee River that once flowed that once brought trade ships and merchants right up to Water Gate and all the people looking that hidden treasure in Chester's independent retail quarter.

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Press Article 19th August
Chester Chronicle and Chester Standard

19th August 2009

Dancers from the Chester’s Mulberry Centre have joined forces with Cheshire Dance through the support of Big Storage to add another distinctly local flavour to the Stir performance project, taking place this Bank Holiday Saturday and Sunday at the finale of Chester Performs’ Roam the Rows event.

Dancers from the Mulberry Centre are now part of a 40 strong company of professional and community performers, whose final rehearsals will culminate over the weekend in a real spectacle of a performance. Stir, an outdoor performance project produced by leading dance organisation Cheshire Dance, is inspired by the history of Watergate Street. Spanning from its days as a major port on the River Dee where ships berthed and merchants traded, right up to today where shoppers and visitors find buried treasures in the range of independent shops and soak up the rich cultural heritage of the rows and the street’s bustling nightlife.

The involvement of the Mulberry Centre in the project has been made possible by Andrew Donaldson at BIG Storage in Chester. Andrew commented: ‘We are delighted to support Cheshire Dance and the Mulberry Centre, who are one of our neighbours on Sealand Road, for this unique event. I can’t wait to see what they all come up with but since becoming involved in the project it is clearly building into something very special, a real celebration of Chester, the diversity of its communities and its rich cultural life.’

Dave Redpath, a support worker at the Mulberry Centre said: ‘Our service users have really loved working with all the professionals form Cheshire Dance on the Stir performance project. We always enjoy being part of integrated performances and taking part in local community activities. Dance is one of the many arts based courses offered to service users which usually take place in our specialised Mulberry Theatre.’

Jacqueline McCormick, Dance Director at Cheshire Dance commented: ‘Cheshire Dance has a long history of promoting inclusion through the arts so we were delighted to secure the support of Big Storage and involve dancers from the Mulberry Centre. I’m sure it’s a really daunting prospect to commit to performing a dance piece right in the middle of Chester City Centre and alongside a large group of professional dancers, but right from the outset of the rehearsals, the Mulberry’s involvement has had a tremendous impact on the whole project, the dancers are bubbling with enthusiasm and so willing to try something completely new. They’ve been an inspiration to all of us.’

Ruth Spencer, the Chester-based co-choreographer of Stir, alongside Jacqueline has been working with the group of dancers at the Mulberry Centre, supported by Sadie Walker of Cheshire Dance. Ruth said: ‘The dancers have picked up on the watery theme of the piece right from the start. They’ve needed very little encouragement or guidance and have come up with movement of such stunning fluidity that Arlene Philips, the Government’s new Dance Champion, would no doubt, score them with a maximum 10.’

Amber Knipe, Programme Manager, Chester Performs commented: ‘We are delighted to be working with Cheshire Dance on this fantastic project. Stir offers the perfect finale to Roam the Rows, Chester Performs’ free community street arts event which has taken place over four weekends in August.’

Stir will be premiered on the August Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August, at 11.30am and 2.30pm, along Watergate Street and Rows.


Press Article week commencing 20th July 2009
Chester Evening Leader, Chester Chronicle, Flintshire Chronicle, Liverpool Post


The days when the River Dee stretched into the centre of Chester have inspired a brand new outdoor performance.

Stir will see 40 professional and community dancers take over Watergate Street - once at the river's edge and a key player in the city's status as a global port – as part of Roam the Rows, Chester Performs' free summer festival.

Stir will be premiered on the August Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August, at 11.30am and 2.30pm, along Watergate Street and Rows.

The piece, produced by leading dance organisation Cheshire Dance, is inspired by the history of Watergate Street, spanning from the days the River Dee was a major port where ships birthed and merchants traded right up to the independent shopping quarter and bustling nightlife scene it has today.

Amber Knipe, Programme Manager, Chester Performs said ‘This was a unique opportunity to work with another leading arts organisation based in the region. Roam the Rows is a celebration of Chester, and we felt Stir embodied this idea.’

Inspired by the river and the bustle of contemporary life, the dancers will perform in both small and large groups as they journey along the Street and Rows, performing a range of actions to reflect the changing and unpredictable nature of the river.

Jacqueline McCormick, Dance Director for Cheshire Dance, has teamed up with Chester based artist, Ruth Spencer, to choreograph the piece. Jacqueline said ‘We are really excited to be teaming up with Chester Performs and creating a brand new dance performance for Roam the Rows. Chester is a unique city for making art and all the Stir dancers are honoured to become the latest in a long tradition of artists inspired to create work here.’

The piece will be premiered during the August Bank Holiday weekend in Chester.


‘Roam the Rows’ is a community driven street arts festival on Chester’s rows and streets, led by Chester Performs and which takes place every August.

Stir - Residential CPD

Preparations for Stir have already begun. A group of artists attended a weeklong residential at Trafford Hall, just outside Chester in June.

Together the team is exploring a through line from intensive training into performance, deepening the process of engagement with site and other dancers. Led by Jacqueline McCormick and Ruth Spencer, its been a great opportunity for performers to journey and collaborate with other dance artists both regionally and nationally. The artists will be joined by 2 community groups and will rehearse together prior to the culmination in Chester city centre in 4 daytime performances, 29th and 30th August 2009.

The intensive 5 day residential training/retreat explored:
• Immersing ourselves deeply in creative work
• Pursuing our movement ideas and compositional structures with attention to the present moment
• Investigating site through our senses
• Exploring each individuals unique way of being in the space

Venue: Chester Rows and Trafford Hall, Mickle Trafford, Cheshire, a Georgian house (built in 1756) set in 14 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens.


Questions? Call Jody or Lesley-Ann on on 01606 861770 or email



Cheshire Dance works with partners to devise bespoke projects with your specific needs in mind. Please contact Adam Holloway on 01606 861770 to discuss a project you'd be interesting in developing with us.

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