how to dance in a war zone header image twelve days of dance base

Twelve Days of Dance Base: ‘How Do You Dance in a War Zone?’

Nicola Kenny

This year, Dance Base, supported by Assembly Festival and the British Council, worked with acclaimed dance photographers Maria Falconer and Paul Hill, to create the art show ‘How Do You Dance in a War Zone?’


Part of August’s Fringe Festival, this unique exhibit spotlighted the work of Ukrainians using dance as a form of resistance to the ongoing Russian invasion.

‘How Do You Dance in a War Zone? ’ originated from a remark made by Maria in April 2022. She was attending a Dance Base online conversation discussing the war in Ukraine and the future of its artists. Speaking at the event was Viktor Ruban, a choreographer, dancer, and director based in Kyiv. Following the discussion, Maria asked Viktor ‘how do you dance in a war zone?’

Immediately inspired by the question and following conversation, the decided they had to find the answer. Maria and fellow photographer Paul Hill decided to visit Ukraine. Their objective was to see for themselves how the Ukrainian dance community was responding to the war.

In May 2023 Paul and Maria spent two weeks in Lviv and Kyiv. There they collaborated with Viktor, a number of dance artists, and sound artist Grigory Semenchuk. What they saw astonished and impressed them; wide and varied artistic responses that they felt privileged to witness.

Speaking on her experiences, Maria said, “When I first posed the question to Viktor ‘how do you dance in a war zone?’, I really wasn’t prepared for his response. The enormity of the question took him a little by surprise and after a brief attempt to provide a simple explanation for such a complex event, he neatly batted it back to me with an invitation to visit Ukraine to see for myself.”

She continued; “The resulting exhibition was the culmination of two trips to Ukraine (Lviv and Kyiv) by two photographic artists, myself, Maria Falconer, and my partner Paul Hill, in collaboration with Viktor Ruban, sound artist Grigory Semenchuk and an amazing group of Ukrainian contemporary dance artists.”

‘How Do You Dance in a War Zone?’ posed poignant questions to its audience, and received critical acclaim from attendees. We at Dance Base were proud to play a part in it.



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Find out more about 'How Do You Dance in a War Zone?'