Grief Dances

Grief Dances

Grief Dances is a project in development to be realised in 2020-21.

Gillie’s mother died in April 2016. For almost two years before that, Gillie took part in her care as her health deteriorated. Gillie’s grief began the moment she heard of the terminal diagnosis, and continues, though the acute pain, the last blow after so many exhausting months witnessing and supporting a very sick loved one, has passed.

During this time, Gillie danced. She toured two performances in which she danced by herself and with others. She danced in her back garden. She forced a reluctant boyfriend to slow dance; later, on the day of her mother’s death, he would do a small twirl for her while walking the dog. She wept on a dance floor, surrounded by friends. She jumped and jumped and jumped, holding a friend, on the uneven earth at a festival, lungs heaving and ankles twisting. A few days before her mother’s death, she got stuck in her hallway listening to a podcast about a different mother’s cancer, and the only way to move was to move, to really move, to dance.

Grief Dances is a book, maybe an experimental novel, maybe a series of short stories, a collection of poems. More than any of that, it’s an account of dances, an account of grief through dances. It is a choreography rendered through words.

Initial research supported by a Developing Your Creative Practice Grant from Arts Council England.

Writer  Gillie Kleiman
Outside eye  Deborah Pearson
Producer  Beckie Darlington



friend is a project in development to be realised in 2020-21.

friend is a dance to be performed by non-professional performers in their homes for audiences of their friends. It is a distinct choreography, a particular one, a purposeful and delicate one, a dance which could only ever be offered in the context of a friendship. The performance builds on the intimacies and difficulties of friendship, celebrating and questioning the importance of friendship through an unusual set of invitations between choreographer, performer and audience.

Working with organisations, performers will be approached to take part in a series of group and one-on-one workshops which will allow them to find their own version of the choreography. As part of this process, they will identify and invite a number of friends who will be asked to come to the performance in the performer’s home. There is no ticket price; instead, the audience members will be asked to bring a dish to share. After the performance, over the meal, the choreographer and performer will host a discussion about dance, friendship and their shared potentials.


Supported by Arts Council England through Project Grants as well as residency, financial, and producing support from Dance4 and Yorkshire Dance.

Choreographer  Gillie Kleiman
Filmmaker  Sara Lindström
Producers  Beckie Darlington and Tanya Steinhauser for Yorkshire Dance



‘There cannot be just one companion species; there have to be at least two to make one. It is in the syntax; it is in the flesh.’

Donna Haraway, The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People and Significant Otherness

Familiar is a twinset of performances on significant otherness. One authored by Kleiman and performed by Wohead, the other authored by Wohead and performed by Kleiman, the two are twisted together with the help of story, song and spit.

Springboarding from a question of companionship, Kleiman and Wohead reach for something altogether more mysterious: a shaggy dog story danced by Twin Peaks’ legendary Log Lady, speaking from the beyond to enable the pair to become others of significance then and there in the theatre.

Set amongst an original design by celebrated artist Tim Spooner, the works in Familiar play out what it means to be companions, where we think we know everything about each other whilst facing the fact that we can’t.

Commissioned by Dance City and Fierce Festival. Supported by ARC Stockton, Wainsgate Chapel, Shoreditch Town Hall, Northern Stage, Northumbria University and Roehampton University.

Concept, direction, choreography, performance  Gillie Kleiman and Greg Wohead
Design  Tim Spooner
Lighting Design  Nao Nagai
Original Music  Sammy Metcalfe
Producer  Beckie Darlington
Outside Eye  Wendy Houstoun
Production Manager  Simon Henderson

17-19 October 2019 - Birmingham Repertory Theatre as part of Fierce Festival
12 March 2020 - Dance City, Newcastle upon Tyne

Familiar will tour in Spring 2021. Promoters should contact Beckie Darlington.



Familiar featured as part of a five-star review of Fierce Festival.



In 2019, Gillie completed her PhD project, ‘Recreation and Significant Others: seeking post-work possibilities in contemporary choreography’ under the supervision of Dr Simon Bayly and Dr Sara Houston. Examiners Professor Emilyn Claid and Professor Nicholas Ridout passed the work with no corrections.

The thesis is available via the University of Roehampton repository.



Highly visual, unabashedly experimental and underscored by generous humour, Recreation is a choreography about work. Rather, it's about the things that we do that aren't work, or that aren't quite work. It's a show about caring, about cooking, about sex, about gardening and meditating and singing in the kitchen and playing 5-a-side, and, of course, about dancing.

Performed by professional, not-quite-professional and non-professional dancers – including guest performers local to each venue - Recreation is a lamentation for leisure, a choreographed question of labour, a danced demand for seeing our value beyond our work.

Commissioned by ARC Stockton, Shoreditch Town Hall, and Yorkshire Dance. Supported by Arts Council England, Rajni Shah Projects, Dance4, and via South East Dance and Jerwood Charitable Foundation Dramaturg in Residence programme. With special thanks to Dance City and Northumbria University.

Choreography Gillie Kleiman
Performers Amanda Drago, Victoria Guy and Kit Haigh plus guests
Design and illustration Emer Tumilty
Lighting Designer George Leigh
Producer Beckie Darlington
Artistic Advisor (dramaturgy) Roberta Jean
Artistic Advisor (sound) Nicola Singh
Photography Camilla Greenwell

Generous crowdfunding donors:

Charlie Ashwell
Christopher Brett Bailey
Katy Baird
Hetty Blades
Hannah Buckley
Sara Burges Houston
Paul Burns
Ramsay Burt
Lydia Catterall
Iris Chan
Hugo Chapman
Seke Chimutengwende
Francis Christeller
Rachael Clerke
Theo Clinkard
Jo Cork
Jennifer Curry
John Darlington
Sue Davies
Wieke Eringa
Kitty Fedorec
Andy Field
Rachel Fullegar
Anna Goodman
Miriam Gould
Susie Green
Camilla Greenwell
Chantal Guevara

Alison Hargreaves
Christie Hill
Katherine Hollinson
R Justin Hunt
Ruth Johnson
Carole Jones
Lloyd & Wilson
Avner Kleiman
Tal Kleiman
Lizzie Klotz
Alice Mackenzie
Leah Marojevic
Steph McMann
James Morgan
Jon Opie
Gary Pritchard
Annie Rigby
Rosalie Schweiker
Ellie Sikorski
Lucy Suggate
Louise Tanoto
Alicia Jane Turner
Robert Vesty
Helena Webb
Sophie Williams Brown
Aaron Wright
Michal Yeshanov
Adam Young

9 June 2017 – Yorkshire Dance, Leeds (Preview performance)

22 June 2017 – ARC, Stockton (Premiere)

24 October 2017 - Shoreditch Town Hall, London

19 November 2017 - BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead

…neither use nor ornament

neither use nor ornament

...neither use nor ornament was a research project in 2013-4. It was a solo project, obsessed with ornament, wherein I invited three independent choreographers to come and be the guest director. I was working with myself as a performer and as a director, how I could pass on information, and how I could develop my skills. The invited choreographers were Gaby Agis, Theo Clinkard and Roberta Jean.

Photography Gillie Kleiman / Susie Green
Invited choreographers Gaby Agis / Theo Clinkard / Roberta Jean 

Supported by Artsadmin


The Third Chamber

The Third Chamber

is the third house of parliament - an appendix to the House of Lords and the House of Commons - made up of volunteers. During each sitting, members of the public can write to a Member of the Third Chamber (MTC) and/or volunteer to become an MTC and answer one of these letters.

Choreography Political Animal (Gillie Kleiman and Hamish MacPherson)
Photography Hamish MacPherson

Supported by Rajni Shah and Beyond Glorious, LEAP, and Ludus Festival

Presented at Brunswick Centre (London), Ludus Dance (Lancaster), Beeston Park (Leeds), Merrion Centre (Leeds), Bramely Shopping Centre (Leeds) between 2013 and 2015.

A Lyrical Dance Concert

A Lyrical Dance Concert

A Lyrical Dance Concert is a party in a comedy double act in a cabaret show in a gig in an experimental dance performance. Number-by-ridiculous-number, the lyrics of chart hits past and present are danced out – stretched, turned, lifted and thrown. With joyful irreverence and serious fun, the show insists that pop music belongs to us and can do what we want it to do. Get your glad-rags on, grab a drink and a pal, and giggle along with this mixed-up whirlwind of glamorous divas, guitar solos and gangster rappers…

Choreography Gillie Kleiman and Sara Lindström
Performers Gillie Kleiman and Sara Lindström (2013)/ Eleanor Sikorski (2014/5)
Producer Beckie Darlington (2014/5 tour)
Additional design Susie Green
Photography Martyn Boston / Camilla Greenwell

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Production and 2013 tour co-produced by Dance4.

Generous crowdfunding donors:

Richard Bliss
Anaïs Bouts
Tony Burch
Lynn Campbell
Iris Chan
Kate Craddock
Kattrin Deufert
Laurent-David Garnier
Ina Dokmo
Claire Hicks
Catherine Hoffman
Cate and Avner Kleiman
Tal Kleiman
Karen Lambæk
Malin Lindström
Solveig and Ingemar Lindström
Christer Lundahl
Alice MacKenzie
Hamish MacPherson
Tom Martin

Matthew Mazzucchi
Marian Milbourne
Angela Miles
Paul O’Keeffe
Joakim Olsson
Nathalie Paris
Hetain Patel
Luke Pell
H Plewis
Thomas Plischke
Verity Quinn
Tim Rubidge
Martina Seitl
Ellie Sikorski
Robbie Synge
Lucy Teed
Ruth Turner
Annabel Turpin
Debbie Waistell
Flora Wellesley Wesley


At the end of every performance we recorded a music video with the audience members. Only those present got the password - you had to be there! The videos are here:

As part of our research we asked questions. We shared these questions with other artists, who responded in various ways. You can see these answers here:


Documentation available on request



Jam Café (excerpts), Nottingham, March 2013

Create Theatre, Mansfield, March 2013

Jam Café (full show), Nottingham, March 2013

Mink, Middlesbrough, April 2013

Dance City, Newcastle, April 2013

GIFT, Gateshead, April 2013

Y Theatre, Leicester, June 2013

Newark Palace Theatre, June 2013

Picturedrome, Northampton, June 2013

Create Theatre, Mansfield, June 2013

Lincoln Drill Hall, Lincoln, June 2013

Stratford Circus as part of Dance Umbrella, London, October 2013

Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich, November 2014

Greenwich Dance, London, November 2014

Shoreditch Town Hall, November 2014

Nightingale Theatre at The Basement, Brighton, November 2014

Seven Arts, Leeds, November 2014

Northern Stage, Newcastle, February 2015

The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed, February 2015

Double Act

Double Act

a diptych of dance, celebrating comedy

DOUBLE ACT takes beloved forms of comedy and filters them through choreography to create two distinct but related dance performances in one evening.



In the first work of the evening, Double Act, the stand-up comics have been silenced, their movements rendered dance. The hand-flicks, chin-strokes, and finger-points of stand-up comedians from around the world are brought together to form an intricate and virtuosic choreography. But it is stand-up, nonetheless, and you will be enthusiastically invited to heckle at the dancers, in a performance that shifts between delicate dancing and eager rabble-rousing. You bring the cheers and claps – we’ll give you the tomatoes to throw, and the reason to throw them.

Imagine what might have happened if the Smack the Pony team met the Muppets and decided to make a moving sculpture, or if Monty Python had taken on Pina Bausch in slow-motion, and you’d come close to the evening’s second work, The Mermaid and The Hammer. Set amongst what could be the contents of Mighty Boosh props storeroom, two dancers move through a world of constant transformations, each scenario as ridiculous as the next. Suspending the punchline for each twist of logic, divas, giraffes and mermaids appear and disappear in a circulating game of joke-hunting.



Choreographed and performed by Gillie Kleiman and Karen Lambæk
Photography Eleanor Sikorski

This work was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England with additional support from ARC, Newcastle College, Pianofabriek, Vooruit and WorkSpaceBrussels.




ARC, Stockton Arts Centre, October 2012

Chisenhale Dance Space, London, October 2012

BELLY of The Beast, Sadler's Wells, London, January 2013

The Democratic Dance Team

The Democratic Dance Team


I like to write to Members of Parliament. I like to write to them because through this I exercise my democratic muscle, muscle that can sometimes get wasted away despairing and complaining about the things that are happening around me. I like to write to them because it reminds me, and them, that elected persons are responsible to the people who live here and not the other way around.

This is a kind of dance, a choreography that re-routes powers with new actions. It’s a movement in and of itself, and it produces new waves of motion. It’s a dance that I could try alone, but that I’d rather do with others. You are invited to join me. I will be waiting, ready to talk about what is important to us, and ready to make moves by writing to those who might be choreographing our worlds in ways we want to rethink.


Public House at Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, London, July 2012

The Nightingale Theatre, Brighton, January 2013

//BUZZCUT//, Glasgow, March 2013

GIFT, Gateshead, May 2013

Steakhouse Live at Holloway Arts Festival, June 2014


Documentation and blog: