Shoe Dances with Elisabeth Schilling

1st Apr · Dawn Hawkins

Artist Elisabeth Schilling tells us about a new dance/art project you can take part in from the comfort of home.

Artist Elisabeth Schilling tells us about a new dance/art project you can take part in from the comfort of home.

Elisabeth Schilling is a dancer and choreographer originally from Germany; her practice is often of an interdisciplinary nature, meaning that two art forms create a work in close relationship – together. Recent works have involved the meeting of dance, design and visual art. Elisabeth has toured to museums, galleries, black box theatres as well as multi-arts venues around Scotland and Europe. Her two most recent works – SIXFOLD and FELT – have come to the Barn and Elisabeth is currently working on a performance that explores the relationship between music and dance which is set to premiere at the end of this year and tour internationally in 2021.

What are Shoe Dances?

Shoe Dances came about due to the isolation and quarantine of individuals because COVID – 19. It’s a really simple task; I invite people to put on their favorite shoes, dance with them and to film this dance (ideally only the shoes so that the rest of the body is not visible). I publish the films of these ‘shoe dances’ almost daily, creating a big film of all shoe dances coming together.

As the lockdowns started all across Europe and in the UK some weeks ago, many friends lost almost all or all their upcoming work. I experienced them getting very sad and thus I wanted to come up with a funny and joyful idea to keep encouraging them to be creative and uplifted in this difficult time.

One Friday morning, I posted a shoe dance in my story on Instagram and encouraged people to do some shoe dances in return and send them back to me… and the response grew and grew… So the project developed really naturally and wasn’t at all thought of ‘as an artistic project’ to start with.

Watch it here:

Shoe Dances is not specifically an ‘artistic project’, but more one of solidarity and hopefully joy. Thinking back on how it evolved, the artistry comes from people from all around the globe in the same situation creating an individual response to the same creative idea. The project is created through all the contributions I have been receiving and not by myself as an artist. I guess I just started the ball rolling and now help sharing all the beautiful shoe dances.

The response has been absolutely fascinating. I received many very diverse shoe dances from all over the world from both women and men, old and young, mobile or immobile people. Some shoe dances reached us from Australia, from a balcony in Italy, a beach on the Maldives or even New York. We have many wonderful contributions from Europe as well. We had professional dancers participating, established choreographers, renowned art professionals as well as toddlers, kids, dancers, non-dancers, people from any profession. All contributions remain anonymous. Only I know who really took part, but I keep that a secret. I guess there is a beautiful tension in seeing the film and not knowing who is currently dancing. This fact reminds us of all our humanness, just as the current situation does…

What do people need to do to get involved?

All you need is your favourite shoes and a filming device: Take your favourite shoes, boogie around a bit (20-30 secs suggested), send me your video via Instagram, Facebook or e-mail.

I will post your video in my Facebook and my Instagram story and upload the film with all shoe dances on my website. The film is being updated with new contributions on a weekly basis.

This project will continue until the lockdown in the respective countries has been lifted.

I am very much looking forward to hearing from you!


Instagram: @tanzelitanz

Twitter: @elisaschilling

facebook: Elisabeth Schilling