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Action Fashion

Independent Study: Collaboration in Dance and Design, VCU Richmond

Faculty leader

Melanie Richards, Henry C. Swartz and Michael-Birch Pierce, Associate Professors

Student participants

Brittany Powers, Taylor Raley, Shelby Rider, Maura Lora

The spirit of "action fashion" and the play of dancers in unique "designs created for motion" propel this collaborative project. Henry Swartz, Associate Professor in Fashion, Michael-Birch Pierce, Assistant Professor in Fashion and Melanie Richards in Dance, have joined creative forces to celebrate the "art of play".

Our dynamic exchange of ideas emerges from a common structural inspiration; circles, squares and triangles. Four carefully selected, exquisite dance majors explored movement in a special lab setting to interface with the fashion design students. The dancers explored the spatial concepts of circles squares and triangles. They have investigated the geometric spatial tensions and pathways in solo, duet, trio and quartet arrangements adding the dimensions of sound and qualitative energy.

Designers and dancers came together in an open forum with the dancers moving in space while the designers sketched the moving bodies also adding the fashion students moving with the dancers. Patterning and draping followed and then the participants all came together to determine the garments with the most lively, playful potential The dancers moved in the dresses and the designers observed the designs come to life! It was a fabulous transformation with the two disciplines merging in this delightful informal performance!

Both disciplines were greatly enhanced by the inspiration drawn from this highly successful collaboration.