TitleRecords of New Moves International Ltd., incorporating the archives of the National Review of Live Art and 'New Moves...' dance festivals
DescriptionThe Records of New Moves International Ltd. includes the archives of the National Review of Live Art (NRLA) and the 'new moves...' festivals of contemporary dance. The National Review of Live Art archives primarily consist of videos that document performances from the prestigious NRLA festival. Almost 2000 audio-visual digital files of content, migrated from original video tapes which document the period from 1986 (when the NRLA was first recorded on film) to its final year 2010, are available to view at the Theatre Collection. As well as the recordings of performances, there are also audio-visual files of installations, discussions, and interviews with participating artists. Digital access copies of the videos in the archive have received minimal restorative intervention only and have not been edited from the original video tapes. There is almost no video documentation of dance performances as part of the various 'new moves...' festivals within the collection, but both the NRLA and 'new moves...' festival archives include sets of programmes, press cuttings, publicity print, photographs and other printed materials relating to the festivals. In addition, the collection contains administrative documents and reports relating to the production of the festivals and the associated educational activities of New Moves International Ltd, including its series of 'Winter Schools'.
AdminHistoryNew Moves Ltd. was the independent company established in 1993 by its artistic director Nikki Milican to produce the annual National Review of Live Art and New Moves dance festivals (later to become the 'New Moves Across Europe' and 'new moves new territories' festivals) in Glasgow. In 1997 the company changed its name to New Moves International Ltd, which reflected its growing international links and status.

The National Review of Live Art had originated from a one-day event in 1979 called the Performance Platform, organised by Steve Rogers at Nottingham's Midland Group arts centre. Growing into a large annual festival of live art, since 1984 it was produced by Nikki Milican who was then Performance Director at The Midland Group. The Midland Group closed in 1987, but that year Milican took the National Review of Live Art to the Riverside Studios in London before relocating the festival the following year within Glasgow's Third Eye Centre, where she had taken up the post of Performance and Events organiser. Following a significant organisational restructure at the Third Eye Centre - which saw it being renamed the Centre for Contemporary Arts - Milican left, and in 1993 produced the National Review of Live Art at the Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London where, at the time, Lois Keidan was responsible for the live art programme. New Moves Ltd. was established by Milican later that year, and the 1994 festival returned to Glasgow where it was based at The Arches before moving again in 2006, this time to Tramway where it remained until its final year in 2010.

Described by critic Naseem Khan as "one of the chanciest and most extraordinary events in the experimental arts", The National Review of Live Art played a significant pioneering role in the growth of live art activities in Britain throughout its 30-year life. As well as performance, the festival included installation and video art, and a platform for new performers to show their work alongside more experienced and well-known artists. Bringing together established and emerging live artists, both national and international performers and performance groups, work was presented and debated in a hectic atmosphere of experiment and adventure. Enabling recent graduates of the various live arts courses which appeared during this period to present their work in a supportive atmosphere, these young artists could then make vital initial contacts with programmers and curators from arts centres which were interested in commissioning and presenting new, experimental work.

The National Review of Live Art was first documented on video in 1986 by a team led by Stephen Littman of Maidstone College and Tony Judge of Projects UK. The team used U-Matic videotape, an analogue format used in the broadcast industry, and experimented with live video mixing while beginning the practice of using multiple cameras to capture different angles on a performance. The following year, Littman was joined by Stephen Partridge and Doug Aubrey with students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Arts, and this team continued until 1990. When the festival returned in 1993, documentation was resumed on VHS, and the following year the work was carried out by teams of students from Glasgow University, directed by Patrick Brennan and Greg Giesekam (1994), and by Greg Giesekam and Lalitha Rajan (1996). In 1998 the documentation was taken over by a Scottish video production company, Left & Right, who were the first to use digital mini DV tape for recording the 2001 festival. Left & Right also presented work at the festival in these years. From 2003 to 2004 the work was filmed on mini DV by a team from Nottingham Trent University, under the direction of Paul Hough, and from 2005 to 2010 by the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, again under Hough.

The 'New Moves' annual festival of contemporary dance was established by Nikki Milican in 1988, whilst working at the Third Eye Centre (now the Centre for Contemporary Arts - CCA) in Glasgow, where she was responsible for the live events programme. In 1991 the festival was renamed 'New Moves across Europe', reflecting the expanding number of European companies that Milican was able to include in the festival following the collapse of the 'iron curtain'. After her departure from the CCA, from 1994 'New Moves across Europe' continued to be produced annually by Milican in her role as artistic director of New Moves Ltd.. Becoming increasingly international in its outlook, in 1998 the festival was renamed again as 'new moves new territories', and from 2002 was brought together with the National Review of Live Art and presented under the single umbrella programme, 'New Territories - an international festival of live arts'. The kinds of work being shown in both festivals often ended up sliding between the two - indeed, several artists presented different works within both festivals - and the bringing together of the National Review of Live Art and new moves new territories recognised the blurred edges of the two festivals, the resistance of much of the work shown to categorisation and a desire not to limit audience perceptions about what live art or dance might be.

Central also to both the National Review of Live Art and 'new moves...' festivals were opportunities for audiences to see the work of new and up-and-coming artists alongside performances by more established artists. Artists and groups who obtained such opportunities early on included: Anne Seagrave, Marty St James & Anne Wilson, Forced Entertainment, Annie Griffin, Dogs in Honey, Fiona Wright, Bodies in Flight, David Izod, Pants Performance, Kira O'Reilly, Richard DeDomenici and many more. They appeared alongside the work of artists and performers such as Alastair MacLennan, Geraldine Pilgrim, Stephen Taylor Woodrow, Ian Hinchcliffe, Franko B, DV8, Bobby Baker, Derek Jarman, the Kipper Kids, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Akademia Ruchu, Station House Opera and Scena Plastyzcna. From 2003, to provide further support for artists early in their careers, New Moves International Ltd. also organised an annual Winter School at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance (RSAMD).

Missing years of National Review of Live Art documentation?
For the first years of the National Review of Live Art (1979-1983), then called variously the Performance Platform, Performance Art Platform and 4 Days of Performance Art, the archive contains scant printed documentation, and no video documentation. For 1984, 1985 and 2002, there are festival programmes/catalogues but no video documentation. In 1991, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2000 the National Review of Live Art did not run. (new moves.../new territories festivals ran every year from 1988: there are some photographs held within the collection for some years, but almost no video documentation of performances.)
ArrangementRecords relating to each year the festivals took place have been separated into audio-visual and printed (paper-based) documentation. Access copies of digitised content relating to the original NRLA video tapes are shown in the online catalogue, with brief notes made by audio-visual digitisation staff regarding the quality of the original recordings included in the Description field in brackets. These digitised access copies are available to view in the Theatre Collection Reading Room and where the Theatre Collection has permission to do so, will be published online. The video tapes themselves are no longer available to be played, but all textual information included on the individual video boxes and tapes has been transcribed and is included within the Description field. There are no extant records within this collection for the 1979 and 1980 NRLA festivals, and only scant records for the 1981 - 1983 festivals.
Related MaterialPrior to New Moves Ltd being established in 1993 as an independent production company, Nikki Milican held the post of Events Organiser/Performance Director at the Third Eye Centre between 1987 and 1993, and before that at the Midland Centre, Nottingham. Some records, including press cuttings and photographs, relating to the wider live programmes (not including the NRLA and New Moves festivals) produced by Milican at these venues can be found in the Record Of Live Art Practice (RefNo. RLAP/M/174)
Extent139 boxes; 34 terrabytes
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