Backbone was created by Clara Kerr and Jo Guthrie and was commissioned by Maiden Voyage for the Match Make initiative during the pandemic lockdown and was made in keeping with government guidelines at the time of creation.

The focus of this piece was exploring both the physical and metaphorical notion of ‘backbone’. Clara and Jo considered the structural form and movement of the spine itself – but also as a metaphor for strength and resilience – the backbone of a person and community.  This led to an interesting list of locations that the artists felt signified  ‘backbone’ in Belfast which then acted as a backdrop for Clara’s choreography, which explored the flexibility, extremities and the range of motion the spine provides for the body.

Backbone can be viewed here:

Clara graduated from The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) with a first-class honours degree in Dance. Since graduating in 2019, Clara has directed and choreographed two full length dance pieces, one of which An Féileacán Agus An Rí a collaboration between author Myra Zepf and Clara’s Irish/Contemporary choreography was performed as part of the Belfast Children’s Festival in 2020. Throughout her time at LIPA and since graduating Clara has been involved in multiple performances including a month-long run at the NEC Arena Birmingham. She has also performed extensively as a professional Irish Dancer. Clara has been involved with Maiden Voyage over the last five years as a student and a young graduate and now as an emerging choreographer is delighted to be part of this collaborative Match Make programme.

Jo Guthrie is a multi-disciplinary designer and director, with a passion for graphic design, art direction and film. Having a foundation in brand identity and brand experience, she more recently made the move into the promos and advertising world. Her love for filmmaking was rediscovered whilst at VFX & production company ‘The Mill’, working with directors on creative pitches and shoots for world-renowned brands. She is now a freelance designer and director, having recently co-directed a multi award winning short film titled ‘Turning Tides’.

Director & Editor: Jo Guthrie

Choreographer & Dancer: Clara Kerr

DOP: Aidan Gault

Colourist: Ayumi Ashley @ NtropicColour

Producer: Will MokColour

Prep: Mark Sanna

Music: Insightful – ‘Hearts on the Line’

Special thanks to Aidan Gibbons

Match Make is a commissioning initiative for 8 dance artists and 8 artists from other disciplines to collaborate on a new creation for online viewing during 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.  Maiden Voyage dance are principally funded by Arts Countil of Northern Ireland and the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and are also supported by Belfast City Council.