Most Free - Ellen Hathaway Dance Company
From Friday 2nd April 2021
Ellen Hathaway Dance Company releases their first ever feature length dance documentary ‘Most Free’, created over the past 10 months throughout the global pandemic.
The global pandemic meant original plans for EHDC were put on hold as communities all over the world were challenged with isolation, segregation & distancing. This only motivated Ellen Hathaway’s research more & so plans were adapted to investigate into how a community can integrate & connect with the foundations of understanding & compassion even through a pandemic. This inspired the making of a documentary based on bringing people together through dance.
Commissioned by Dance City & Arts Council England, Ellen was able to fund and direct her first feature length documentary exploring kinaesthetic empathy; a tool that Ellen believes is key to building a more compassionate, integrated & connected community.
This 45 minute dance documentary follows our Artistic Director Ellen Hathaway on her investigation into dance & community with interviews from a resettled Syrian family living in Blackpool, Lancashire’s Refugee Integration Officer, local & international dance artists & our diverse general public.
Joseph Delaney, Co-Director, explained “It has been incredible watching Ellen put this together behind the scenes. Her sheer drive and determination has been inspirational. I have met some amazing people with incredible stories that just need to be heard. I cherish my new friendship with Mahmoud and Nareen with their three beautiful children. During filming I was treated to a Syrian meal; I have never felt more welcomed into a home and into a culture. I look forward to the day I get to dine with them again. Thank you, Ellen, for opening my eyes and more importantly my ears.”
UK Dance Artist Stéphanie Bentley added “I am of dual heritage; English and French and I am one of the dancers in Most Free. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of dance as a medium to nurture individuals and connect people. Ellen’s work embodies this perfectly and raises awareness on very current, real happenings in the U.K. and around the world.
Ellen has an exceptional ability; she really sees people and understands them. For me, being part of Most Free has been an eye opening and culturally significant experience. I feel privileged to have met and heard the stories of different artists and people from Syria and Lebanon.
I learnt so much during the creative process and filming of Most Free. It was also a very heart-warming experience having my mum with me as part of the process. Being inspired and driven by her words and my connection to them whilst creating movement felt very special.
The way in which Ellen devised this film and the journey she took us on as dancers within it had a very coherent and collaborative feel. I have been in creation processes where I felt that the ideas did not link enough to the dancing itself. Creating the movement for Most Free was an entirely different experience. Ellen’s research, creative tasks, the interviews she conducted, along with the involvement of all the wonderful people in this work; who I was lucky enough to speak to or listen to daily during the process, ensured that everything I was dancing came from an honest place that I felt connected to.
I believe in honesty in dance. Real stories translated through movement when a dancer is really able to feel them and as a result embody them. The stories in Most Free are stories that need to be heard and it is crucial that people listen. I would like to thank Ellen for giving me the chance to be part of something so valuable and memorable. This is a film about humanity, and I would urge everyone to watch it.”
Lebanese Dance Artist reflected upon the process “I hope to see Ellen’s film gain the recognition and popularity it deserves. Dance is such an inspiring art form for people from all walks of life. In the current worldwide climate, I think it’s important to remind people to continue doing what they love, despite life’s hardships. I believe the film displays the solidarity of the human race and how we all have such unique but related experiences. Ellen did an excellent job with this film, I can’t wait for people to see all her hard work, effort and creativity! It was truly an honour being a part of it.”
Ellen Hathaway Dance Company is an emerging contemporary dance company based in the North East working to integrate communities through dance. EHDC works with local communities, refugees & asylum seekers and local & international collaborators to produce community dance projects and professional performances of high cultural significance.
EHDC advocates diversity and cultural exchange and advances the notion that dance can heal.
One of the UK dancers, Dominic Coffey, observed “People need to help people. We all need to help each other It’s not hard to be kind. You never know what someone is going through. It’s not always good times. Times can be hard! A smile can help When I was on the phone to Mahmood it was so nice to talk to someone involved in this project! And it’s because of this project that I had the chance to speak to him and hear about all his amazing music. It was really nice to speak about my own family in this project and about their culture. Waffa’s positivity is something that will stay with me.”
Directed by Ellen Hathaway
Produced by Moving Art Management
Benedicta Valentina, Nareen Orfali, Chafika Gutknecht,
Nourhan Sheikh Badr Eddin, Dominic Coffey, Rebecca Joy Novel, Ellen Hathaway,
Ryan Woods, Fabienne Bentley, Shilan Sheik Badr Eddin, Fidan Sheikh Badr Eddin,
Stéphanie Bentley, Joseph Delaney, Wafa Bouty, Mahmoud Sheikh Badr Eddin, Zeina
Photos: Joseph Delaney
‘Most Free’ will premiere at 7pm on Friday 2nd April 2021 at
Purchase tickets from Eventbrite here: https://mostfreepremiere2021.eventbrite.co.uk/
Tickets are pay-as-you-feel with a minimum donation of £1.