On Saturday 7 March 2020 Propellor’s Loom came to Lakeside Arts, Nottingham with the addition of a specially commissioned dance film in response to the work.

Propellor is a 12-piece daring cross-genre ensemble of multi-instrumentalists from a variety of musical backgrounds. Their first touring work, Loom, is an audio-visual performance mapping a collective experience of water, charting its journey backwards from the sea to the sky.  Loom combines recordings across waves, wetlands and water channels with virtuosic instrumental writing, live electronics and video projection to produce an ‘in the round’ live experience.

When Loom visited Nottingham the work included a collaboration with dance artist Heather Birley, who created a specially commissioned solo in response to the work. Heather is a Leicestershire based artist and also a Dance4 (Centre for Advanced Training) CAT alumni.


Working on the dance film with Heather has been a really lovely collaborative experience. After an initial rehearsal together where we workshopped lots of different movement ideas using improvisation based on elements of Loom, Heather would then send video updates on the three prepared states of dance she was working on. We approached filming the three states Heather had prepared using focussed improvisation around three given qualities in the dance and music which were edited together by Robin Beatty, Propellor’s guitarist and visual designer – this film, like the rest of Loom’s visual language has been worked in a circular screen format. The final stage has been reordering the musical ideas from the filming day so that it can be used to respond live to this new edit – a process of collaboration and writing that has allowed the outcome to stay in flux, moving, changing and adapting in response to a fused combination of creative elements“.

Jack McNeill (Propellor director and clarinettist)


I think a really exciting playfulness can be found when working with an art form you are not formally educated in; it unlocks in me the ability to explore and discover with no presumptions or expectations. Also, I appreciate the conversations and questions and decision making and not knowings that people bring to my practice and, that I can bring to theirs. I find great fulfilment in sharing energy in a space with other artists“.

Heather Birley (Independent Dance Artist)


Heather’s contribution to the performance of Loom in Nottingham was supported by Dance4 and Lakeside Arts.