Lizzi Kew Ross: My Time at St John’s

Lizzi was a Visiting Fellow in residence at St John’s for Easter term 2022 – she is a dancer, choreographer and teacher, and artistic director of LKR & Co, a dance company specialising in site specific dance music performances.

Lizzi is regularly funded by Arts Council England on a project basis. She works as a freelance movement director/choreographer for theatre and creates new work particularly in outdoor settings and unusual spaces, for libraries and galleries.

My time as the Ruth Etchell’s fellow has been ‘crowded with incident’ and I have enjoyed every minute of it. When I met David Wilkinson and Gillian Boughton Wilmore two years before COVID moved the goal posts, they were very clear about ‘presence’ and being part of the community. Mealtimes have been pivotal in connecting with people and it has been a privilege and inspiration to have heard about people’s lives, their hopes as well as their studies. All the staff and students have been so welcoming and I have felt ‘at home’ here.


Usual work life for me, is mostly spent in the dance studio so to be invited to reflect read and ‘be’, has been a gift and I am full of gratitude. As it was exam term, student’s heads were concentrated downward, so my movement workshops were part of the de-stress weeks. Chatting with students after a dance themed film club evening was enlightening, as was attending the launch of the St John’s academic journal and hearing papers on Medieval epic poetry and the conservative evangelical church and its relationship with Trump. I was part of a group visiting the art archives and hearing about Salvador Dali’s prints exhibited here at St John’s – it made me appreciate them more at mealtimes – and joining in choral evening song and morning prayer in both the chapel and at the cathedral after early morning runs around the beautiful river have been a constant highlight. I have become part of the Argentinian tango community meeting at Fabio’s and in Tynemouth and sea bathing before tango work me up!  Attending the fabulous fashion show at Players and the 175th celebrations at Hatfield on their tennis court – it has been a rich and varied life.

I have worked as a choreographer/dancer/teacher for the last forty years and in the last fourteen years I have been engaged in creating site specific dance music work for unusual spaces – libraries, galleries, underneath Waterloo Station and cathedrals. I have been particularly inspired and influenced by two artists, the poet Seamus Heaney, and the filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. This term has given me time to consider the nature of poetic images in reference to time and place in their work and in connection to my own choreographic practice. I attended a lecture at the Centre for Catholic Studies on Heaney and have met a Tarkovsky scholar in the Theology department based at St Chads, so wonderful conversation partners. When I return to London, I will be presenting some lectures as part of the research series at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance.

My fellowship began at Eastertime with rehearsals at Dance City in Newcastle and performances of Stations of the Crossing in Durham cathedral.

It ends with an exhibition opening on Tuesday 26th July in Cosin’s Library as part of the closing event in the Summer in the City festival featuring my collaborative process with the video artist Mark Dean titled:

 Process. Rehearsal. Performance.

 London. Newcastle. Durham.

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