DANCE ON LOCATION 011: A Bus Graveyard in South Wales, UK

Season 1 of footSTEPS comes to an end with an extended dance film through an abandoned bus graveyard in South Wales.

Have you ever heard of a "bus graveyard?" I honestly hadn't heard of the term before we made this film, but it's basically exactly as described. Filled with vintage-looking buses and coaches which have been left disused for many years in what looks like an abandoned petrol station, this site is basically a place where buses are left to die. If you head over to YouTube, Exploring with Boss has a few really great videos which take you on a tour of bus graveyards just like this one.

Some of the buses are fantastically old, and we thought their frontages would make an interesting backdrop for the finale of Season 1 of footSTEPS.

footSTEPS Season 1 Finale

This film and the preceding ten films make up the first season of footSTEPS, set entirely in Wales, UK. You can watch the whole of the season here. Whilst all of the other films are less than two minutes, here we treat you to a slightly longer one, aiming to take you on a bit more of a journey through the space.

The Dance

I am admittedly still building my confidence in exploring abandoned and urban exploration sites (you can read about the rather silly moment I took quite a tumble when we made the dance film in the Newport to Cwmbran underpass here), so I was very nervous about being here. I tried to channel that nervous energy into the movement in the film, so that it would be a true response to my experiences in this glorious bus graveyard.

Consequently, I think that there's something about creating boundaries in this film. I see some of my movements as using my arms to mark a sort of bubble around me. Watching it back, I somehow see echoes of social distancing in the time of COVID-19 in these movements, as well as a reflection of my nervousness about dancing in this abandoned space. I marked my territory - creating a safe space around myself. These ideas also mirror the fast movements of my arms and their balancing with my holding up relatively cautious palms to the camera.

I quite like the swift switching of my arms from left to right and up and down. Playing around with my arms and angles in this way was very much inspired by the broken windscreen wipers on each of these buses.

The buildings in the space provided the opportunity to play with taking the weight off my feet. I am particularly pleased with the result of this - leaning against the corner of the wall, knees bent, as if exhausted, before pushing further into the space with more energy than before. Similarly, the exposed workings of the engine in the red bus (I'm assuming that's the engine - knowledge of vehicular insides is really not my strong point!) compelled me to move faster and with more forward force.

Another interesting feature, was working in the narrow cracks of space between the vehicles. I found myself very conscious of the buses - my instincts were not to touch them in case their alarms went off... but of course, their alarms don't work anymore, so I needn't have worried!

I found the bus graveyard a rather strange place to create in - simultaneously old and abandoned, but also still feeling so modern. I think some of my nervousness stemmed from this; whilst on the surface it appeared deserted, the modern vehicles told my mind that it couldn't possibly be so. For a brief moment, our dance film and my presence repopulated it and brought new life back to the space.

Season 2 of footSTEPS will begin drip-feeding into your life next week, and this season takes place entirely in England. Watch this space!

Until then, if you're feeling compelled to explore some more dance films in urban and abandoned spaces, check out these posts:

All of the content created for footSTEPS is done at my own expense, and I am committed to keeping that content free to access. However, if you'd like to support me, you can buy me a coffee to keep my energy up at Ko-fi by clicking on the button below.

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