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UK  I  2007  I  30’  I  Jo Parkes

From the Soil is a 30-minute dance/documentary film, which tells the stories of farming families in the south west of England.The piece addresses the politics of food production by focusing upon the intimate details of the farmer's lives and the stories of individuals, using the personal as a gateway to issues of wider resonance. Interviews with farming families combine with choreographed dance scenes and documentary footage of farmers to explore the changes in farming in the UK over the last 60 years.



Produced by Kate Saunders and The Engine Room. From an idea by Kate Saunders with performances by Adam Benjamin, Rosanna Irvine and newcomer Arran Humphries. Cinematography by Sven O. Hill and music by Christopher Benstead.


About Jo Parkes

Jo Parkes is a freelance dance artist, director and educator (DE/UK). She works in co-creative participative dance, creating installations, events, performances and videos. She is founder and artistic director of Mobile Dance e.V.  Since 2014, she leads the project JUNCTION, with people living in 5 accommodation centres for refugees in Berlin and artistic directing the quarterly dance parties at Uferstudios. Jo guest lectures, speaks and leads workshops internationally. 

Jo received a Fulbright scholarship for Master of Fine Arts in Choreography at UCLA, first class degree in English Literature and Modern Languages from Oxford University, winner of the Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award (UK ) in 2002, Kinder zum Olymp 2009 and a scholarship from the Berlin Senate in 2016.


Review by Chris Fogg - Take art

"Jo Parkes' film ‘From the Soil’ is a powerful and elegiac insight into rural, agricultural life in Britain in the 21st century. Jo has managed to convey a timely and important message in a way that is fresh, poignant, tough and unsentimental. What is particularly successful is the way the film blends so seamlessly the testimonies of farmers living and working in the south west with the dance elements, which are thoughtful, beautifully shot with a strong sense of place and location.  Dance for the Camera is a relatively new art form, and ‘From the Soil’ is one of the finest examples of the genre I have yet seen."

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