“Unspoken”- a powerful tribute to Paul Lightfoot’s father and a beacon of creative possibility in this unprecedented time

Sebastian Haynes in Unspoken. Choreography: Paul Lightfoot

When top contemporary choreographer Paul Lightfoot lost his father during lockdown without being allowed into the hospital to say goodbye, he began working remotely on a piece to process his emotions. The result, “Unspoken” is a powerful and moving tribute to those affected by the pandemic, and a beacon of creative possibility in this unprecedented time. 

In April 2020 with lockdown at its most restrictive, filmmaker William Armstrong began an Instagram conversation with renowned choreographer Paul Lightfoot. The two connected as artists seeking to tell a story about a shift in the world and the collective feelings of those affected by the pandemic.

A first for his 35-year career, Lightfoot set about choreographing entirely remotely from his home in The Netherlands with Sebastian Haynes, a dancer based in Denmark. 

During this six-week period, the filmmaker Armstrong recorded every conversation and rehearsal to interweave Lightfoot’s story with glimpses into the working relationship between a choreographer and dancer. Composer Alexander McKenzie joined at the early stages to create original music for the film. The final performance was filmed on location at Grundtvig’s Kirken in Copenhagen, one of the city’s best-known churches built in 1927.