Corbin Shaw and Fred Perry’s ode to the almighty dancefloor

On 16th April, the artist unveiled a short film he made in collaboration with the brand, exploring the hedonism and ecstasy of dance by going to some of his most treasured childhood spots.

Last night, long-time FACE friend and Sheffield artist Corbin Shaw got all his nearest and dearest together at the Mildmay Club in Stoke Newington. What were they raising a glass to, then? Corbin’s brand new collaboration with Fred Perry, which includes two seriously limited edition polo shirts (one slapped with DEAR SHEFFIELD”, the other LEAVERS”, with all the sharpie scribbles to match) and a superb short film directed by Aria Shahrokhshahi.

That’s what we all gathered at the Mildmay Club to watch – against a tinselled backdrop, with a disco ball hanging over guests and the Guinness flowing, Aria’s film burst onto the screen. The opening shot showed of a suburban street lined with terraced houses, then a boxing gym (the one the artist frequented growing up), a corner shop and a childhood bedroom.

We see Corbin dancing hard in all of these spaces, soundtracked by a slamming techno track from Belfast musician Ethan Mitchell – the film revisits some of the artist’s earliest memories through choreography he put together with the help of movement director Joe Grey Adams.

There’s a sort of exorcism, an aggression in that dancing,” Corbin explained during the post-screening Q&A, hosted by Emma Warren, author of the 2023 book Dance Your Way Home: A Journey Through the Dancefloor. Expressing a push and pull between masculine and feminine identities was at the heart of the film – a theme that’s in tandem with the work Corbin has become known for, which questions and subverts traditional notions of masculinity.

Going to a boxing gym, shaking your hips, that’s violent,” added Joe, referring to the aggressive language and attitudes of masculinity that you learn for the sport. There’s a sense of rebellion and catharsis within the film; as Corbin put it, shooting was bloody scary”. Ultimately, though, that allowed him to shed layers of self-imposed embarrassment, particularly to do with the way that men move. For the project, he was heavily inspired by the local Northern Soul nights he went to as a teenager, but also the now-defunct Fiesta and Jive Turkey in Sheffield – seminal club nights that haven’t often got the props they deserved when it comes to the rich history of UK nightlife.

The way you move expresses who you are and who you think you are,” Emma Warren concluded. Corbin’s response? And that feels really, really good.” Too right.

The Fred Perry x Corbin Shaw collaboration is available in seriously limited numbers at www​.fred​per​ry​.com

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