Feature: Heading to Latitude this weekend?

Monday 11 July 2016 by Rachel Elderkin

Latitude 2014. Photo: Lise Smith

The grounds of Henham Park in Suffolk will become a whirlwind of activity as Latitude 2016 gets under way later this week. This year I’ll be one of those sampling the diverse array of acts and artists performing at the festival and amongst the line up, there’s a number of dance performances I’m looking forward to seeing, not to mention a couple of workshops to try… writes our report Rachel Elderkin.

For the ninth year running Sadler’s Wells present a varied selection of dance on the festival’s Waterfront Stage and this year Latitude audiences will be getting an exclusive preview of the theatre’s new summer show Vamos Cuba! on Friday night – with the dancers and musicians arriving direct from Cuba earlier that day. Coming from the team behind the hit show Havana Rakatan, this new production promises to bring a sunny, fiesta spirit to an unpredictable English summer’s evening, before heading to London to open on 26 July.

If you’re there on Thursday, the festival’s opening night, Hofesh Shechter’s tHE bAD could be an interesting work to catch. The middle section of Barbarians, (seen in London again just last week) was created during a period of intense night time rehearsals. It will be intriguing to see how this gold catsuit-clad number will fare in the open air and daylight.

Richard Alston Dance Company’s performance of Martin Lawrance’s Stronghold II (presented alongside Nomadic) is another performance I don’t want to miss. Fast-paced and physically powerful, this is the kind of high energy piece that should work well on a festival stage.

Botis Seva and his company Far From The Norm are also ones to watch. Football is the theme of new work H.O.H, and while it’s a sport I don’t usually watch willingly, Seva’s blend of hip-hop, contemporary dance and physical theatre is perhaps the one way I might enjoy the beautiful game.

I’m particularly intrigued by a collaboration between choreographer Lynne Page and electro acoustic jazz trio GoGo Penguin. A response to ‘80s underground club culture, this could prove a fun party piece to lead into a Saturday evening at Latitude.

Alongside all these, there will also be performances by New English Ballet Theatre (a triple bill featuring Lonesome Gun and Mad Women, choreographed by Royal Ballet Soloist Kristen McNally and Wundarra by former Dutch National Ballet dancer Daniela Cardim) and NYDC – the National Youth Dance Company in Michael Keegan-Dolan’s rapturous In-Nocentes , as well as daily workshops open to all. As a willing (perhaps foolhardy?) correspondent I’ll be attempting Botis Seva’s particular blend of hip hop and contemporary in Far From the Norm’s workshop on Saturday, as well as treading more familiar ground in Richard Alston Dance Company’s Sunday session. Swing Patrol and A Curious Invitation (tango) will also lead workshops, both of which sound a good chance to grab a friend and have fun.

It’s not just on the Waterfront Stage where you’ll find dance related performances. The Theatre Arena plays host to a number of contemporary circus and physical theatre acts, including the fabulous Circa (Landscape with Monsters) whose daring and inventive blend of acrobatics and movement is always worth watching. I missed the chance to see Famille Floz when they performed at the London International Mime Festival earlier this year so I’m looking forward to catching them at Latitude. Following strong reviews at LIMF their quirky style of masked physical theatre is something that should be well worth finding the time to see.

Svalbard, a Swedish company merging contemporary circus with physical theatre, comedy and live music, will also be on site. Their show All Genius, All Idiot was a crazy, chaotic concoction when I saw them at LIMF. However, it’s the kind of work that could be better suited to an outdoor festival setting.

Across the festival site there are likely to be a number of other dance performances taking place, yet to be discovered. Anything could pop up in The Faraway Forest, Latitude’s woodland fringe theatre venue, (The End of Dance, a piece combining dance with political protest, anyone?) and The Little House will see A Curious Invitation, who are running their tango workshop on the Waterfront Stage, perform their show Midnight Tango. Over at Pandora’s Playground Lyric, GDIF and Watford Palace Theatre present Home, an outdoor circus performance by Hikapee, suitable for both children and adults and combining aerial and acrobatics.

Whether you want to stick to pure dance or venture into the worlds of circus and physical theatre, it’s clear that there’s plenty to see at Latitude 2016, and undoubtedly much more to discover. I’m hoping for some good weather, but rain or shine, it’s sure to be an arts filled and fun weekend.

Thursday 14 – Saturday 17 July 2016

Look out for Rachel Eldlerkin’s reports from Latitude on our Twitter & Facebook channels over the weekend and @Rachel_Elderkin

Update: also see:
Rhiannon Faith – Scarey Shit Sunday, 2pm Live Art Tent

Photo: Latitude 2014, Lise Smith

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