Feature: British Dance Edition - day four
If one of the aims in bringing British Dance Edition to London for the first time was to show off the capital in its many guises, then the winter wonderland that greeted us as Day Four dawned must have gone some way to fulfilling that aim! Not to be deterred by a few inches of snow on the ground, the intrepid delegates made their way to Stratford Circus for a taste of East London hospitality – before returning to Sadler’s Wells for a reception and the closing performances – writes Lise Smith.
The morning opened with a full-length performance from hip hop theatre company Champloo Dance Company. White Caps combines graceful contemporary B-boying with an extended dance film projection. The live movement material, with its soft swoops to the floor and refreshing lack of flashy tricks, is beautiful and engaging; I wished there had been more integration of the film (also beautiful) with the live performance. White Caps was followed in the theatre by Hetain Patel’s fresh, funny take on tradition and identity TEN ; elsewhere in the building, delegates were invited to explore Nic Sandiland’s clever dance installations Orbital and Gravity Shift , a mind-bending projection of dancers doing seemingly impossible things in a space where gravity itself appears to move around.
Helen Dawson , Programming Assistant at Déda in Derby, says: “Being in London this year has been absolutely great, going to such different venues – from Stratford Circus to the Royal Opera House – and seeing the real diversity of venues in London has been fab. I really enjoyed National Dance Company of Wales last night, and Champloo today.” A BDE regular, she adds: “This one has been particularly great in that we’ve all stayed together and managed to see the same programme of work, it makes for lots of really interesting discussions.”
In the afternoon it was over to Sadler’s Wells for a programme of small, medium and large-scale works. Tucked into the Kahn Lecture Theatre was Tony Mills’ company Room 2 Maneouvre with Watch iT! , a funny and thoughtful take on TV culture using clever digital interaction and lively gestural movement. Lost Dog brought their Place Prize-winning It Needs Horses to the Lilian Baylis Studio ; new to many of the delegates from outside London, the uncomfortable circus-themed duet found an appreciative audience here. And finally, showing off the scope of the Sadler’s Wells main stage Russell Maliphant Company’s new The Rodin Project , with its huge and visionary set. [Read full review ]
How have BDE delegates found the weekend overall? Raul Calderon , of Arts Council England (Midlands and South West), says: “It feels different this year because it’s been curated differently, it’s been curated very precisely with regard to what’s suitable for the venues, for the audiences, for the delegates. The organisation has been spot on, the attention to detail – I personally feel I have been looked after extremely well. One of the risks I would say for a festival in a big city is that the festival might feel a bit “lost” in the city but everywhere we go for BDE shows there is a buzz about it.”
Cherie Huang of Macau Cultural Centre adds: “The idea of this year has been to keep it small so that if somebody wants to talk to someone, they can find them, I’ve had a lot of chance to chat, and that’s important in the dance world.” Have any particular moments of the programme stood out? “I really appreciate they programmed the children’s pieces, because children are our next generation of audiences and ther should be enough quality work for children, especially physical work. I also especially appreciated the artist talks at Laban, all the three artists they selected ( Rosemary Lee, Breakin’ Convention and Clod Ensemble ), provided a different idea of how we collaborate with the general public and with a younger or not so contemporary-dance audience. It’s just so good to see, within four days the whole collection, that’s quite satisfying.”
It’s been an intense, activity-packed four days with the added excitement of snow, but all the delegates I spoke to felt this year’s BDE had been a very successful platform and that the new, “compact” programme had worked well. Now it remains to be seen how this year’s event will translate into touring work for the companies involved – but overall the weekend has been a successful showcase for British dance.
Details of all participating companies can be found on the British Dance Edition site
Report: Lise Smith.