Feature: Recommended by... Will Tuckett
*Will Tuckett is a choreographer and acclaimed character performer with the Royal
Ballet. Creator of children’s dance favourites in recent years like The Wind in the Willows and The Canterville Ghost, he’s also made darker works, including The Soldiers Tale and Seven Deadly Sins. Tuckett’s latest creation, Faeries, has recently had a run in the Clore Studio at Royal Opera House (14 – 19 July
*He tells Rachel Nouchi about some of the dance performances he’s looking forward
to seeing in the next few months – with an exhibition and a couple of films thrown
in for good measure…*
The first show I’m recommending for this month is a musical theatre show. I will
be going along to see Kurt Weill’s Street Scene at the Young Vic July). A musical, opera and Tony Award winner, *Street Scene* is a totally brilliant slice of theatre. It’s a beautiful concept piece and
incorporates street music, with a sassy jazz score. It’s classic Americana and
nostalgic of a lost era.
West Side Story is another must at Sadler’s Wells July-31 August). I’ve never seen West Side Story live onstage. It will be great fun to see what’s been achieved in this production
and whether things have been moved on from the original 1957 Broadway production,
although it features the original choreography by Jerome Robbins.
I know it’s not dance, but a must see for July has to be the artist, Oscar Muñoz (Rivington Place, until July 27) His inspirational exhibition features 10 pieces that use projection
to create ghostly images about remembering and forgetting. The artist is Columbian
and draws on the country’s explosive political situation to comment on memory
and loss. Particularly resonant is ‘breath.’ You blow into the air and images
of a face appear and disappear. In another piece, ‘Narcissus,’ video footage projects
a charcoal face in a sink and it disappears down the plug. It’s quite theatrical
and moving stuff. Projection is increasingly being used as a means of expression
in dance performance. It links technology to the idea and technology to the workings
of the body, so this exhibition feels like movement in a different art form.
Picking out a few gems from Dance Umbrella (30 Sep – 8 Nov)
/>, I will be sure to buy tickets for Batsheva Dance Company as they haven’t been to London for some years. It’s a real shame because they
are a wonderful dance company and I don’t understand why they don’t claim a bigger
audience and come here more often. They will be bringing two shows from Israel,
Mamootot (Riverside Studios, 22-25 October) and Three (Sadler’s Wells, 20-21 October) and I’d recommend both of them.
Scottish Ballet (Queen Elizabeth Hall, 4 & 5 October) are a fantastic ballet company and I’ll be really interested
to see them in London. They’re bringing a triple bill with work from Stephen Petronio, Trisha Brown and Ashley Page, the company’s own Artistic Director.
Tiago Guedes is a real talent to look out for in Dance Umbrella (The Place, 14-15 October). Various Materials is a UK premiere. He cuts shapes out of paper and they become part of a narrative
in a rocking combination of movement, puppetry and mime. I love the fact that
he doesn’t conform to a traditional idea of what dance performance should be.
I think that the UK suffers from a lack of contextuality and critique. This wouldn’t
happen in any other art form. We need to take dance more seriously intellectually.
Of course big dance venues are faced with the difficulty that they have a huge
house and its director has to bring onstage the biggest selling stars, so everything
is always political. That’s why festivals like Dance Umbrella are brilliant, because
it challenges the audience’s notions of what dance is. Education is also integral
to changing things, moving forward and questioning what’s happening in dance outside
of the middle ground.
One thing I’ve observed is that critics don’t ever want to come to rehearsals.
Why is that? In other art disciplines they would visit an artist’ studio/workshop,
you would read articles from a writer not penning a whole novel. It’s because
the process, unlike in other art forms, is not valued in dance.
My latest production _*Faeries*_was at the Clore Studios, The Royal Opera House recently(14-19 July).
I’m often asked why I make dance suitable for families and I think that with
kids you are able to mix media and create inventively in a way that you can’t
get away with when you are making work for adults. Children don’t put up with
wimbling about. I don’t just want to make something that’s fluffy and cute because
it’s for kids. I want to give them a challenging experience, which is OK so long
as you know that everything is going to be ok at the end of the show. I think
that four years old is the turning point within which kids can begin to cope with
the more complex.
In Faeries, puppetry, dance and storytelling are used to pull the audience into a world
of magic and mystery. Puppets can help to break down that wall and while we use
them for children’s shows, people don’t yet associate them with adult performance,
but they do work with dancers brilliantly.
I love performing, but what’s great about being a choreographer is that you are
the person who decides what people do. Partly this and the fact that I was a never
a good dancer influenced my direction.
Finally, I can’t go the summer without seeing two new films both by British filmmakers.
Nick Roeg’s Puffball, because he totally rocks and Terence Davies’ Of Time and the City because it’s the first film he has done in years and he is a masterful director.