News: Women GOlive lands at The Library at Willesden Green

Thursday 25 February 2016 by Donald Hutera

'My Own Private Movie' Photo: Susan Kempster

Arts journalist, dramaturg and workshop leader Donald Hutera is back with his GoLive programme at a new venue for dance in Willesden – and this time it’s all about female artists. He tells us more about the line up he has in story of “fertile and frankly fabulous array of vital, varied female talent”…

Is there a simple ‘solution’ to the ongoing debate about gender disparity in dance, especially in the UK? No, but certainly further ways and means of redressing the balance need to be considered and then acted upon. What is plain is that these days more creative opportunities are being offered to men – particularly in terms of top venues and high-profile commissions – than their female counterpoints.

I’d never claim that GOlive, the modest yet ambitious dance and performance festival I co-founded with the producer George Sallis in 2013, is all things to all people – and that includes female choreographers. But the fact is that most of the submissions I received when selecting work to be featured in the first-ever GOlive two and half years ago came from women. There are loads of them out there who are richly gifted, bursting with juicy subject matter and spanning the generations.

During the past few years I’ve programmed work by at least a few dozen women under the GOlive banner in London, Winchester and Oxford, trying to do my bit as a long-standing (or, er, often sedentary) journalist, mentor, budding dramaturg and industry ‘insider’ to further that work along and help shine a light on who they are and what they’re doing. Thanks to Rebecca Evans, one of five choreographers chosen for 2-Faced Dance’s inaugural mentoring and career development scheme The Bench, I was put in touch with The Library at Willesden Green. Much to my delight the good people there – and the only ones I’ve yet met are female – accepted my ‘pitch’ to present an evening of short, dance-based performance in their beautiful new theatre space on 8 March 2016. That’s International Women’s Day. Hurrah! What’s more, it’s the venue’s first-ever dance presentation. Double-hurrah!

Women GOlive offers up an assortment of global flavours from a uniquely female perspective. This one-night mini-festival is a chance to spend time in the company of a handful of inventive, enquiring and powerful people. At press time the roster of artists taking part in the show at The Library is still being finalised, but many are GOlive mainstays. They include, in alphabetical order, Avatara Ayuso (an authentic force in dance represented by a deliciously tasty film called Dance, Pumpkin, Dance!, Zoi Dimitriou (an astute improviser with a decidedly playful side), My Johansson (whose moves have a curiously unsettling beauty), Susan Kempster (often a figure of tragicomic daring), Sarah Kent (former Time Out visual arts critic turned defiantly funny soloist), Alice Labant (tiny but with a titanic impact), Gloria Sanvicente Amor (darkly mysterious, sensual and yet she can be a clown, too), Simona Scotto (leader of the warmly entertaining mature dancers’ ensemble Counterpoint) and Lorna V (a self-scripted performer with a blazing personality). Among their countries of origin are Australia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and, of course, the UK.

There’s just under two weeks to go until ‘the big night,’ affording me a little more time to consider the best way to gather together such a fertile and frankly fabulous array of vital, varied female talent. I expect the evening to be a mix of both celebratory fun and gravitas. There will be surprises, including for me given that some of what’s on offer is being unveiled before the public for the first time. As a discerning curator I trust the people I believe in to deliver their best. No doubt a fair portion of what happens in Willesden on 8 March will spill over into future GOlive shows, including Winchester (presented at the Discovery Centre under the auspices of the Theatre Royal) two days later and a four day run of work at Oxford’s Old Fire Station 13-16 July.

Donald Hutera is a long-time free-lance writer (The Times, People Dancing and more), curator (GOlive, Chelsea Arts Collective), dramaturg and workshop leader (English National Ballet’s Dance is the Word). Find him on Twitter: @donaldhutera

Book tickets on Eventbrite

Women GoLive, Tue 8 March
The Library at Willesden Green
95 High Rd, London NW10 2SF
Venue information

Main photo: Susan Kempster

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