LondonDance - Latest Articleshttp://londondance.comLatest news and articles from LondonDanceSat, 21 Apr 2018 05:00:51 +0100Thu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100Matthew Bourne - Cinderella - Sadler's Wells /articles/reviews/matthew-bourne-cinderella-sadlers-wells//articles/reviews/matthew-bourne-cinderella-sadlers-wells/Matthew Bourne is back with an updated version of his sweeping musical ballet Cinderella – a re-imagining of the tale set in the London Blitz; a drab, monochrome world of buttoned up grey cardigans and neat slicked back hair, lit only by the flickering fire burning quietly in the corner of the stage.

Marking the 70th anniversary of the Blitz, Bourne has set his fairytale in 1941 wartime Britain swapping prince for David Niven style pilot, Cinderella as a dowdy ‘frump’ and stepmother as the production’s very own Joan Crawford.

Bourne borrows ideas and imagery from celluloid to translate onstage with powerful effect. The staging is faultless thanks to Lez Brotherston’s dashing costumes and sets, which won an Olivier Award for his original designs, lighting by Olivier Award-winning Neil Austin and the characters lifted from his favourite films.

Enter Cinderella’s household, a cross between the Adams Family and a Powell-Pressburger production and we are transported into the quirky world that Cinderella must endure and navigate to find her love interest among the freaky sideshow oddities of her extended family. There’s a stepbrother caressing her feet in a foot festish frenzy to spinning dad in wheelchair and a fur-clad stepmother who anyone would be terrified to meet on a dark night, blitz or otherwise.

From the outset, the audience is plunged into the greyness of wartime Britain with news footage screens delivering serious information delivered by the plummy voices of Pathe, advising the nation how to best tackle air-raids.

Ironically, the mood shifts from the sheer comedy of watching public information films viewed through contemporary eyes, to the troubling footage of London burning. Such irony maintains itself successfully through the show allowing often brutal imagery of a country at war to rub up against a lighter touch through dance, splashes of colour and the relentless pursuit of love.

Bourne and Brotherston are a dream-team as movement and sets dissolve seamlessly from the drab of Cinderella’s kitchen pitch to air-raid scenes and on to Café de Paris – the dancehall moment where we are treated to colour albeit bathed in deep, seductive red – the perfect foil to Cinderella bejewelled pure white.

As Bourne says, one of the reasons he set Cinderella in wartime was to highlight narrative parallels – from the idea that somebody goes missing, to using escapism during times of adversity in the form of dancehalls, offering dance, glamour and colour as a break from the brutalities of war.

There are notable performances from Ashley Shaw as Cinderella who transforms herself from a mousey downtrodden specimen to sequined back arching beauty – where the pilots literally line-up fawning all over her. Liam Mower as her male guardian angel donned in a camp white satin suit effortlessly glides and swerves circles around her, creating mists of magic as he moves, whilst Michela Meazza as film-noir fur clad step mum slinks and slithers in perfect doses of ease and evil.

There are clever touches in the choreography too. Dreaming of the ball, Cinderella dances with a dressmaker’s dummy. Bourne wanted it to look like Cinderella was initiating everything and in a quick dash behind a curtain, she dances with her pilot for real – who quickly returns to the dummy again.

Prokoviev’s original score for Cinderella, created during the Second World War is bleak and beautiful and this latest version offers audiences surround sound, designed by Paul Groothuis, featuring a specially commissioned recording played by a 60 piece orchestra- yet it misses out on the deeper resonance allowed by a live orchestra.

Audiences must take into account that Cinderella is neither ballet or musical but sits somewhere in between giving credence to skeletal choreography. There’s emphasis on walking – building on the bustle of public life and projecting intricate language of gestures known to those familiar with Bourne’s other works.

Such a format allows for a complex narrative with its multiple set changes and characters for space in between the bigger dance showpiece numbers.
And there’s no better example of this than in the larger group ensembles such as the finale – allowing for entire cast to genuinely fizzle in a joyful fusion of colour and music to dance the jitterbug.

Cinderella was reviewed by Rachel Nouchi. Rachel is a writer/movement researcher from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and contributes arts based features and reviews covering UK performance. You can find her on Twitter @NouchiR

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ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Your weekly London dance guide /articles/features/your-weekly-london-dance-guide-20//articles/features/your-weekly-london-dance-guide-20/Monday

Get in quick to book the last remaining tickets for Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella A ‘thrilling and evocative love story set in London during the Second World War, a chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her dashing young RAF pilot, together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz’.

Tuesday

Enter the ‘intoxicating world’ of Strictly Ballroom the Musical, a place of ‘hot-blooded passion and hard-won dreams’. Based on Baz Luhrmann’s movie Strictly Ballroom, the show stars the popular newcomer Jonny Labey (Winner ITV’s Dance Dance Dance) and Zizi Strallen (Mary Poppins) as the star-crossed, dance-crazed lovers Scott and Fran.

Wednesday

Stir-up your mid-week with a trip to Stomp A ‘toe tapping, adrenaline pumping’ show that features a ‘unique blend of comedy, dance and pure rhythm using everyday objects’.

Thursday

Catch Birmingham Royal Ballet as it brings The Nutcracker to the Royal Albert Hall for the first time ever. The staging has been created especially for the Royal Albert Hall with Simon Callow as the voice of Clara’s mysterious godfather, Drosselmeyer.

Friday

Let your hair down at a Christmas Milonga at Negracha Tango Club. There is a general level class from 7.30pm with the Christmas Milonga from 9pm through to 4am..

Saturday

Keep excited young people entertained with BOING! at Unicorn Theatre. This piece of dance-theatre captures the ‘delirious excitement of two boys waiting for Father Christmas to arrive on the most magical night of the year’.

Sunday

Get your festive season in to full swing with Five Go Jiving at the Southbank Centre. An ‘extravaganza of swing and jive’ you can join a ballroom full of accomplished jivers and divers, along with a glittering line-up of musicians. All are welcome, regardless of skill or dance experience.

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FeaturesThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Competition: Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema /articles/news/competition-bolshoi-ballet//articles/news/competition-bolshoi-ballet/We have a pair of pointe shoes signed by Bolshoi’s Prima Ballerina Ekaterina Shipulina AND two tickets to the Bolshoi Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet cinema screening to give away!

To enter, simply head to the LondonDance Facebook page, like the competition post and comment below on who you’d take with you to the screening.

Terms and Conditions

  • The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 16 years or over except to anyone otherwise connected to Sadler’s Wells Trust or Target Live, or judging of the competition.
  • There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  • By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  • Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are via the LondonDance Facebook page www.facebook.com/Londondance
  • Closing date for entry will be midnight Wednesday 20 December 2017. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  • No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
  • The prize is as follows: one pair of unworn, custom made pointe shoes signed by Ekaterina Shipulina and two tickets to the Bolshoi Ballet’s screening of Romeo and Juliet on the 21 January 2018 at a participating cinema of the winner’s choice.
  • LondonDance will notify the winner via Facebook messenger and put them in contact with Target Live who will fulfill the prize.
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NewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
What's your dream Sadler's Wells Sampled line-up?/articles/features/whats-your-dream-sampled-line-up//articles/features/whats-your-dream-sampled-line-up/Sadler’s Wells Sampled returns in February 2018 with a chance catch an eclectic mix of extracts from some of the most exciting dance works around, performed by the world’s best ballet dancers, breakers, flamenco stars and contemporary mavericks.

To celebrate, we asked some of the artists taking part what their dream Sampled line-up would be, and who they’re most looking forward to seeing perform in 2018.

Nafisah Baba

Nafisah Baba

Alvin Ailey

Ailey has been my inspiration since I started dancing. As a little girl, I remember my Mum taking me to see them perform in London and that memory has always stayed with me. Seeing myself represented, doing something I always dreamed of doing, was so important for me, especially at that age and reminded me that anything is possible (it still does!). The company, and some of the individual dancers are still a huge inspiration for me. Watching them at Sadler’s Wells last year was a dream come true. Just hearing the Revelations music gave me goosebumps.

Balletboyz – Fourteen Days

I recently watched BalletBoyz perform at Sadler’s Wells and I was absolutely blown away with the skill and performance of the company. Playing with the theme of the concept of balance and imbalance, I thought the choreography was genius, especially the duet ‘Us’ – I actually don’t think I was breathing throughout. I was so tempted to come back to watch again another day (I wish I had done!)

Botis Seva

I performed alongside Botis Seva at a Sadler’s Wells gala, Material Movement in November. They are incredible dancers – the musicality, passion and movement quality of the dancers was unbelievable. I didn’t know too much about them before, but since watching them perform I haven’t stopped googling to see when their next performance is. Watching them dance made me think about the possibilities of movement and how much I could learn from watching them.

I’m so excited to seeing Humanhood and NDT2 perform. I couldn’t just pick one! These companies couldn’t be more different from each other but I definitely admire them. I’ve always wanted to see Humanhood live but never had the chance to, so I can’t wait to watch and be inspired! The same goes with NDT2 – I watched their performance when they came to Sadler’s in May and I was blown away (as expected!).

Candoco

Welly O’Brian of Candoco

Sue Smith (Siobhan Davies)

Sue is a founding member of Candoco and made the first piece of professional work I performed in, a duet called Tonic. I learned such a lot from this experience and Sue’s approach to choreography. Teaching and working with people has taught me such a lot.

Javier de Frutos

Javier was one of the first choreographers I ever worked with. He gave me a real introduction to the huge possibilities of choreography. His sharp eye for detail and the level of research he takes on for every piece he makes has really informed how I work in dance.

Daisy and Violet Hilton

Daisy and Violet Hilton were twins born in my home town of Brighton and sold to perform in vaudeville shows in America. In my own choreographic practice, I became really intrigued by these sisters and what it meant for them to be disabled performers. It was important to me to bring something of their lives into my dancing and research. I would love to be able to speak with them now.

I am really excited to be performing alongside such a diverse group of great artists as part of Sampled at Sadler’s Wells, I couldn’t possibly pick just one. What I particularly enjoy is the opportunity to bring new work including a range of genres, styles and dancers to audiences that might not otherwise see them.

Humankind

Rudi Cole and Julia Robert of HumanHood

Our Sampled line-up would be a mix of choreographers whose work we think is diverse in style and aesthetic, thought provoking and high quality.

Australian Dance Theatre be yourself

This piece is extreme on the physicality.

TAO Dance Theatre 5

For the simplicity.

Wayne Mcgregor/Royal Ballet Infra

For the composition.

We would also invite traditional dance companies from around the world – folk from Slovakia, West African Dance, Native American ritual dance – to share the popular dances that humans still practice, and have done for many years. We feel this would give a sense of ‘source’, with representation of dance forms grounded in the culture and the origins as well as companies in today’s era, with works that are original, innovative and ground-breaking.

We are looking forward to seeing the BBC Young Dancer 2017. It’s always exciting for us to watch young talent and see how the next generation of dancers embody and apply their uniqueness into their practice and performance.

Nafisah Baba, Candoco and Humakind will be all be performing as part of Sampled 2018.

Sadler’s Wells Sampled 2018
Sadler’s Wells
2 & 3 February

You can also catch Kelly’s suggestions of BalletBoyz Foutreen Days at Sadler’s Wells 26 – 28 April 2018.

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FeaturesThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
CHOREODROME OPENS FOR APPLICATIONS /articles/news/choreodrome-open-for-applications//articles/news/choreodrome-open-for-applications/Choreodrome is The Place’s studio based research and development programme for UK-based dance makers with at least three years professional experience.

Running from Monday 23 July – Sunday 23 September 2018 it offers artists the chance to test out new ideas within the supportive environment of an international dance house and with a peer network.

There is no expectation of a finished product at the end of the programme. Choreodrome is part of the The Place’s continuum of development opportunities designed to nurture talent and facilitate the growth of independent artists’ creativity and businesses, from graduation and throughout their careers.

What’s on offer:

• Between 1-2 weeks of studio time
• Commissions of £1000
• Technical equipment to support studio work (cameras, projectors, sound equipment)
• Studio sharings and feedback sessions during each residency
• Weekly lunchtime get-togethers with other artists

Who it’s for:

• Professional choreographers regularly creating dance work. Artists from other disciplines who wish to research an idea that has choreography or dance as a key component are also welcome to apply
• Must be UK-based and planning to remain working here for at least the next two years
• At least three years professional experience (exceptionally less experienced artists are included)
• Artists who are willing to share the process and some of their ideas with peers and The Place’s artist development team with at the end of the residency.

For more information and to complete an online application visit www.theplace.org.uk/studio-residencies-and-commissions-0

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NewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
5-minutes on... Beats on Pointe /articles/interviews/beats-on-pointe//articles/interviews/beats-on-pointe/

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I grew-up as an Elite Gymnast, training for many years, then at the age of 14 decided to move into dance training in ballet, contemporary and jazz. I have to admit I did not enjoy ballet when I first started. Coming from a gymnastic background I found it very difficult to learn how to be graceful! I loved taking contemporary class with rolling and jumping rather than standing at the barre practicing pretty ballet hands!

It wasn’t until later on that I really found an appreciation and love for ballet. After dancing in a ballet company for a few years I decided to do something completely different and started a musical theatre course. It was one of the most rewarding learning experiences for myself as an artist and personally. Throughout this time, I also discovered how much I enjoyed choreography and creating work more than being on stage performing. I was extremely lucky to meet Jennifer and Milo, the directors from Masters Of Choreography which has lead me to be one of their chief choreographers for their touring shows.

How did you get involved with Beats on Pointe?

I had been lucky enough to be involved in Masters Of Choreography’s Showcases Once Upon a Time and A Nightmare On Dance Street where I was able to form a relationship with Jennifer and Milo. Jennifer called me one day saying she wanted to do a show that fused ballet and street dance and she would like me to be involved as the ballet choreographer. I was beyond excited to be involved in choreography for this show and to work more closely with her.

Tell us about the show and how it was created:

The show is epic! It definitely showcases the best of both genres individually and blended together. There is no underlying story but each piece brings something unique and different. Our dancers are exceptionally talented bringing an energy on stage that is truly inspiring. Jennifer wrote and produced the show and she was very specific with what she wanted. However, she was always open to new suggestions, music, costuming and props. She was absolutely incredible to work with. She gave me a whole new insight to creating commercial ballet for a new audience and was always so supportive and encouraging of my work.

Mixing ballet and street dance – why those two styles and how do you make it work?

These two styles of dance are the most prominent styles within the dance industry. They are extremely different from one another and can be very difficult to merge together when creating work. Phillip Haddad our Hip Hop choreographer and I had never worked together but we both had an understanding of each other’s work and how to blend our work together to make sure we created something so effortless, dynamic and powerful for the show. I think because my work is not very traditional it was much easier to merge our styles together. I use jazz and contemporary mixed into traditional ballet to make my work more edgy and current.

The show also has comedy moments – tell us more about that:

Working very closely with Jennifer has taught me how important it is to connect your show content with your audience. She is incredible at studying her audience and being able to deliver to their expectations. This was always going to be a feel-good show that would make you want to get up in your seat and have a dance and make you leave still wanting to dance. Which we often do see! When creating the show, we didn’t really add the moments of comedy until we were in the studio working with the dancers. A lot of the comedic moments are developed from them individually and what they bring to the show. As the show progressed we were able to see what comedic moments worked with our audiences and what didn’t. The moments we do have are subtle and fit perfectly within the content of the show and our dancers are exceptional at making our audience laugh and be entertained.

What’s your favourite moment from the show?

I have watch every show from opening night to now and I still can’t pick a favourite moment. I have watched this show over and over and every time I walk out with a new feeling of excitement. The music makes you feel like you want to dance, the dancers make you feel like you want to dance, the energy on stage and through the audience is electric. I love that the dancers receive a standing ovation after every show because they are so deserving of it and humbled that the audience can appreciate that too. There are still moments in the show that give me goosebumps especially when you hear the roar of the audience when a favourite song comes on and the dancers are in their element smashing out the choreography on stage. It’s pretty awesome!

Tell us in three words why someone should book a ticket?

Why wouldn’t you?

Anything else you’d like to add?

Beats On Pointe is not just a show that caters for a dance audience. It is extremely entertaining and just as thrilling for the general audience. It has an awesome soundtrack of modern and old school music intertwined with exceptional choreography. We literally see people dancing in their seats and well into the foyer after the show has finished.

Masters of Choreography, Beats on Pointe
The Peacock
20 Feb – 24 Feb 2018

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InterviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Top Audition Tips from Trinity Laban /articles/news/top-audition-tips-for-trinity-laban//articles/news/top-audition-tips-for-trinity-laban/Your application is in but now you’ve got to prepare for the next stage – the audition! There’s no doubt that auditions can be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience, so as the season approaches, we’ve revealed some secrets for success from a Trinity Laban audition expert.

1. Research the day and what you’ll have to prepare

Each audition day will be different, so make sure you know what it will entail. At Trinity Laban we don’t ask candidates to prepare a solo but other schools may do. In either case, make sure you’re prepared for all elements of the day – including things like travelling to and from the audition and lunch provisions.
Your research should also extend to the different schools you’ve applied to. Reading about a school in a prospectus is completely different to experiencing it for yourself, so keep a look out for Open Days and Summer Schools that you can attend. These can give you an idea of what to expect at an audition and make you feel more confident in approaching it.

2. Get the easy bits right!

Make sure that you’re eating well, keeping hydrated and wearing comfortable dancewear that you feel confident in. Most places will specify basic dance wear – such as ballet shoes for a ballet class and tight fitting clothes for a contemporary class – but asides from that, you can play around with colour (which can also help a panel identify you) and expressing yourself as long as you’re comfortable!

3. Show you’re engaged

It might seem silly to say, but things like leaning on the barre or talking whilst an exercise is going on is distracting and can suggest you’re not fully committed to the audition. Ask questions, be alert and remember that you’re being auditioned on all aspects – not just how good your technique is.

4. Be open-minded

Whenever I’m auditioning people, I’m not looking for the finished article. I’m looking for those who are prepared to take a risk and have a go even if it is outside their comfort zone. Some people have been training in dance since they were three, whilst others find even the thought of improvisation paralysing. But the ones who stand out are the ones who put themselves out there even if something is not their strength – if you go wrong, do it with confidence! How you cope with mistakes can say a lot about you as a dance artist.

5. Show your strengths, don’t focus on your weaknesses

Contrary to popular belief, auditions aren’t designed to trip you up! At Trinity Laban, we’re looking for potential and what you might be able to bring to your three years training regardless of previous experience. I love it when candidates come from a variety of backgrounds, including non-contemporary dance styles such as hip hop, because they bring something different and refreshing to the audition. Showcase what you’re good at and what makes you different from others.

6. Remember the interview

Most schools will have some form of interview as part of an audition day, and this is just as important as the practical work so make sure you prepare for this! It’s a good idea to think about some basic questions that you’ll probably be asked, but not so much that your responses will sound rehearsed e.g. why have you applied for a professional training in dance; why does this particular programme appeal to you; where do you see yourself in the future? Don’t make your answers overly generic – at Trinity Laban we want to know specifically why you’ve applied to us (not only why you’ve applied for dance training)!

7. Positivity

Lastly, remember to have fun and relax! No one knows better than the members of the audition panel how scary auditions can be, and they’re there to encourage you to do your best. Everyone auditioning is in the same boat as you and you’re more likely to do your best when you’re alert but not tense and anxious!

Trinity Laban applications for BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance are still open and close on 15 January 2018. For more information, please visit: trinitylaban.ac.uk/dance

For more information on Trinity Laban Open Days, Summer Schools and other activities please visit: trinitylaban.ac.uk/take-part

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NewsTue, 12 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0000
Your weekly London dance guide /articles/news/your-weekly-london-dance-guide//articles/news/your-weekly-london-dance-guide/Monday

Fancy dancing in a large scale work at the Tower of London? East London Dance and Hofesh Schector Company are looking for Londoners to take part in new dance piece The Wall. Find out more and apply to be part of the open audition.

Tuesday

Warm-up from a snowy London with a ‘fun singing or dancing session for you and your little ones. Join Rosie for a festive music workshop as ‘singing, dancing, jingling and tinsel await!’

Wednesday

Catch ‘celebrated director and choreographer Arthur Pita’ as he returns to the Lilian Baylis Studio with ‘magical dance theatre show’ The Little Match Girl.
Follow the story of ‘an impoverished young street girl who wanders the ever-darkening streets with just one final match to keep her warm on a cold Christmas Eve ‘beautifully recreated through dance, song and live atmospheric music.’

Thursday

Discover Collaborations at The Place featuring a mixed evening of ‘bold and imaginative of large scale constructions of electronic scores, live music, intriguing works for the screen and experimental dance’ that ‘challenging the roles of dancer, musician, designer and film-maker’.

Friday

Get into the party mood with an evening of ‘Energetic folk dancing’ at Knees up Cecil Sharpe! A mixture of established and up-and-coming bands play in the English ceilidh style. All dances are explained by the caller in a walk through beforehand, so no experience is needed!

Saturday

Dance the afternoon away at a Tea Dance in Greenwich Dance’s historic home the 1930s Borough Hall. Built especially for social dancing, ‘people have been enjoying Tea Dances in its beautiful Art Deco surrounding for decades’. Now is your chance to join them with some Ballroom, Latin, Jive and Sequence dancing.

Sunday

Catch the Bolshoi ballet’s live screening of The Nutcracker in cinemas across London for two hours of ‘enchantment and magic’ featuring Tchaikovsky’s score and some of the ‘Bolshoi’s greatest artsist’.

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NewsSun, 12 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000
Project Polunin - Satori - London Coliseum/articles/reviews/project-polunin-satori-london-coliseum//articles/reviews/project-polunin-satori-london-coliseum/Recently watching Dancer – the documentary featuring Sergei Polunin and his troubled journey from the Ukraine to youthful stardom encountering genuine isolation from his family – it was hard not to embrace his latest triple-bill, Satori, with a zealousness usually reserved for football mums rooting for their children. “Come on, Sergei,” you could almost hear the audience chant. “You can do it.”

So with the evening opening to First Solo, a seven-minute party piece, choreographed by Andrey Kaydanovsky, featuring Polunin alone on stage looking torturous, it was with a deep sigh of relief to see that the boy can still dance.

Perhaps not with the same refined, near god-like precision associated with those early days as principle of the Royal Ballet, but whilst his critics still castigate him for turning his back on company life and balletic purity, there was raw power in his delivery and with it the ability to imbue emotion through movement.

Whether it was the desperate need for this production to be validated, given the response to Project Polunin’s first outing back in March, or just the sheer passion of being back in the limelight, there was sense of vulnerability expressed in First Solo. Using all the strength he could muster throwing every last sinew into his performance, Polunin looked hauntingly exposed on the bare stage, lit by a lone spotlight marking him out to the audience as if trapped in a self-imposed prison trying to break free.

Swiftly moving into classical territory, Scriabiniana reset the tone in a pleasant romp sewn together with a series of pas de deux and pas de quatre, free of narrative and relying heavily on framed photogenic shapes and forms to carry its action.

The piece floats seamlessly from one vignette to the next, some sensual, others more pastoral, but with little meaning outside of an overriding feeling of well-being found through the symmetry of form, recreating a Soviet aesthetic of the gymnastic variety that premieres to Western audiences for the first time, even though the piece was choreographed by Kasyan Goleizovsky, 125 years ago.

Noteworthy here is the genius casting by Royal Ballet soloist, Valentino Zuchetti, gathering principle dancers from ballet companies across Europe to dance together in this work breathing life into the choreography.

The final piece, Satori, inspired by Eastern philosophy, choreographed by Polunin, with designs by David LaChapelle, resembles a fairy tale on steroids. The stage is bathed in technicolour brightness and the picture book sets – cut out clouds, billowing sheets – punctuated by flickering images from hanging TV screens create a dreamy illusion of fantasy as dancers emerge from the misty shadows into the light.

Most memorable in Satori are the scenes with the boy, backlit by a godly yellow glow and danced with cheeky confidence by Tom Waddington. Perhaps a throwback to the former Polunin, this autobiographical touch revealed moments of real joy in movement – including a wide-brimmed smile from Polunin shot out to the audience whilst the two dance together.

The piece allows Polunin to be himself – an energetic bouncing ball – a virtuoso – either flying across the stage from leaping jetes into multiple pirouettes only to dissolve into an existential mess when he throws himself onto the stage – lost when the little boy is torn away from him.

The choreography skims along effortlessly in repetitive phrases. Polunin is clearly dancing to his own tune while the rest of the cast are there as back-up support for the main man – including the breathtakingly beautiful Natalia Osipova who is in every way an equal match to Polunin’s own artistic capabilities.

The parting shot momentarily re-addresses this balance in a sensually charged pas de deux where Polunin and Osipova – clad in flesh coloured leotards, literally cling together to create a unified being – banishing loneliness and angst off and up into the colourful clouds above.

Overall, Satori offers a lively and heartfelt attempt to bring ballet into a more commercial setting and while nobody likes change, you can’t blame the hugely talented Polunin for trying.

Satori was reviewed by Rachel Nouchi. Rachel is a writer/movement researcher from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and contributes arts based features and reviews covering UK performance. You can find her on Twitter @NouchiR

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ReviewsSat, 12 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0100
East London Dance and Hofesh Shechter Company are looking for 160 east London-based young community dancers /articles/news/open-call-east-london-based-young-dance-talent//articles/news/open-call-east-london-based-young-dance-talent/East London Dance and Hofesh Shechter Company, in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT, are looking for up to 160 east London-based young community dancers to participate in East Wall, a large-scale spectacle of dance and live music directed by the world-renowned choreographer Hofesh Shechter taking place at the Tower of London in July 2018.

The Open Call will be on Saturday 10 March at University of East London’s University Square Stratford Campus. Although this project is a celebration of east London, groups from across London are welcome to apply. It is open to school, college, university, community and youth dance groups of up to 30 dancers aged between 13 – 25, across a diverse range of movement and dance styles.

Hofesh Shechter said: “East Wall is an invitation for people to come together, and through the Open Call, we have a unique opportunity to bring local young people into the heart of the creation of the piece. I can’t wait to meet all of these performers and to witness the artistry, dance styles, cultures, personality and dynamic energy of east London through them. I hope the experience can give them a sense of creative freedom that they can use as a way to connect with and understand each other.”

East Wall will see Hofesh Shechter working in collaboration with brilliant young choreographers, Becky Namgauds, Duwane Taylor, James Finnemore and Joseph Toonga in a large-scale performance uniting dancers, musicians and community participants to celebrate east London’s rich cultural heritage. Each of the four choreographers, whose dance styles range from krump to contemporary, will work closely with the young participants to create expressive and dynamic dance works that will be weaved together by Shechter.

Hofesh Shechter said: “I have had the pleasure of working with each of these choreographers in the lead up to East Wall and know that they will bring a unique sensibility, style and energy to the project which I can’t wait to share with a national audience on this grand and historic stage.”

Performing in East Wall will give dance groups the opportunity to work with Hofesh Shechter and this team of choreographers as part of the first major public art event in the Tower of London moat since the Poppies installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red in 2014.

East Wall – performance participation Open Call University of East London’s, University Square, Stratford Campus
Saturday 10 March, 2018
Apply and find out more at eastlondondance.org
Application deadline: Friday 2 February, 10am

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NewsSat, 12 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0100
Yasmine Hugonnet: 'It's not like you should understand the image I wish to show you but you may let your imagination be free to wander'/articles/interviews/five-minutes-with-yasmine-hugonnet//articles/interviews/five-minutes-with-yasmine-hugonnet/Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m a dancer, choreographer, researcher and more recently a ventriloquist. Born in Switzerland, I studied ballet, then moved to Paris to the National Superior Conservatory, and later in the Netherlands I did a Masters Degree in choreography. Between 2000 and 2009 I worked on various projects in several different countries, without being part of a company or having any subsidy. I mainly collaborated with Maxime Ianarelli, we worked as a loose collective working with local artists wherever we were.

Called Synalephe, we developed projects and site specific work and, very importantly learned from each other. Synalephe comes from Greek, the idea of two different entities coming together. Our work evolved in a sort of joyful idealism, artists from different backgrounds trying to create work together. In Taiwan, for example, we worked with blind artists, performing in the street, on trains, in galleries etc, not in theatres. We experimented with interactive performances, involving public participation. In Ljubljana, Slovenia, thanks to an artistic residency for young performers I was able to create a trio work, Re-play, with a wholly local team. We were invited to perform it at ImpulzTanz in Vienna.

In 2009 I created my company Arts Mouvementés in Lausanne Switzerland.

Your performing your work Le Récital des Postures at the Lilian Baylis Studio in the new year – tell us more about the work and how your creation process:

The Récital des Postures was premiered in March 2014 and since then we have toured this production extensively. It is a very important piece for me, almost a sort of manifesto, as it emerged after a long period of solitary research where my interest in tools for composition became very sharp.

The Récital is a form of concert for one musical instrument; here the instrument is the body. In a poetic way I think the postures are ‘singing’. They are not only providing a visual effect but at another level also vibrating and in the apparent stillness, they are producing movement in the spectator’s imagination.

The motif of research was that we should perform with intensity and abandon, in unison. Abandon isn’t just a physical state, it could be a mood, a dream, a letting go, a sensuous drift towards sleep. Our movement went towards the sensuous, towards almost violent upward motion.

I like to think of the performance as a choreographic rite: in the vibratory space between the performer and the spectator, one can witness the birth and the construction of a body. But this body is not that of a dancer, it is a symbolic body, archetypal, social, as well as a place of communication.

In the work, you execute ‘a series of postures and movements referenced in historic paintings, ancient sculptures, marionettes and everyday life’ – why that mix? What story are you hoping to share?

Let’s say that the piece is composed by a sculpting of a character. First it is only a very schematic body, with no face, lying horizontally. During the piece the body metamorphoses; slowly unfolding, then addressing, then gazing, playing before finally being given a voice.

The movement continues constantly whether it is visible or not, even in apparent immobility. This is what makes it possible for there to be movement “inside” the posture, to move the point of anchorage. The postures I collected are the vibrant ones, they are containers of several images and many potentialities. These very vibrant places may sometimes evoke a direct cultural and emotional reference point for spectators. It is not like you should understand the image I wish to show you but you may let your imagination be free to wander.

Your performance is billed as ‘slow-burn’. How did you come to develop this style of movement?

Slow-burn… funny, first time I’ve heard that! I’m interested in observing how things change. I try to create a space for watching how we are watching. A space for renewing what we think a body is. I like to be surprised by what changes.

I was working within parameters already mentioned, to which I added two other principles; don’t change everything at the same time. That’s to say, keep something of the movement or posture you’ve been working with, whilst changing one of its aspects.This helps you to concentrate on the particular element you’re trying to change, on the process of moving from a present state to what it will become. And don’t ever go back, each move must bring about an irreversible change.

Opening a space where the spectator can receive contents but also where one can observe how he is composing his reading of the body.
I like to produce change with a suttle gesture and extend, or negociate the space between moment A and moment B. Another way to say it the big change is often very near to the actual situation, it is just besides. I like that a gesture has the power to become a latche, that might tranform the situation.

Each form may be a posture, one that evokes a relation to the self and the world, in the same way the art of sculpture does. What is it that orients us as we try to identify whether a body has good or bad posture, strong or weak, lazy or efficient, how gendered…? What happens in the interstices between these extreme postures? I envisage the posture as a reservoir ( or container) and alter it using its own contents.

What does this form of movement offer the audience that they might not find in more traditional dance?

Hmmm…. I don’t know. I was recently in Korea and came across the concept of Jeong-jung-dong’ which means ‘there is movement in the stillness’, a concept very close to my work. The Récital changes it’s own style during the performance, it starts like rather minimal dance and ends with humour and ventriloquy! That might be a bit particular!

You’ll be performing as part of London International Mime Festival what are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?

I’m very glad to be performing at London International Mime Festival. I’m personally quite attracted by visual theatre and other works using illusion and human savoir-faire made in extremely simple and poetic ways. I would love to see most of the shows, but it will depend on the time I have available.

Yasmine Hugonnet, Le Récital des Postures
Lilian Baylis Studio
19 & 20 Jan

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InterviewsSat, 12 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0100
Resolution Festival is back for 2018/articles/news/resolution-festival-is-back//articles/news/resolution-festival-is-back/The Place has announced the line-up for the 29th edition of Resolution festival which will run across 27 nights as 81 companies take to the stage to test the limits of dance through bold ideas and movement.

Resolution is the place to discover the unexpected, to sample future performance trends before they migrate to larger stages and possibly discover the next big thing in dance. Almost all of today’s top UK-based contemporary choreographers presented their earliest work at this platform, including Wayne MacGregor, Hofesh Shechter, Kate Prince, Luca Silvestrini and more recently Tony Adigun, James Cousins and Sarah Blanc.

For the companies taking part it’s not only a chance to perform in a world-class theatre but a professional development opportunity too. Artists follow a bespoke programme created by The Place and led by industry professionals from professional reviews to learning technical skills, marketing and publicity and receiving individual advice. It’s a crucial staging post on the long journey of developing their career, their audience and their art.

This year The Place has partnered with Jacksons Lane, Artists4Artists, Rambert and Grad-Lab Dance development Project supported by The Point, Eastleigh to support emerging talent and present the latest and bravest trends in contemporary performance.

With an uncompromising attitude of experimentation this year’s choreographers draw on diverse background, styles and experiences; from contemporary to hip hop, from dance theatre to circus. Using this rich language they comment and explore themes of gender, race, technology and power.

Some the highlights include:

  • Mathieu Geffré Act (12 Jan); ex-NDCW and Didy Veldman performer, returns to Resolution after becoming finalist for the Competition for Choreographers in * Hanover and receiving 3rd Prize Choreography at Copenhagen International Choreography Competition.
  • Presented by Grad-Lab, ella&co’s #nofilter (13 Jan); a satirical and self-aware piece about millennials and their obsession with their social media persona.
  • Circomedia graduate, Tilly Lee-Kronick Ripe (16 Jan); a solo show about stereotypes of female performers mixing choreography, comedy and static trapeze.
  • Edit Domoszlai Work 2 (26 Jan); member of Rambert Dance Company performs her own precise and athletic work.
  • Elinor Lewis with Nuria Legarda Andueza Orchard (2 Feb); includes the navigation of a set of 90 cardboard tubes. Lewis is an Arts Admin supported performance artist.
  • Protocol I Can’t Breathe (3 Feb); fusing physical theatre and hip hop in a piece focusing on police brutality and race in the US.
  • Jade Hackett The Duke Joint (17 Feb); an unapologetically joyous dance theatre work, set in the slave trade era of America.
  • Project Gibbon Gibbon (23 Feb); circus artists, José Trigeuro and Chris Patfield, team up to create a poetic and comedic juggling/movement based piece about self-awareness and internal dialogues. Produced by Gandini Juggling and presented by Jacksons Lane.

Resolution runs from Friday 12 January to Friday 23 February 2018.

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NewsMon, 12 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0100