LondonDance - Latest Articleshttp://londondance.comLatest news and articles from LondonDanceFri, 15 Dec 2017 11:51:38 +0000Thu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100CHOREODROME 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
Project Polunin's Satori in rehearsal /articles/news/project-polunins-satori-in-rehearsal//articles/news/project-polunins-satori-in-rehearsal/Images by Srdan Srdenovic.

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NewsFri, 12 May 2017 00:00:00 +0100
Your weekly London dance guide /articles/features/your-weekly-london-dance-guide-19//articles/features/your-weekly-london-dance-guide-19/Monday

Start your week off right with the Xmas DDMix class hosted by Strictly judge Darcey Bussell and the DDMIX team. Get moving and then enjoy a glass of bubbles after for £20. Tickets will be on a first come first served basis so don’t miss out!

Tuesday

See ‘world-famous ballet star’ Sergei Polunin present a mixed programme of new and revived work. Tuesday’s performance features First Solo, ‘a new short ballet starring Serge created by award-winning choreographer Andrey Kaydanovskiy, Scriabiniana, the London premiere of the most complete version of Kasyan Goleizovsky’s ballet suite and the world premiere of Satori, choreographed by Sergei.’

Wednesday

Grab the smaller members of your family and join ‘a fun workshop using movement to bring the National Gallery collection alive a chance for little ones to encounter dance and choreography, in a magical way’.

Thursday

Looking to try a new dance style? Check out our top picks of beginners dance classes across the capital. Learn to chasse, plie and promenade in time to show off your moves at the office Christmas party.

Friday

Bring a little winter magic into your lives with a trip to The Snowman at The Peacock theater. The show is celebrating its 20th anniversary on stage

Saturday

Learn Finnish tango, or Fintango in an afternoon of free dancing and music at Southbank Centre. Fintango is an established variation of the Argentine tango, following the rhythms of Ballroom tango, and was one of the most popular music forms for decades in Finland.

Sunday

Enjoy ‘puro flamenco, a super-charged gypsy style of Flamenca’ at Peña Flamenca de Londres ‘London’s friendly flamenco club’ as they welcome Flamencos del Sur, a group of top-class performers travelling directly from Granada.

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FeaturesWed, 12 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0100
Valentino Zucchetti: 'Some people will find it exciting, others a bit risky'/articles/interviews/valentino-zucchetti//articles/interviews/valentino-zucchetti/Sergio Polunin’s latest passion project Satori, a Japanese Buddhist term for ‘enlightenment’ through personal experience, mirrors his own journey to reconnect with his love of the arts by offering audiences ‘a ballet and a multi-media experience’.

Whether or not such passion will be transmitted to audiences remains to be seen but Royal Ballet soloist, and choreographer in his own right, Valentino Zucchetti, is well placed to discuss the nature of collaboration and how breaking free from the constraints of large-scale ballet company can regenerate ballet as an art form.

Zucchetti – Polunin’s friend, confidante and right-hand man in all things logistical for this production – will dance in Goleizovsky’s Scriabiniana , alongside fellow Royal Ballet soloist Akane Takada, Polunin and Natalie Osipova. Other names that will ring bells with UK audiences include Lauretta Summerscales and Yonah Acosta, formerly of English National Ballet, both now dancing in Munich.

For this production, Zucchetti has brought together ballet dancers from major ballet companies across Europe to perform in Scriabiniana. Resurrected by Polunin to mark the 125th anniversary of the Bolshoi choreographer’s death, the cast reads like a veritable Christmas wish list that most choreographers could but dream of collecting.

The rest of the line-up includes First Solo, a new seven-minute ballet created by choreographer Andrey Kaydanovskiy staring Polunin and finally Satori, choreographed by Polunin himself and renewing his collaboration with David LaChapelle following on from LaChapelle’s video of Polunin dancing to Hozier’s Take Me to Church (2015).

So what was his agenda for selecting from such a broad sweep of European talent? “To find the right dancers who can bring something new to a traditional piece of choreography,” Zucchetti explains. “_Scriabiniana_ has never been performed before in the West. It has a rigid Soviet style, so to make it fresh, we thought it would be important for each dancer to bring their own qualities to the piece.”

And did Zucchetti seek out dancers that feel comfortable with Russian style? “The selection process was based on finding dancers who suited the ballet and had an understanding of the foundation work of Goleizovsky. There requires a specific type of physique, but it’s exciting to have people from different backgrounds, otherwise you end up showing 12 dancers from Russia with a total Soviet pitch to the ballet. Sergei wanted something different.”

So has the Ballet been adapted to Western audiences? Zucchetti explains that due to the strictness of the foundation that protects the choreography, steps and costumes can’t be changed.

“This piece was made in the 1960’s, so the best way to revive it was to give it a fresh tone through the choice of dancers who bring their own mark to each piece. They never dance together at once because it’s a mix of pas de deaux and pas de quatre. We hope their interpretations will lend shades of depth that wouldn’t have happened with an all Russian cast.”

In terms of freedom of creativity working outside of a formal ballet company, Zucchetti is clear that while the collaboration allows for a flow and exchange of ideas, fundamentally Satori remains a platform for Polunin’s creative vision.

“It’s his way of creating an arena for his self-expression and all processes are overlooked by Sergei’s artistic decisions. Nevertheless, it’s still an environment where anyone can have input from producers to assistants. All ideas are listened to and many see the light of day,” Zucchetti explains.

And the constraints of a large-scale ballet company are obviously fierce for an artist who is questioning the medium and wants to put a significant stamp on their own work. “It’s not impossible, it’s just a much slower process,” says Zucchetti.

“Obviously, when you work for a big ballet company, you don’t have as much input as a dancer. I’m at the Royal Ballet, but it’s the same story everywhere. You are a dancer and therefore you are told what to dance, when to dance and who to dance with, so room for expression is quite limited.” This, he says, it what drives Polunin and his quest to form his own structure.

“Finding ways of being noticed is a subtle process and requires working on stagecraft and presence. Can you stand out by the way you interpret your role? You are totally dictated by the company. There is so little room for input and I think that’s what Sergei is doing with his project and battling against in his career choices.”

And battling has been very much part of his raison d’etre with Polunin’s herculean rise to fame as the youngest principle of Royal Ballet at 19 years of age, only to walk out in a storm of controversy in 2012, precipitated by the painful distance of his family and a mourning of a childhood that was swallowed up by the rigors of ballet training.

Since then, the Ukrainian dancer has lived his life under the spotlight of media scrutiny as ballet rebel with a self-destruct button. While the film Dancer, released earlier this year, demystified a troubled soul by offering a revealing portrait of a young person’s struggle with immense talent. Ballet is now only one of his exploratory art forms. Screen roles in Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, currently out on release, as well as modelling and setting-up a dancer’s management agency are, according to his critics, taking its toll on his dancing life.

Furthermore, following the tepid critical response to the first Polunin Project programme at Sadler’s Wells earlier this year, Zucchetti admits that the collaboration and certain aspects of the show didn’t work due to logistical difficulties that had nothing to do with the dancers or choreography.

This upcoming production, he says, benefitted from the last in many ways. Zucchetti, who helped choreograph sequences of dance in the last show, remained strictly outside of the creative process this time. “Too many choreographers working on one piece just doesn’t work,” he says.

So with anticipation high for next week’s opening of the second Project Polunin triple bill, is Zucchetti confident this time round of the production’s success?

“I think Polunin is taking a gamble in terms of his artistic exploration,” he admits. “Some people will find it exciting, others a bit risky. I’m hoping that those following his career closely will notice a learning process for him and the team.”

And how will Polunin rate success in terms of his production? “In Sergei’s eyes, Satori will prove successful if it comes off as a piece of theatre. Ballet is no longer his primary mode of expression. The score, sets, concepts behind his productions are an attempt to bring these forms together. This is a ballet going experience, but he also wants to transmit expression of emotion through the sets and the music too.”

Ultimately though, Zucchetti believes that the audience is the deal breaker. “As an artist you never know how audiences will react. You can show a million people the same ballet and only half will love it. Not every full-length ballet will be guaranteed the same impact. Sergei’s projects often attract a different type of audience to the regular ballet goer. They will either love it or hate it.”

Polunin Project, Satori
London Coliseum
5 – 10 December

Valentino Zucchetti spoke to 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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InterviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
10 Beginner Adult dance classes in London/articles/features/10-beginner-adult-dance-classes-in-london//articles/features/10-beginner-adult-dance-classes-in-london/We delved into the LondonDance class listings to pull out 10 beginner classes in a range of styles. This is just a highlight of what’s on offer in the capital. Head over to our class listings to find more.

1. Ballet

Central School of Ballet, Farringdon

Central Ballet adult classes provide ‘a fun and satisfying way to improve muscle tone, flexibility and co-ordination as well as improving dance technique’. Professionally-trained instructors tailor sessions around individual class needs, so whatever your age or ability there’s a class for you.

Find out more

2. Ballroom

The Capital Dance School, Marylebone

The Capital Dance School offer classes in styles ranging from Ballroom and Latin American to Argentine Tango, Salsa and American Smooth. Beginner lessons allow you to ‘socialize whilst learning new steps’ with qualified tutors on hand. There are also structured courses designed to ‘ensure you learn dances and steps quickly so that you can start to practice with other people’. Beginners can also take a free 20-minute taster lesson or a free group class.

Find out more

3. Contemporary

The Place, Kings Cross

Develop your skills in a ‘friendly and inspiring environment’ with classes taught by professional artists accompanied by fantastic live music. Classes are open to anyone over the age of 16 and range from Released based Contemporary, German Tanztheater and Contemporary Fusion.

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4. Hip Hop

Rain Crew, Stratford

Lead by Clint Sinclair and Haseeb “Chilly” Hearn, Rain Crew offers Thursday adult classes to help students ‘build movement vocabulary, strategy and confidence for performances and battles, while establishing a disciplined physical regime for training’. Rain adult classes are ‘guided but not bound by programme syllabus’ to help students meet personal objectives. Classes are open to new members at any point and at any level.

Find out more

5. Folk Dance

English Folk and Dance Society, Camden

From Morris dancing to Irish set dancing, the English Folk and Dance Society hosts a range of beginner folk dance classes. Held at Cecil Sharpe House, enjoy lively classes in a welcoming environment on evenings and weekends.

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6. South Asian

Khyal Arts, Walthamstow

Discoverf Kathak Dance with KATHAK 4 ALL at Khyal Arts. Aligning with Akram Khan’s legacy of Kathak Dance, ‘experienced and friendly dance artist, Archita Kumar leads an inclusive and accessible class with flowing fancy footwork, fast spins, and timeless hand gestures.’

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7. Tap

Pineapple Studios, Covent Garden

Discover a whole range of Tap styles at Pineapple Studios. Beginners classes feature ‘basic steps and simple sequences in a friendly and fun class delivering a great sense of achievement within the hour.’

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8. Tango

Raquel Greenberg Tango Academy, Soho

Try a beginner class which will guide you through the foundations of ‘authentic argentine tango providing you with a full experience, Buenos Aires Style’. You wil ‘experience the pure essence of Argentine Tango with internationally renowned and experienced teachers’ in a supportive and friendly atmosphere. Absolute beginners can also take a free taster session.

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9. Swing

Swing Patrol, across London

Swing Patrol have beginner swing dancing classes all over London. No partner needed and no booking necessary.

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10. Arial

Aerial Life, Hammersmith

Aerial Life studio offers aerial classes for everyone, from silks and rope to trapeze and hoop. Taster classes are also on offer for beginners.

Find out more

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FeaturesThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100