LondonDance - Latest Articleshttp://londondance.comLatest news and articles from LondonDanceThu, 17 Aug 2017 23:17:51 +0100Thu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100 Wayne McGregor's +/- Human: How do you know something is alive? /articles/news/wayne-mcgregors-human-how-do-you-know-something-is//articles/news/wayne-mcgregors-human-how-do-you-know-something-is/How do you know something is alive? You’re definitely left pondering this question after witnessing Wayne McGregor’s +/- Human, a new live dance and immersive installation piece at the Roundhouse.

The performance a ‘physical experiment’ where empty space is ‘occupied by dancers both human and non-human’ offers a real reflection on how man and machine continue to connect.

Entering the iconic Roundhouse, the darkened auditorium is thick with ‘another world’ atmosphere. The seating has been stripped away leaving the round performance space open and stark. Only a rope separates the audience from the performance area and as you edge closer a cluster of drones come into sight, white and balloon like, humming above the space.

These drones hover and glide in the spotlights and then, as the dancers enter the space, begin to respond, echoing the movement of the humans below.

It’s hypnotic to watch. The drones feeling both familiar and alien, their apparent weightlessness working with and against the fantastic physicality of the dancers, a mix of Company Wayne McGregor and Royal Ballet members.

The style of McGregor’s choreography – high energy, grounded, fast and deadly controlled – both matches and rebuffs the definite, delicate pace of the drones. There are tantalising moments of acknowledgment between dancer and drone, but their performances never directly unite.

When not moving, the dancers come to stand on the edge of the performance space inevitably blocking some of the audience’s view. This causes us to weave and bob to get a better look, almost in parallel to the drones above.

When the performance ends and the dancers depart, make sure to stick around as the audience is invited in to have a chance to interact with the drones.

+/- Human is at the Roundhouse 10 – 28 August with the live dance performance happening every Friday and Saturday night.

NewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Your weekly London dance guide /articles/features/your-weekly-london-dance-guide-10//articles/features/your-weekly-london-dance-guide-10/Monday

Join Rachel Sparks for an ‘inclusive and welcoming’ partner dancing class for all abilities. ‘Accessible to all Gender neutral partnering – anyone can lead, anyone can follow – LGBTQIA+ friendly.’


Book tickets for ROH Insight event MacMillan and Me – Dancing The Rite of Spring as ‘current and former Royal Ballet dancers including Mara Galeazzi and Monica Mason discuss Kenneth MacMillan’s trailblazing ballet and his influence on their careers.’


Witness a ‘delicate encounter between dancers and audience’ on the roof of Royal Festival Hall, as Rambert presents Julie Cunningham & Company in a new site-specific performance.


Drop–in to Siobhan Davies studios to witness Henrietta Hale and Rachel Lopex de la Nieta open their practice to the public. See their research in action, ask questions, make comments or participate as a solo viewer as they work on Messages from the Field, a creative research project embedded in interpersonal communication.


Watch Iceland Dance Company perform Sacrifice, a ‘spectacle of dance, art and film’ created in collaboration with visual artists Ragnar Kjartansson and Matthew Barney. ‘Part dance, part ballet, part rock concert, part film _Sacrifice _spills from the stage into an immersive ‘market’ environment in the foyer spaces of Royal Festival Hall.’


Lurch ‘through extreme sonic worlds specially created by Warp Records artists as super-human dancers from Company Wayne McGregor and The Royal Ballet within the +/- Human installation’ at the Roundhouse.


Dig out your bonnets and waistcoats to enjoy some 19th century dance in a social setting. Suitable for dancers with mixed abilities.

FeaturesThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Mikah Smillie: “I got a call and pretty much had to start the next day. It really was a baptism of fire.” /articles/interviews/mikah-smillie-andldquo-i-got-a-call-and-pretty-muc//articles/interviews/mikah-smillie-andldquo-i-got-a-call-and-pretty-muc/When the National Youth Ballet’s (NYB) founding director, Jill Tookey, sadly passed away in April last year, she left a big shoes to fill at a crucial moment in the company’s calendar. Fortunately, Mikah Smillie, formerly professional dancer with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, was ready to step in: “I got a call and pretty much had to start the next day. It really was a baptism of fire.” she explains.

Mikah helped the NYB successfully complete its season, and after a rigorous interview process was officially appointed the post of artistic director in October. “As a kid, I performed quite a lot and those really were the most exciting and inspirational moments in my childhood,” she says. “Equally, I feel really strongly about artists like myself, in the transitional period of coming out of performing and moving into something else, needing somewhere to channel everything they’ve learned – and that really is what NYB is all about.”

The company offers more than a hundred aspiring dancers aged eight to 18 the chance to experience what it’s like to be part of a professional company during its annual 10-day residential summer school, which culminates in a series of glittering performances. Each student learns and performs two pieces, choreographed and taught by some of UK’s best talent, as well as its rising stars – some of whom are NYB alumni. “It’s so inspiring for the students to work with professionals and start making connections, and to learn how to work both individually and as part of a team, building something collectively,” Mikah explains. “Whatever these young people end up doing, these are all important life skills.”

This year, the summer school will be held in Birmingham, with performances at the Crescent Theatre and at Sadler’s Wells in London. “Finally getting everyone together in one place is what I’m looking forward to the most,” says Mikah, who works remotely from Glasgow, while her colleagues are based at the NYB headquarters in Kent. “I just love connecting everyone up and feeling the buzz, excitement and support. It’s a huge, creative and nurturing circle.”

As well as being Mikah’s first year as artistic director, 2017 also marks NYB’s 30th anniversary, which will be celebrated with a specially themed programme for the students to perform entitled Time in Motion. It features seven short works that follow a journey through time, choreographed by established professionals – Scottish Ballet artistic director Christopher Hampson, Birmingham Royal Ballet first soloist Jonathan Payn, English National Ballet School director of dance Samira Saidi and New Adventures associate director Etta Murfitt – as well as emerging artists Ruth Brill, Arielle Smith and Louise Bennet.

The showcase will also include a piece choreographed by one of the students – the winner of NYB’s annual choreographic competition, which is held during the summer school as part of the Beyond Ballet platform. This encourages the students to develop a piece from scratch, taking advantage of support from NYB’s professional team as well as their peers. Beyond Ballet also offers training in other areas of the industry, such as stage management, rehearsal direction and costume design.

After 20 years as a performing artist, the opportunity to take the reins at NYB couldn’t have come at a better time for Mikah: “I’m absolutely satisfied that I’ve done everything I wanted to do. I’ve performed in some great places like New York and Japan, and worked with incredibly talented people. Now I’m happy for the next generation to take over.”

Just nine months in, Mikah has already made some bold and ambitious plans for the future. “We want to make NYB a truly national company, providing more performance opportunities across Scotland and Wales, as well as England. We’ll also forge new partnerships and widen our outreach programme to engage a broader range of students.”

This year, NYB held auditions in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester, as well as London, and offered masterclasses at the same time, taught by some of company’s professional ambassadors and alumni. “We’re taking the fantastic opportunities that are already there and developing them further. It’s important for us to give the best experience to the children we possibly can,” says Mikah.

With her work cut out at NYB, Mikah is still hoping to keep her hand in rehearsal directing and teaching at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. “I think the variety is healthy and it keeps you up to date with the industry and everyone in it,” she says, adding that she’s particularly busy at the moment renovating her flat! Mikah is also a keen dance photographer, which provides a lovely creative release: “I remember I was in New York and I woke up one morning thinking ‘I’ve got to buy a camera.’ It was the best thing I did.”

See Time in Motion at Sadler’s Wells on 3 September. Find out more about NYB at

Mikah spoke to Samantha Whitaker. Samantha is an editor and freelance writer. Find her on Twitter @swhit1985

InterviewsWed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000
Pop-up Ping Pong Dance comes to east London/articles/interviews/ping-pong-collides-with-dance//articles/interviews/ping-pong-collides-with-dance/We chat to Joe Garbett about his new piece Doubles where dance and Ping Pong collide. Joe is a performer and choreographer who currently teaches across the UK. He is also the co-founder of aKa Dance Theatre Company based in his hometown of Taunton.

I’m currently based in London directing work that brings performance art to public and unusual spaces. My choreography explores the importance of unity and engages people in the exhilaration that can come from working with others to achieve a common goal.

I have always loved playing Ping Pong and enjoy how accessible it is – you don’t need to be a professional to have a go or play. I started to realise that Ping Ponng tables were everywhere, which kick started my creative thinking around the potential of using public squares, climbing frames and colourful equipment.

At the end of 2016 I worked with three other dancers on a short research and development idea and started to realise combining Ping Pong with dance could actually work – and it did! I started to talk to Table Tennis England about the idea of a collaboration and they have been hugely enthusiastic and supportive from day one.

I am really grateful for the support I have received during this project. Doubles has been supported by Studio Wayne McGregor and Redbridge Drama Centre as part of East London Dance’s Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund. We rehearsed half the day in the studio and half outdoors.

A main aim I gave myself before starting the creation process was to find an interesting contemporary vocabulary without alienating the public. I am really proud of the material as it is accessible and exciting as well as giving the public a flavour of contemporary dance.

I hope that people of this busy city will give themselves time to stop and enjoy free art. I also hope that the project will encourage people to be sociable and be a reminder to people of how important it is to keep public spaces positive and full of surprises! I have been freelancing as a performer and choreographer for the past four years and I my best memories and experiences have been from performances in unusual and public spaces.

I do not like the idea that art caters for a particular type of person as it risks the arts becoming alienated from the public and not seen as something that should be to the expense of public funding. Dance and physical theatre can be the bridge between reality and a world full of colour and imagination so why would you not use it in everyday situations.

As well as running the project I am also performing. My favourite moments in Doubles are when we get to jump all over the tables and also when no one drops the bats! I play Ping Pong as a hobby time-to-time but once the project is over I would love to join a club. I think Ping Pong is incredibly sociable and it’s accessibility draws in people from all ages and backgrounds.’

Doubles will be popping up at the Ping! tables at Timber Lodge Cafe at 11.30am and 3.30pm and at Victory Park, East Village at 1.15pm this weekend. Follow the Ping Pong dance action at @joegarbettdance and @ping_tweets

InterviewsSun, 08 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0100
Are you part of the next generation of male performers?/articles/news/frantic-ignition//articles/news/frantic-ignition/Frantic Assembly are looking for the next generation of performers. It could be you!

Tasters and Trials

The Tasters and Trials are a series of FREE workshops.

The Tasters are an opportunity to try out Frantic Assembly’s high-energy, risk-taking, physical style. You don’t need any experience to take part. The Trials build on the skills learnt in the Tasters, and from these workshops the next Ignition Company is chosen.

What’s next?

The chosen company will then work together in London, during the October half term (20-26 October), to create an original performance with Frantic Assembly to be performed in front of a live audience.

Travel, accommodation and food will be provided and any access needs will be available to participants.

To find out more visit

NewsWed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0000
English National Ballet - Romeo and Juliet - Royal Festival Hall/articles/reviews/english-national-ballet-romeo-and-juliet-royal-fes//articles/reviews/english-national-ballet-romeo-and-juliet-royal-fes/English National Ballet have done little wrong of late. Only recently in Tamara Rojo’s tenureship audiences have marvelled at English National Ballet’s two contrasting Giselles, and just earlier in the year a remarkable contemporary triple bill. Why then, revive Nureyev’s rather drab and dated production of Romeo and Juliet when balletomanes have so much affection for the much celebrated MacMillan interpretation?

The hardworking corps feel cramped on the shallow and restrictive stage which distracts from the extensive detail in Nureyev’s choreography. Act I begins tentatively however Prokofiev’s rousing score lifts the iconic ball scene and the company rise to the occasion. The experience is enhanced further by the opulent costumes in rich shades of contrasting red and green for the rival groups.

It’s only a shame the intricacies and detail in the corps distract our attention from the main action. This said there is still much to appreciate and enjoy. English National Ballet are a company with many rising stars in their ranks and it’s a pleasure to marvel at their top to bottom talent. Precious Adams gave a wonderfully regal stage presence and Sarah Kundi was eternally energetic in the tightly choreographed interplay between the Montagues and the Capulets.

Individually Erina Takahashi is a flighty, skittish Juliet and despite her experience she is all too believable love struck fourteen-year-old Juliet. She is a dancer who can carry the weight of this role with delicacy and vulnerability. Isaac Hernandez’ Romeo is wistful and dreamy. His leaps light-up the dingy Festival Hall stage however, as a pair these two left me unsatisfied. Despite Takahashi’s tiny stature, the what should be effortless lifts and throws seemed clumsy and under-rehearsed. I got less passion and more sweet friendship resulting in less emotional investment in their plight.

The final tragic scenes feel laboured are some lengthy build up and the final image of the Capulets and Montagues embracing each other on sight of the deceased lovers will be a trifle too saccharine for some tastes.

Alison McWhinney took ownership of the role of Rosaline in a elegant, ethereal performance. Her fleeting floating and purity of movement always eye-catching.

Of course Nureyev’s production is not about the women. The men are the true focus, not just Romeo but we are indulged in plenty of blokey bravado from the leaders of the rival groups. There is some particularly enjoyable sword swishing from James Streeter’s majestic Tybalt and some accomplished exhibitionism from Fernando Bufala’s Mercutio, bum-wiggles et all.

Sadly the entire production is plagued by clunky and awkward scene changes. Curtains creak, and beds bang as they are disassembled all of which detracts our focus from the protagonists. The Festival Hall setting simply lacks the right atmosphere and amenities for such a large scale production.

English National Ballet commit pluckily to the worthwhile cause, however Nureyev’s cluttered choreography and at times laboured storytelling means this Romeo and Juliet feels like an unnecessary struggle for a talented company.

Vikki Jane Vile is a freelance dance writer and regular contributor to Dance Today and Dancing Times. Find her on Twitter @VikkiJane

ReviewsSun, 08 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0000
Five Babywearing dance classes in London/articles/news/five-babywearing-dance-classes-in-london//articles/news/five-babywearing-dance-classes-in-london/Sling Swing

Sling Swing offers a mix of swinging dance and gentle movement classes for mums and dads with their little ones in slings and baby carriers.

Latino Bambino

Latino Bambino 45-minute Salsa fitness classes offer mums and dads the chance to wear their babies and dance ‘to the pulsating Latin American tempo’. Latino Bambino is the brainchild of lead instructor, Urska Gestrin Mosquera, a competitive Latin American and Ballroom dancer, and four-time national champion.

Urska says, “After becoming a mother it was difficult to find time to commit to any form of exercise. I found myself dancing at home with my husband and my two little Latino Bambinos and that’s how the classes started.”

Babywearing Ballet

Hit the barre BYOC (Bring Your Own Carrier) style. For the duration of Babywearing Ballet participants ‘practice usual ballet techniques while wearing their babies in a baby carrier’. Babywearing Ballet is suitable for all levels of fitness and for babies from newborn to any babywearing age.

Buddah Baby

Head to Buddah Baby for ‘a 5-week courses where you’ll learn simple dance routines to popular chart music that you can enjoy at home as well as in the class.’

Joimove Babies

Joimove Babies ‘helps mothers, fathers, grandparents, and children socialise by dancing together’. Classes vary in style and include latin dance, ballet, and belly.

NewsSun, 08 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0000
Your weekly London dance guide /articles/features/your-weekly-london-dance-guide-9//articles/features/your-weekly-london-dance-guide-9/Monday

Book your tickets for Werq: Ballroom at the Barbican as London’s ballroom scene competes in ‘runway’, ‘realness’ and ‘performance’ categories. There will also be performances from Chicago-born rapper Mister Wallace, international superstar Kiddy Smile and European Father D’relle Khan.


Take an in-depth look at Romeo & Juliet through the ages in this study day for music, dance and history enthusiasts at the Southbank Centre at the Southbank Centre.


Join Xander Parish, Soloist at the Mariinsky Ballet, in conversation with Deborah Weiss and Esme Chandler at the London Ballet Circle. Xander will discuss his career and journey to the stage, which included dancing with the Royal Ballet.


Head to the Bernie Grant Arts Centre for their Summer Dance Festival which promises three days of ‘jam-packed exciting performances, free events and family-friendly activities’.


Learn extracts from Romeo and Juliette with English National Ballet dance artists at this fun workshop for under-10s and their grown-ups.


Watch South Asian dance company Akademi ‘fuse the epic story of Dante’s Divine Comedy with Hindu mythology, and their signature blend of contemporary dance and music’ at Stratford Circus.


Head down to Spitalfields market to enjoy some free, outdoor tango. The dance floor is covered by our Amphitheatre Canopy canopy so the events will continue through any summer showers. However, bring dance trainers or comfortable shoes as you will be dancing on an outdoor stone surface.

FeaturesThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Want to get your dance work programmed in Europe?/articles/news/aerowaves-open-call-for-dance-artists//articles/news/aerowaves-open-call-for-dance-artists/A hub for dance discovery in Europe, each year the Aerowaves network selects 20 promising emerging choreographers to help promote their work and create performance opportunities.

You can now apply to Aerowaves and get a chance to have your work programmed by the partners of the network. Around 100 performance opportunities are guaranteed and supported each year. There is also the chance to perform your work at the Spring Forward Festival which will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria in March 2018.

Applications are now open and will close at midnight on 12 September 2017.

NewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
See BalletBoyz live in rehearsal with Craig Revel Horwood/articles/news/see-balletboyz-live-in-rehearsal-with-craig-revel//articles/news/see-balletboyz-live-in-rehearsal-with-craig-revel/Tune in on Thursday 27 July at 2pm for day 11 of rehearsals with Craig Revel Horwood as he finalises his brand new work for our show Fourteen Days. Join us by clicking the video above.

You can see his piece, alongside works by Javier de Frutos, Iván Pérez, Christopher Wheeldon and Russell Maliphant, at Sadler’s Wells in October.

NewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Take part in Rosie Kay Company's hit show /articles/news/take-part-in-rosie-kay-companys-show//articles/news/take-part-in-rosie-kay-companys-show/Rosie Kay Dance Company is looking for young people aged 12-25 living in London to get involved in show 5 SOLDIERS.

What is 5 SOLDIERS?

5 SOLDIERS is an award-winning work which questions what we ask of our soldiers and explores how the human body remains essential to war, even in the 21st century. The work came about after choreographer Rosie Kay joined the 4th Battalion The Rifles, to watch and participate in full battle exercises.

Tell me more:

Rosie Kay Dance Company, Sadler’s Wells and The British Army are offering you the chance to work with dance artist Stephen Mason to create a short dance piece based on the themes of 5 SOLDIERS. The piece you create will be performed before the show on the final night of the London production.

It’s free to take part and you don’t need any previous dance experience. You’ll receive a ticket to see the show, a company t-shirt and discounted tickets for friends and family to see you perform.

How do I get involved?

You must be free to take part in all workshops sessions, which will take place on:

Thursday 31 August | St Luke’s Community Hall, Old Street
10am – 4.30pm

Friday 1 September | Khan Studio, Sadler’s Wells Theatre
10am – 4.30pm

Saturday 2 September | St Luke’s Community Hall, Old Street
10am – 4.30pm

Wednesday 6 September | TBD
6pm -8pm

The performance will be on Saturday 9 September at Yeomanry House, London.

For more details contact Vanessa Oxspring, Community Engagement Manager on

To sign-up please fill in the form at the bottom of the page and email to Vanessa.

NewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Your weekly London dance guide /articles/features/your-weekly-london-dance-guide-8//articles/features/your-weekly-london-dance-guide-8/Monday

Check out When I Dance I Feel… a free photography exhibition at Arts Depot. Celebrating ‘the power of dance to promote wellbeing’ with portraits and quotes from dancers in rehearsal for the 2017 School of icandance show.’


Watch a ‘humorous and heartfelt investigation into love, loss and longevity’ as Lost Dog Dance imagine that star-crossed lovers Juliet and Romeo ‘somehow survive into middle age’.


Explore Rambert’s range of dance and fitness classes for adults, based at their award-winning studios on London’s South Bank. Booking for the Autumn term of contemporary dance, ballet and body-conditioning classes for all levels opens this week.


See BalletBoyz in rehearsals with Craig Revel Horwood, live on their website. Follow-up with the finished production Fourteen Days at Sadler’s Wells in October


Take advantage of free entry to see Men & Girls Dance at Tate Britain. ‘In this brand new version, the dancers will meet in a series of playful encounters re-imagined for the unique setting of the Walk Through British Art Galleries.’


Discover the stories of Belgium refugees who made their home in East Twickenham during the First World War, through a site-specific dance piece at Cambridge Gardens, Twickenham.


Dive into the hyper-sexualised physical language of the music video with artist and choreographer Holly Blakey, best known for her work with Florence and the Machine.

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