LondonDance - Latest Articleshttp://londondance.comLatest news and articles from LondonDanceSun, 22 Jan 2017 16:00:45 +0000Thu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100Innovative mental health dance programme to help young people /articles/news/a-brand-new-bespoke-dance-programme-for-more-than//articles/news/a-brand-new-bespoke-dance-programme-for-more-than/A brand new partnership with HeadStart Newham Mental Health Prevention Programme announced by East London Dance as part of new projects for 2017.

From February 2017, East London Dance will embark on an 18-month project with HeadStart Newham, funded by the Big Lottery to support the mental health resilience of young people aged between 10 and 16 years. The programme will deliver a creative, diverse and high quality programme of dance participation and performance for young Newham residents with emerging mental health difficulties.

50% of all lifetime mental disorders begin by age 14** , and evidence of the benefits of creative and sporting activities in promoting mental health resilience in 10-16 year olds who are at risk has been well documented. Newham has the second highest estimated prevalence of adolescent mental disorder in London. In light of these findings, HeadStart Newham has commissioned East London Dance to develop and lead a new preventative dance programme in partnership with London Youth and Sadler’s Wells, to promote well-being and mental health resilience for local young people.

The programme will offer dance classes at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, weekly classes, week-long projects and the opportunity to join the East London Youth Dance Company. This bespoke programme of dance participation and performance will reach at least 150 local young people over the next 18 months, culminating in a dance platform event at Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

Polly Risbridger, Director of East London Dance:
“As the leading producer of creative dance experiences for the people of East London, embedded here for the past three decades, it is energising and exhilarating to see the unprecedented changes taking place across the borough. Continuing our role nurturing the next generation of dance artists and innovators, I am delighted to announce that our unique co-investment initiative, the Dance Enterprise Ideas Fund, which invested £25,000 in local artists and their ideas last year, returns in March as part of the annual Dance Enterprise Ideas Summit. Alongside this, and as part of a new strategic partnership with Sadler’s Wells, we are thrilled to be delivering our first East London-focused project together, alongside London Youth, offering a creative dance programme for local young people at risk of mental health problems.”

Kirsty Anderson-Tyrrell, Creative Producer, Participation and Events at East London Dance:
“Through our participation programme, East London Dance aims to provide progression routes for all young people of East London, of any age or ability. The HeadStart project will allow us to identify and connect with this specific group of young people, taking them on a progressive dance journey with us.”

Katy Arnander, Director of Artistic Programme at Sadler’s Wells:
“We are delighted that this important dance programme, delivered alongside London Youth, is the first project to come out of our new strategic partnership with East London Dance. Headstart Newham have identified a hugely significant and growing area of need among young people with this project, which will greatly benefit from the shared knowledge and experience of our partners and the profound effect dance can have on mental health and wellbeing.”

Jas Hothi, Sports Development Officer at London Youth:
“We have been delivering high quality sports sessions in nearly 100 communities across London for 8 years – particularly focusing on engaging young people who would otherwise miss out on these types of opportunities. We see real value in regular participation especially when considering the benefit to young people’s confidence, resilience and their ability to build relationships. We are really excited to be a part of this dance programme in Newham.”


**What works in enhancing social and emotional skills development during childhood and adolescence? – Clarke et al. 2015

NewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Imbalance - Joli Vyann - Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells/articles/reviews/imbalance-joli-vyann-sadlers-wells//articles/reviews/imbalance-joli-vyann-sadlers-wells/Performance reviewed: 19th January 2017

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that there are now four in most relationships – two people, and two smartphones. And it’s this truth that’s brought to light so strikingly in Imbalance, a duet performed by former stunt man and circus artist Jan Patzke and ex-gymnast and dancer Olivia Quayle, who together form Joli Vyann.

With tight choreography created in collaboration with Jonathan Lunn, who counts the film Love Actually among his dance, theatre, opera and film credits, Joli Vyann employ their unique blend of athletic contemporary dance with acrobalance and other circus skills to explore our obsessive dependence on technology.

The narrative is partly autobiographical: a real-life couple, Patzke and Quayle began their relationship long distance via Facebook and Skype, but later, while trying to ‘do it all’, Quayle burnt out and suffered from adrenal fatigue. So, in Imbalance, they question the equilibrium between our real and virtual worlds through the context of a dysfunctional relationship. Dysfunctional because of the devices.

Sitting at a table, their laptops cast a haunting glow on their faces as they flit from screen to screen, swapping positions, shoulders hunched, furiously typing, phones locked to ears. They break away, but immediately they’re drawn back to the digital world, repeating mechanical sequences faster and faster in time to Dougie Evans’ 21st-century soundtrack of notifications and alerts that demand our attention, from the swoosh of an iMessage to ‘Unexpected item in bagging area’.

But then the dynamic shifts. The devices are tidied away and the table is pushed back, while the score melts into a lyrical composition as the couple caress and wind around each other in a silky smooth duet infused with powerful lifts and hand-to-hand balances. Despite their warm, infatuated smiles and the gentle chemistry between them, the trust and physical effort it takes both performers to achieve some of these positions is palpable – and all the more impressive for it.

Unfortunately, this ‘quality time’ together doesn’t last, and before long the phones come out again – ostensibly to take selfies, but swiftly they are consumed by the glowing screens. The mechanical sequences return and the tension builds. Patzke juggles two smartphones and a coffee cup, then puts the cup to his ear. They’re tired, ‘digitally fatigued’, and the next duet is much more languid and weighted than before. Their smiles have gone and they struggle to connect – physically, mentally and emotionally.

Phones out again, they continue to duet while chatting separately – Quayle in English and Patzke in German. It’s not even as bizarre as it sounds. As Quayle struggles to maintain the conversation while she tangles and balances on Patzke, you see how we multitask like this every day, giving neither person nor activity the attention it deserves.

Finally, Quayle decides enough is enough. She confiscates the phones and they begin to argue. Two soloists dancing independently together, failing to get each other’s full attention. It makes you wonder: what the hell has happened to us? Eventually they reconnect, but it feels desperate and sad. Quayle literally walks over Patzke, ending up in an impressive one-footed balance on his head. But there’s no joy in their contact.

A brief foray into cyberbullying and trolling follows. We hear news headlines and the voices of victims, mostly children, then a series of hashtags that become increasingly sinister – Hashtag duh. Hashtag hey ugly. Hashtag FOAD. Patzke performs a solo, lit only by his smartphone’s flash. According to the duo, this section was the hardest to choreograph, and it shows. They felt strongly that the subject was too important to be left out – but in the midst of this particular narrative it feels off-piste. I think they would have done better to give it its own full-length piece at a later date.

To end, the cycle begins again – the manic, repetitive sequence followed by a joyful and loving duet. They walk off hand in hand so we end on a high, which is something. But the overall impression is unsettling: is this really what we’ve become?

A hit at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, Imbalance formed part of London International Mime Festival 2017.

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

ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Meet Hakit Yakira, founder of Hagit Yakira Dance Company/articles/interviews/meet-hakit-yakira-founder-of-hagit-yakira-dance-co//articles/interviews/meet-hakit-yakira-founder-of-hagit-yakira-dance-co/Award Winning Israeli choreographer Hagit Yakira founded Hagit Yakira Dance Company in 2007 and has since gone on to tour the UK, Europe, Scandinavia and Israel. So far, she has created eight seven works for her company and many other commissioned works for other companies and students. Hagit Yakira Dance Company creates work whereby human experiences, movement and dance are uniquely and poetically interwoven into an individual interpretation of relationships and emotions through dance and performance. Two of her company works were awarded: first prize for ‘Oh Baby’ in the ‘Kajaani Choreography Competition’, Finland 2009, and second prize for ‘Somewhere between a self and another’ in the ‘Burgos New York ?Choreography Competition’ (New Dance Trend Category), Spain 2007.

Tell us a bit about your background, where you are from, how you got in to dance?
I have been living in the UK now for the last 12 years but I am originally from Jerusalem, Israel. I also spent many years living in Tel Aviv which I loved! I think I always loved dancing, and I always danced apparently – even though I started walking very late my parents often tell me that since I was 4 I just wanted to dance. Though I think that it got serious for me when I was a teenager, and then really seriously in my mid-30s. I think that before that I couldn’t commit to it, only when I understood that this is the only thing I truly want to dedicate myself to could I claim my place and space and voice, and this is when I truly went for it.

My work and my background as a dance movement therapist in-forms very much my journey into choreography and my journey as a choreographer since then. In a sense, the social aspect of dance and choreography and more than that the emotional aspect of it are very intriguing for me. Not in the way of an emotional expression but rather in the way of how art and emotions combine into an artistry and aesthetics. I look at life as emotional journeys, I understand the world through my emotions first, and this of course feeds my work completely.

What was your first Job?
My first job as a student was in a tea house in Jerusalem called Jan’s tea house almost a sacred place back then in Jerusalem where all the interesting people of Jerusalem used to go out – a rare mixture of cultural, intellectual and hippie people of Jerusalem. The first dance job wasn’t as interesting; the interesting dance jobs came a bit later.

What do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
I wish someone had told me that I can and that I would. I wish someone had told me that it is quite lonely out there, but there is something quite poetic and creative about it; there is strength in it, and that help and support can come from very unusual places.

If not dance, then what else would you be doing?
I would probably have lots of children; I would travel a lot and then most likely become a psychotherapist.

Do you have any theatrical superstitions or rituals?
Yes! Playing extremely loud pop music before the show as a warm up for the dancers. I normally join with lots of screaming and grooving on the side.

What is the first thing you do after a show?
The first thing I do is to talk to the dancers then I drink a glass of wine and go out to talk and interact with the audience; to hear what they think of the work, what they made of it, and if and how it touched them.

Who or what was your biggest influence?
I am influenced by everything that has a humanistic approach – everything that evolves around emotions and requires depth and reflection on human nature.
My biggest influences in the dance world are Pina Bausch, Anne Teresa de Keermsaeker, Rosemary Lee, Rosemary Butcher, Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, Yasmeen Godder – mostly female choreographers I have to admit.

How did you create these works, Air Hunger and Free Falling? What processes did you use? Do you always go through a similar process?
For many years now I wanted to create a piece that somehow presents different anxieties I become became familiar with while studying and working as a dance movement therapist. Some of the stories I heard in the therapy room (or studio) touched me very deeply, and I felt I needed to somehow share them. Of course, not revealing any details but rather trying to create an experience that somehow provokes the feelings these people shared with me.

Air Hunger started by looking at anxiety attacks. It had been named like this because when there is an anxiety attack the body experiences lack of air – it is of course a psychological feeling rather than a physical one – and it is a real shock to the system because the person can believe he/she is experiencing a heart attack and they feel they are going to die.

Free Falling initially started by exploring the fear of falling. Something, which I believe we can all experience sometimes, but when in a sever scenario this fear can prevent people from walking, from leaving their houses, every step they make feels as a risk which might end in a fall which will have no recover. This of course links to a psychological fear of failing.

My work is a delicate balance between improvisations and set material or set moments, though the improvisation tasks are very strict. This gives the dancers quite a lot of freedom, or a kind of freedom during the performances to make decisions and to hold a very interesting ownership of what they do.
I work collaboratively with all the artists involved, and through a long dialogue we find something that matches our aesthetics.

Where did the idea for the music come from? Why Sabio Janiak?
The music in this piece was very important to me and I needed a very special composer and person for that. Sabio was the perfect choice. Sabio and I have been working together for quite a while. He accompanies my dance classes around London and I collaborated with him for the first community project On Falling and Recovering.

I think that Sabio and I have something quite similar in our approach. Sabio comes with quite a vast holistic background. He looks at music as a source of healing, there is something very fresh and intuitive about his music and these things really suit my way of working. This collaboration led to such a fascinating and emotional journey for both of us.

Tell us about your community work and the work you’re doing alongside this tour i.e. the site responsive performance in the foyer / building to open the show.
I always had a great passion to engage dance in the community. I didn’t want to distinguish my choreographic practice from the people. I want my work to be created with them, through them; I want the work to talk to them. I love of course the artistic side of dance but also its social and humanistic possibilities. How dance can help us meet others and ourselves from a raw and emotional place, how the moving body can help us communicate, take risks and embrace vulnerability, the sensitivity it can develop, the ability to listen; the ability to own an ownership over our body, and the sense of grounding and centre it can help us develop.

Therefore, alongside my work with professional dancers and with my company I also work with the community with those who might not have so much experience in dance but that just want to move.

I started by doing a very big community project about 3 years ago, called Air Hunger. That was probably the first time I decided to really pursue community and professional work together. They didn’t perform together on that project but the topic I used in my community and professional work was the same. Then when I came to create Free Falling, the second piece in the Double Bill we are touring, I decided that I wanted to somehow try to find a way (my way) to combine the community into my professional work. (This of course isn’t a new thing – though it is for me). It started by researching with 30 none professional dancers over a period of six months in which we met once a month for a lengthy rehearsal in which we looked at the notion of falling and recovering. Though very soon the notion of falling became a need for help, a need for support.

In July 2015, we invited an audience to see what we had created, this performance or shall I say the interactive experience was so successful that we decided to extend the project into a much larger one. And when I say ‘we’ I mean the participants and myself. The project was then commissioned by The Place with 60 participants and was performed in July 2016. I have to say that the 3 performances, which were basically improvised and interactive promenade for over 300 people in total were quite outstanding and overwhelming. I haven’t experienced such a warm atmosphere in a performance before, people were hugging, people who didn’t know each other were hugging and kissing, old people, disabled people, babies, were all part of the interactive jam we created. The idea is to take this community project in to some of the venues where we will be performing Free Falling, this will then be performed prior to the show.

Where next? Any future projects in the pipeline?
Oh yes – a big project that combines the professional company with the community. I wouldn’t like to reveal the topic right now, even though it is very present in my head, heart and research. I will also be starting to work on a solo.

Hakit Yakira has toured in numerous festivals and dance platforms in the UK, Europe, Scandinavia and in Israel. She has also been choreographing for different companies and institutions around Europe and the UK as well as leading performance projects and workshops for both professional dancers and the community. Hagit is a teacher and a guest choreographer at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Trinity Laban and at The Place and since summer 2011 she has been delivering workshops at ImPulsTanz, Vienna. Recently Hagit has been choreographing and teaching in Norway, and has been invited to collaborate with the Stavanger University since 2014 to develop their renewed dance programme, she is now a member of faculty there. Hagit has been developing a personal style and way of teaching. She is constantly in demand to deliver classes for professional dancers and the community around the UK, Europe, Scandinavia and Israel with many dedicated followers. Hagit’s training commenced at the Music and Dance Academy in Jerusalem, Israel. After qualifying as a Dance Movement Therapist in 2004, Hagit relocated to London where she completed an MA in European Theatre Dance (2005). 2013 has seen Hagit choreographing her new work, teaching in Vienna, Hungary and Israel, alongside undertaking a PhD in Choreography at Trinity Laban, researching the notion of choreographing autobiographies while discussing feminism, the theory of affect and storytelling.
Read more, please click here

InterviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Blak Whyte Gray - Boy Blue Entertainment - Barbican/articles/reviews/blak-whyte-gray-boy-blue-entertainment-barbican-2//articles/reviews/blak-whyte-gray-boy-blue-entertainment-barbican-2/ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100London Mayor to assess dance in the capital/articles/features/london-mayor-to-assess-dance-in-the-capital//articles/features/london-mayor-to-assess-dance-in-the-capital/FeaturesThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party - ZooNation - Roundhouse/articles/reviews/the-mad-hatters-tea-party-zoonation-roundhouse-1//articles/reviews/the-mad-hatters-tea-party-zoonation-roundhouse-1/Performance reviewed: 10 January 2017

It is second sitting for the tea party but the Mad Hatter and his crew have moved Wonderland from the Linbury Studio Theatre (underground at the Royal Opera House), where it premiered, in December 2014, to the Roundhouse at Chalk Farm. And, unsurprisingly, this shift in venue has occasioned significant change from Kate Prince and her creative team at ZooNation.

At around two hours, it’s a longer show, with five new songs and much more dance content, enabling previously-peripheral characters to be fleshed out in greater detail. But, crucially, the move to the cavernous space of the Roundhouse has led to absolutely no compromise in the strength of intimacy between the performers and their audience, which has retained its superglued bond in this new space.

Prince’s concept is ingenious. Much-loved characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are given new perspectives as residents of the Institution for Extremely Normal Behaviour; initially encountered in an introductory session with their new doctor, Ernest, who has arrived at the Institution, fresh-faced and earnest, armed with his PhD in “normalization” but completely unprepared for the mayhem to come. Adding an interesting twist to the mix is the narrator, Bertie, whom, it transpires, is Ernest’s predecessor, now recovering from a breakdown! Act one cleverly introduces each of the inmates through a succession of dances in which their individual solos are picked out as a main focus. The institutional drabness of the opening act contrasts effectively with the magical Wonderland setting for the tea party; Ernest’s own rapid dissembling having led to a mass escape!

There’s a lot to take in: exciting choreography on the main stage and great music from the platform above with Josh Cohen’s humour-laden, poetic narration being delivered variously from both vantages. Characterisations were richly observed across the board. The triple-T axis of Turbo, Tommy and Teneisha, each reprising their roles from 2014/15, provided a rich core of charismatic dance aligned to a mature sense of theatre: Turbo (aka Issac Baptiste) brought a glowing sense of benevolent eccentricity to the key role of The Mad Hatter, one of the characters to gain from the rewrite; Tommy Franzén was the archetypal innocent abroad, as Dr Ernest; and Teneisha Bonner is ravishingly feisty as The Queen of Hearts. A cute little love interest is subliminally interjected for the Queen and the Hatter.

There is a great mix of experience and youth in a cast that has a 20-year age span. Playing Tweedle-Dum, Rowen Hawkins has been with ZooNation since the beginning, in 2002, and he still has all the bboy moves (including nifty hand hops) even when wearing the kind of padding that I carry around for free; by contrast, playing Tweedle-Dee is Manny Tsakanika’s debut for ZooNation and he slides in opposite Hawkins, as the other naughty twin, with an impressive maturity. Prince has established a great conveyor belt of talent, commencing with the ZooNation Academy and progressing through her Youth Company; a route that Jaih Betote has taken into the professional ranks; starting at the Academy, aged 13, and now succeeding in the iconic, excitable role of The White Rabbit.

Another character to have been expanded is that of The March Hare, portrayed ebulliently by Bradley Charles. Andry Oporia hit some fast-paced krumping moves into transient poses that represented the mischievous Cheshire Cat. And, last but by no means least, Kayla Lomas-Kirton played Alice, not traditionally as the erstwhile, unintentional adventurer at the centre of Lewis Carroll’s tales, but as a sweet-natured and indecisive Institutional resident.

That isn’t quite the end of the casting, because Derek Dormouse plays his namesake, the Dormouse, with a rare attention to detail although one felt that his movement quality was subject to the manipulation of others; and his characterisation was derivative (Roland the Rat springs to mind). Derek’s particular moment comes in the song “I keep falling asleep”; a standout, laugh-out-loud highlight! The music by DJ Walde and Cohen (lyrics by the two of them and Prince herself) is a major contribution to the ubiquitous, upbeat, joyful feel and a soundtrack worth having in its own right. Similarly, the design contribution of Ben Stones, through set and costumes, is an outstanding ingredient to further enhance the feel-good factor.

In keeping with a show that has only yet seen performances around the Christmas period, a pantomime link is established by opening up the tea party to some invited guests from the audience. They are quickly costumed and integrated within the piece; a factor doubly enhanced on this evening by including a special and uncredited professional amongst the “extras”. When the guests on this show are invited to dance, one of them really knew how!

This is a great show; even better than the first time around. It was originally commissioned by The Royal Ballet to complement performances of Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; and it is again presented by The Royal Ballet in this new venue. In these welcome days of increasing diversity, one starts to wonder why the only Royal dance companies are in ballet. It strikes me that – in so many ways – Kate Prince is to hip hop dance theatre as Ninette de Valois was to British ballet. ZooNation turns 15, this year. The fifteenth year of Sadler’s Wells Ballet was, in many respects, its coming of age, re-opening The Royal Opera House, after six years’ of war, in 1946; and a decade later it earned the Royal tag. If Hip Hop is ever to be similarly recognised, then it must surely start with ZooNation.

On at the Roundhouse till 22 January 2017

Chalk Farm Road
Telephone: 0300 6789 222

Graham Watts is a freelance dance writer and critic. He is a regular contributor to Dancing Times and also writes for, and other magazines and websites in Europe, Japan and the USA. He is chairman of the dance section of the Critics’ Circle in the UK and of the National Dance Awards. Twitter: @gwdancewriter

ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party - ZooNation - Roundhouse/articles/reviews/the-mad-hatters-tea-party-zoonation-roundhouse//articles/reviews/the-mad-hatters-tea-party-zoonation-roundhouse/ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100Blak Whyte Gray - Boy Blue Entertainment - Barbican/articles/reviews/blak-whyte-gray-boy-blue-entertainment-barbican-1//articles/reviews/blak-whyte-gray-boy-blue-entertainment-barbican-1/ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100Blak Whyte Gray - Boy Blue Entertainment - Barbican/articles/reviews/blak-whyte-gray-boy-blue-entertainment-barbican//articles/reviews/blak-whyte-gray-boy-blue-entertainment-barbican/Performance reviewed: 13 January 2017

Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante’s hip hop dance company, Boy Blue, has made massive strides in bringing its art form to the mainstream in the 15-odd years it has been together. The MBE that Sandy received in the New Year’s Honours list shows how well this choreographer and composer pairing’s project has succeeded. Now, the latest Boy Blue show pushes the company farther on again. Blak Whyte Gray is a layered, meditative piece, stripped of obvious crowd-pleasing b-boy tricks and instead injected with hefty themes and emotions. It’s a beautiful, powerful work that demands an enormous amount from its eight dancers but proves to be richly rewarding for all.

Whyte is the first section of this triptych-structured piece. Ricardo Da Silva, Gemma Kay Hoddy and Dickson Mbi are held in a brutal square of light, with straitjacket-like straps hanging from their white clothing. The imagery of constraint is continued in the dance, a slow, at times almost melancholy display of superlative popping, used to make the three look as if they are striving to escape, their faces sometimes contorted in Munch-like silent screams. There is only one interlude when they experience a release, when Asante’s score switches briefly from glitchy electronica to African tribal rhythms, and the three dancers, bathed in golden light, are suddenly fluid and joyful.

Gray starts with a dancer, clad in a massive puffa jacket, again trapped in a square of light. But now there’s more of an urgency to the scenario, and as the rest of the company slide on to the stage on their backs, propelling themselves smoothly with their legs, there is a sense that these are warriors psyching themselves for a battle to come. The dance language now is krumping – muscular full-body movement with an overt aggression – the dancers mime pointing guns and lobbing grenades amid explosive routines and air-raid sirens.

Blak is the concluding piece. Mbi is at the centre of this section, weak and staggering (although, rather distractingly, topless and sporting what looks like a ten-pack), like a fallen guerrilla warrior, as the other dancers gather and try to revive him. Finally restored, he is draped in red cloth, like a Roman emperor, or a Buddhist monk – now his movement becomes regal, fusing martial arts poise with b-boy power. The battle is won, and the full-company celebration is a cathartic plunge into those African rhythms and dance moves that have been tantalising us throughout, with the dancers at once freed and finding a delighted synchronicity.

Asante seems to be referencing his Ghanaian heritage in what feels like a very personal, introspective piece from him and Sandy. It could be interpreted very specifically – the restraints that strip people of their roots and keep them from acknowledging their heritage condemn them to a life locked in frustration. Echoes of slavery, colonialism and their legacies abound. But there is also an important universality to this message about forging identity and shaking off what weighs you down that everyone can embrace. Blak Whyte Gray is a coming of age for Boy Blue – a piece that releases its pleasures slowly and with impressive mature strength.

12 – 21 January 2017
Running Time – 90 mins including a 20 minute interval

As part of Boy Blue Entertainment 2017

Created and directed by Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy & Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante
Choreography Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy
Music Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante
Lighting design Lee Curran

Produced by Boy Blue Entertainment.
Production co-commissioned and co-produced by the Barbican

Boy Blue Entertainment is as Associate Artist of the Barbican, London.

Touring to HOME, Manchester: 9-11 February

Siobhan Murphy is a freelance writer and editor, who also contributes to Dancetabs and Time Out. Find her on Twitter @blacktigerlily

ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
'Let's turn the whole world around': inside Siobhan Davies' dance laboratory/articles/news/lets-turn-the-whole-world-around-inside-siobhan-da//articles/news/lets-turn-the-whole-world-around-inside-siobhan-da/NewsFri, 01 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0000The Royal Academy of Dance imaginative new dance classes inspired by the film Ballerina/articles/features/imaginative-new-dance-class-inspired-by-the-film-b//articles/features/imaginative-new-dance-class-inspired-by-the-film-b/Félicie has one dream, to become a ballerina at the world’s best ballet school. She also has one big problem; she’s stuck in an orphanage with her best friend Victor hundreds of miles away.

…once you’ve mastered the steps: to be a great dancer is about the spirit you communicate on stage. “Passion is more important than technique,” Félicie is told. “How you deliver it, musicality, emotion. Every sound, every harmony needs to leave your body vibrating from the ends of your hair to the tips of your toes.

Inspired by the film Ballerina, The Royal Academy of Dance have created a new class exclusively taught by RAD Registered Teachers.

About the classes
RAD teachers around the United Kingdom and Ireland organise Ballerina-inspired classes in their studios, drawing on lesson plans created by the RAD. These classes aim to inspire children to dance through acting, storytelling and characterisation. Classes will also encourage students to respond creatively to music, and incorporate and adapt classical ballet repertoire. Two lesson plans have been made available to RAD Registered Teachers, one for ages 4-7 and one for ages 8-13.

As well as drawing on key themes from the film, the classes will explore French culture through music and imagery, and introduce young dancers to classical ballet repertoire through a range of activities for girls and boys.

How these classes vary from run of the mill ballet classes
Ballerina classes use the film as inspiration to encourage more students to try dance and to further their understanding of ballet. In addition to traditional ballet exercises, children will be taken on a creative journey through movement and dance to realise Felicie’s, the main character in the film, dream of becoming a ballet dancer. The classes focus upon creating movement inspired by what happens in the film, using the film’s narrative and characters as inspiration to tell a story through dance. However, each teacher will put their own unique spin on the exercises suggested in the lesson plan.

How the relationship with the Ballerina film came about?
Ballerina were looking for a leading dance organisation who could help to encourage young dancers to follow their dreams, like the character Felicie. The RAD was delighted to partner with the film and saw this as a great chance to offer more opportunities for our teachers and their students, and to encourage more children to dance.

The themes of the film
Ballerina tells the story of Felicie, an 11 year old orphan, who has one passion: dancing. Using Felicie’s incredible story, the film draws on themes of friendship, family, dance and never giving up on your dreams.

Felicie’s greatest dream is to become a ballet dancer with the Paris Opera Garnier. In order to achieve this dream, Felicie and her best friend Victor devise an incredible plan to escape from the orphanage that they live in and go to Paris. When they arrive in Paris, they find the enormous Eiffel Tower under construction and the Statue of Liberty in scaffolding ready to be shipped to New York. Everywhere Felicie and Victor look they see the city taking shape.

Felicie is willing to do anything to make it in Paris, and will even assume the identity of rival dancer Camille to fit into the dance school. Felicie undergoes intensive training in order to master her gracefulness and ballet technique, and to prepare for the challenge that is the Opera’s rigorous auditions. With her mentor Odette and Victor by her side, Felicie learns that nothing is impossible when it comes to achieving one’s dreams.

Throughout the UK, please check online timetable for more information

36 Battersea Square
SW11 3RA
+44 (0)20 7326 8000

The RAD’s other story-inspired classes
The RAD offers a series of other children’s workshops inspired by books including the Gruffalo, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Sleeping Beauty, as well as musical theatre workshops inspired by popular West End shows including Hairspray, The Wizard of Oz, The Lion King, Matilda and Mary Poppins.

FeaturesWed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000
Meet Shobana Jeyasingh, Artistic Director and Choreographer of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company/articles/interviews/meet-shobana-jeyasingh-artistic-director-and-chore//articles/interviews/meet-shobana-jeyasingh-artistic-director-and-chore/Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company is rooted in a vision of societies that are culturally coherent in new and unexpected ways. Avoiding cliché and stereotype, they produce work that directly resonates with all our day-to-day experiences of many cultures living side-by-side in contemporary cities. Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company is acclaimed for pioneering work in choreography hallmarked by excellence and high quality, with extensive experience of leading imaginative and innovative learning and participation work both in schools and in the wider community. Running projects that empower women, inspire girls, encourage young people to engage in intelligent physical activity and support study at all levels. Offering apprentice placements for dance students and nurturing tomorrow’s leading dancers and choreographers. In 2012, 2013 and 2015, they were nominated for Best Independent Company by the Critics, Circle National Dance Awards. In 2014, received the Award for Excellence in International Dance from the International Institute of Dance and Theatre. Shobana Jeyasingh is one of the few woman leaders in the field of dance and choreography.

Tell us about your company, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance. You formed the company in 1988, how did this come about?
The then director of The Place theatre commissioned me to make a dance work for four dancers – a process that I enjoyed.

An extract from Bayadère – The Ninth Life, a dance theatre work commissioned by the Royal Ballet Studio Programme in 2015, forms part of the Sadler’s Wells Sampled line up, tell us about this work.
My dance work takes La Bayadere , the nineteenth century ballet of Petipa as its starting point. The story of the ballet is told through the words of a young Indian man living now in a city like Bangalore or London. As he recounts the story he is “captured” by the ghosts in the third act of the original ballet and experiences what it feels like to be a Bayadere in Europe. I use the words of the ballet critic Theophile Gautier written to describe his first encounter with Indian classical dancers in Paris in 1838.

When did you decide you wanted to choreograph professionally?
When I made the work for The Place.

What do you enjoy most about choreographing?
Crafting the dramaturgical structure – in my head, in the studio and in the theatre

What has been the stand out moment in your career to date?
Finding out that it is possible to make a dance work on a subject as scientifically specific as mitosis.
However the completion of any dance work is a stand out moment!

What piece of advice would you give to dancers beginning their journey, a bit of advice you wish you had known when you were starting out?
I stopped dancing as soon as I started choreographing so anything I say will be hopelessly out of date. However any career in the arts needs an obsessive streak!

What’s been the best dance advice you’ve been given and by whom and why was it such great advice for you?
The best choreographic advice I was given was “put it where they can see it”. I am a person who likes complications so it was good to be reminded that sometimes it’s best to be obvious.

What things help you create or develop new works? Do you have a favourite space or routine that percolates ideas?
Having the time to reflect and be stimulated by literature, films, visual art, opera, exhibitions as well as current affairs does wonders for me! Early hours of the morning when the day is still new and uncluttered is when I can think and imagine clearly.

Would you say that collaboration is necessary to creating or developing work?
It depends on what one wants to create and the platform where the work is to be placed.
Most ideas need partnering to be realised fully whether it be through working with a composer or designer. On the other hand the partner could simply be the architecture of a wonderful building.

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance will be touring Material Men redux across the UK in 2017, can you tell us more about this?
Material Men has two stories which connect. One is the story of indentured labour whereby well over a million Indians were transported to replace the emancipated slaves and generally supply cheap labour for the colonial planters of tea, rubber and sugar. The other is the story of two young men whose history lies in colonial migration but who journey towards each other despite differing techniques of hip hop and Bharatha Natyam.

London is sometimes referred to as ‘the dance capital of the world’ – do you agree with that? What would make it better a better place to work in?
Certainly London offers me the opportunity to see an amazing amount and variety of dance.
However it is very short on good studios for independent companies like mine who generally produce their own work. Many things about dance have got slicker but the average contemporary dancer can only afford to rehearse in cramped and under resourced studios. Generally universities and colleges have better rehearsal facilities than the professional freelance dancer or dance maker.

What’s next for you?
Thinking about virology and dance for a production planned in 2018.

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance will be performing an extract reimagining Petipa’s exotic ballet ‘La Bayadere’ to create a new vision that interweaves fiction with history and belongs to both India and Europe; as part of Sadler’s Wells’ Sampled on 3 & 4 February 2017 and also at The Lowry on 24 & 25 February. The company will tour Material Men Redux across the UK in Spring 2017.

Sadler’s Wells
Rosebery Avenue
Tel: +44 (0)207 863 8000
To book tickets please click here

More About Shobana Jeyasingh – Artistic Director and Choreographer
Born in Chennai, India and with roots in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Shobana Jeyasingh lives and works in London. She has been creating dance works for 27 years. Her highly individual work has been seen in a variety of venues including theatres, outdoor and indoor sites and on film. It is work that is rooted in a vision of society that can be culturally coherent in new and unexpected ways and in a firm belief in the intellectual as well as the physical power of dance.

Especially commissioned music has been a significant feature of her work and has led to new scores from an array of contemporary composers ranging from Michael Nyman to beat boxer Shlomo. Her creative collaborators over the years have been drawn across a variety of media such as filmmakers, mathematicians, digital designers, writers, animators as well as award winning lighting and set designers.

Her critically acclaimed and pioneering dance works include Interland which broke boundaries in 2002 as the first dance performance to be webcast live between the UK and India. Shobana’s work has been widely toured to festivals and venues in Europe, USA, India, Singapore, China, South Korea and Hong Kong. Commissions include works for Rambert, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Ballet Black, Beijing Dance Academy and City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong.

To read more please click here

InterviewsFri, 01 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0100