LondonDance - Latest Articleshttp://londondance.comLatest news and articles from LondonDanceSun, 26 Mar 2017 17:05:22 +0100Thu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100Meet Dan Daw - Dance maker and performer /articles/interviews/meet-dan-daw-dance-maker-and-performer//articles/interviews/meet-dan-daw-dance-maker-and-performer/Dan Daw is a Candoco Associate Artist and currently a student at the Sadlers Wells Summer University (2015 – 2018), Dan continues to work at the forefront of collaborative performance making in the UK. Dan is a recipient of the BBC/South East Dance Performing Arts Fund Fellowship, the Outlet Dance Award and the Russell Page Fellowship in Contemporary Dance amongst others. He has been a part of Dance UK’s Mentor Bursary and the National Theatre Step Change programme, furthermore evidencing his ambitions as disabled artist to impact and lead the conversation on dance and disability.

Dan Daw is an Associate Director in partnership with Sarah-Vyne Vassallo to commission, develop and produce new work and co-manages support and reflection for the company’s independent artists with disability, Dan plays an integral role in the development and delivery of Murmuration’s artistic programs and community activities.

Tell us about the company you are currently working with, Murmuration, and the work you are doing with them?

Murmuration is an integrated performance company in Sydney, Australia I have set up with Artistic Director, Sarah-Vyne Vassallo. It is Sydney’s first professional integrated company and as the company’s Associate Director I work in partnership with Sarah-Vyne to commission, develop and produce new work and co-manage support for the company’s independent artists with disability, I play an integral role in the development and delivery of Murmuration’s artistic programs and community activities.

When did you decide you wanted to dance professionally? What drew you to dancing?

Alongside my going to theatre school at Adelaide’s Flinders University Drama Centre, I danced with Restless Dance Theatre ( where my love for dance was ignited and my dance training began. The turning point for me was when Restless worked in collaboration with Australian Dance Theatre to mount a double bill directed by Kat Worth and Garry Stewart. Working with Garry in this professional context and finding out about Candoco at around the same time gave me the confidence to seek out professional opportunities in Australia and in the UK.

What has been the stand out moment in your career to date?

Winning Best Theatre for ‘On One Condition’ at the weekly Adelaide Fringe Awards last month. Conceived by Graham Adey, ‘On One Condition’ has slowly been evolving over the last three years and to receive this endorsement from my peers of my and Graham’s collaboration in the place I started is very special indeed.

You are back at Sadler’s Wells in March as part of the Wild Card programme, which includes your new piece On One Condition, what can audiences expect from this piece and the evening?

We’re not wanting to give away too much, but just to say that audiences can “prepare to be surprised, confronted, elated, challenged, happy and sad but, above all, expect to have their expectations shattered” (Matthew Plummer, Broadway World).

London is sometimes referred to as ‘the dance capital of the world’ – do you agree with that? What would make it better to work in?

London is a city where lots of fantastic dance stuff happens, but I think to say it is ‘the dance capital of the world’ is perhaps a little inaccurate. It’s not better than, it simply offers something distinctly different to other dance cities where dance is a popular art form. I fear that if we look at London in these terms, we may grow complacent and stop working to further dance and choreography’s evolution.

You are busy touring, and performing, what else is next for you Dan?

With intentions of continuing to tour and perform ‘On One Condition’ in 2017/18, after being awarded the Jerwood Choreographic Research Project II, next month I will enter a period of choreographic research with theatre director Mark Maughan and an ensemble of four performers to dissect the notion of inspiration and explore its wider implications beyond disability. Our aim is to invite audiences to consider the origins and consequences of their own sources of inspiration.

What piece of advice would you give to dancers beginning their journey, a bit of advice you wish you knew when you were starting out?

To dancers starting out, two pieces of advice I would offer is to find ways of taking “artistic responsibility” and to be clear on what your terms are. In my career I’ve found it far more empowering to work “with” companies than work “for” companies. In this way, I’ve been able to take ownership or responsibility for what I offer in the creative space, so it feels more like a collaboration and an exchange of ideas, rather than a top down approach to making. I say this without discounting the validity of the top down or hierarchical approach.

What things help you create or develop new works? Do you have a favourite space, or routine that percolates ideas?

I’m finding allowing myself the space and time to let ideas percolate is the most useful. There seems to be an expectation of dance makers to keep churning out work and it’s important for my practice and my integrity that I resist, in a way, this pressure. This leads on from what I was saying above about dance makers being clear on their terms. I guess, these are my terms – I’ll make work when I’m ready and when I feel like ideas are formed to a point of something needing to be said.

Would you say that collaboration is necessary to creating or developing work?

The foundation of my artistic approach is collaboration. I’m not sure there are many instances where this doesn’t apply actually. Speaking for myself, there’s something quite lovely about assembling the ideal creative team and including them in all parts of the making process. There’s something addictive about the act of doing something together and I think this is the thing I enjoy most about my job.

Wild Card is a chance to see work by a new generation of dance makers curating a series of special evenings. Dance maker and performer Dan Daw curates an evening of collaborations exploring the notions of ‘success’ and ‘failure’, highlighting the role of the audience’s perception in distinguishing the two.

30 & 31 Mar
Sadler’s Wells,
Lilian Baylis Studio
Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R
Ticket office: 020 7863 8000

InterviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Meet Isabel Lewis - Creative Practitioner/articles/interviews/meet-isabel-lewis//articles/interviews/meet-isabel-lewis/Since 2009 Isabel Lewis has been investigating the role of artist as host. Her signature Occasions: celebratory and sensory gatherings of things, people, plants, music, and dance that offer an alternative to the sterility and visual dominance of the traditional exhibition format. With the Occasions Lewis creates a more complete, bodily experience for the visitor offering an open situation in which guests may freely enter, exit, and revisit. Exploring modes of connection and attention, Lewis shapes a sensorial experience that responds to the energies of her guests. Her occasions investigate how the subtle introduction of a word, sound, movement, or scent can shift perception and awaken the importance of being together. Previous Occasions have been presented at Shanghai Ming Contemporary Art Museum; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Dia: Chelsea and Dia: Beacon, New York; the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Frieze London; Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Kunsthalle Basel; Liverpool Biennial, and Tanz Im August Berlin. Isabel Lewis lives and works in Berlin.

When did you decide you wanted to be a creative practitioner?

I don’t know that there was a conscious choice on my part. Seemed that dancing was always something I was doing and was a very integrated part of my upbringing. I do remember a “leap of faith” moment when I was living in New York and working a number of different “day” or rather night jobs as was often the case: coat-check girl, go-go dancer, fashion retail, bartender, barista, etc. Over the course of a few years I had been gradually decreasing the number of hours spent doing those jobs and increasing the number of hours spent on artistic work. There came a year where I felt like, ok, this is the time to take the leap, to stop obsessively worrying about paying the rent and commit to a different trajectory…that meant that I took on every single artistic project, my own or the projects of others, and I was spread pretty thin and kind of burned out after a long period with absolutely no weekends or time off…but I also did a number of new things, worked as an editor and writer for the Movement Research Performance Journal, worked as a programmer and curator for a number exhibitions and festivals, and as a dancer for several NYC-based choreographers while still creating my own work. Not long after this I moved to Berlin.

How do you incorporate dancing into the Occasions?

As a dancer, working with dance in a social space is a way of energetically treating the situation, a way of crafting and choreographing a vibe. Because I don’t put dance on a stage at a distance, there is this incredibly direct capacity to work with the emphatic response between humans and the resonance between humans in relation to things we are co-present with like architecture, furniture, or ideas. I am very interested in dance as it emerges out of culture and from within cultures and the ways we engage with it to celebrate, to mourn, to achieve altered states, to praise, to socialize, rather than as a spectacle to be watched from the distanced perspective of the stage. I feel the occasions reintegrate dance into life, into social life. There are different kinds of choreographies that emerge in the occasions. There are sometimes set sequences of movements to a specific music, there are sometimes improvisational scores, or what I like to think of as aesthetic or affective clouds of content that dancers move within.

What do you enjoy most about creating and performing?

Well, the funny thing is I don’t necessarily “enjoy” performing…I take it very seriously, and it’s always an incredibly intense and not exactly comfortable or pleasant but it’s deep for me. Of course once things are rolling there are moments of pleasure, mostly in the feeling of communion with guests if I am open enough to pick up on it. Creating happens. It’s this urgent/emergent thing, a continuous process with a very varied landscape. Feels like it’s about being awake to the world and in the world and yes, this is very enjoyable.

You are at Tate Modern with Ten Days and Six Nights, how did this collaboration come about?

You’ll have to ask Catherine Wood and Andrea Lissoni that. I know they were both present when I hosted a few occasions during Frieze Art Fair in 2014.

London is sometimes referred to as ‘the dance capital of the world’ – do you agree with that? What would make it better to work in?

This is one of those tricky claims to make especially in such a globalized world where there are so many constantly forming, dissolving, and shifting centres…I am lucky enough to have connections to the NYC experimental dance scene and the vibrant community that operates around Movement Research and feel closely connected to the dance scenes in Berlin and Brussels but I am only just getting to know the London scene through the cast of dancers I am working with for the Live Exhibition that are all London-based. I am eager to continue process together and getting to hear from them their thoughts and feelings about the London dance scene. I can say that the UK electronic dance music scene and London club culture is thrilling and inspiring!

You are busy travelling with your work, how do you find the space to create new pieces of work?

Maybe I don’t make new pieces of work. I consider the occasions porous and contingent processes that are always developing as I live my life and they are emergent when they are being presented. I haven’t made work that adheres to the modernist notion of “art” as discrete entities of observation since 2009. The last piece I made that functions in this way will be included during the Live Exhibition and it’s called STRANGE ACTION and it is a solo dance work that has a clear beginning and end and lasts 40 minutes.

Where do you draw inspiration from when creating or performing live?

I listen and get as sensitive as possible to the actual live situation as it unfolds in time and space. I try to get as receptive as I can with all of my sensory and empathic capacities. Who are my visitors at that moment, what is their energetic vibrations, what can I create specifically for them?

What piece of advice would you give to creative practitioners beginning their journey, a bit of advice you wish you knew when you were starting out?

It’s urgent, everything is at stake, it’s a matter of life and death! AND you can’t take it that seriously! It’s helpful to retain a sense of humour and worry is worthless. I am working at following my own advice in this very moment.

What things help you create or develop new works? Do you have a favourite space, or routine that percolates ideas?

I have a 29 square meter apartment on a quiet street in Berlin that I share with a sofa, a bed, 5 large plants, some books, and 3 large windows. Being home can be a rare luxury but when I am there I immediately notice the grounding and centring effects it has on me.

Would you say that collaboration is necessary to creating or developing work?

Yes, it’s also necessary to being human and to even what constitutes our notion of “human”. We are in fact an enormous collections or gatherings of microorganisms, minerals, water, energy, and more. Jane Bennett says of Spinoza in her book Vibrant Matter: a Political Ecology of Things, Spinoza suggests, the more kinds of bodies with which a human body can productively affiliate, the greater the prospects for an intelligent way of life.”

BMW Tate Live Exhibition Ten Days Six Nights. Isabel Lewis will be in residence throughout the duration of the exhibition hosting a number of her signature occasions, combining music, food, drink and perfume to create an alternative environment for dance, discussions and invited musicians.

BMW Tate Live Exhibition Ten Days Six Nights
24 MARCH – 2 APRIL 2017
Free during normal day opening hours
(Charge for evening performances)
Tate Modern
Websuite :

An Occasion with Isabel Lewis (Part I) (Frieze Projects, 2014) from Frieze Art Fair on Vimeo.

More about Isabel Lewis
Isabel Lewis (b. 1981, Dominican Republic) is an artist of Dominican and American origin who grew up on a suburban island off the coast of southwest Florida. Whilst living in New York, Lewis danced for many choreographers and from 2004 exhibited commissioned works at The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, New Museum and Movement Research at Judson Church, amongst others. Lewis moved to Berlin in 2009, where she spent the next two years working as an editor and DJ, before creating her solo show STRANGE ACTION (2010). Isabel draws from her training in literary criticism, dance, and choreography as well as from party and popular culture.

InterviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Christopher Wheeldon - An American in Paris - Dominion Theatre/articles/reviews/christopher-wheeldon-an-american-in-paris-dominion//articles/reviews/christopher-wheeldon-an-american-in-paris-dominion/Performance reviewed: 18 March

The first thing that strikes you about Christopher Wheeldon’s An American in Paris is how dark a hue has been cast over the story built around Gershwin tunes. Forget sunny Parisian streets and smiling, singing children; this stage version of Vincente Minnelli’s 1951 Hollywood musical instead plunges us into a grey, menacing city still reeling from the war, with breadlines, desperation, dark secrets and collaborators being attacked. “How can you feel liberated when your city’s been crushed?” asks our narrator, the pianist and composer Adam (David Seadon-Young), who in this incarnation is an acerbic Jewish-American former soldier, injured in combat, who claims (only half-ironically) that his musical themes are “decay and the inevitability of death”.

Much of this scene-setting is achieved in a flurry of gliding staging, elaborate projections and dance vignettes full of jabbing limbs and terse encounters. This is the second thing that strikes you: Wheeldon’s musical, as you might expect from a world-class choreographer, has dance at its core and as its driving force. It reveals the characters, moves along the narrative and emphasises the emotions at play. Props are danced on and off the stage by the cast. The storyline has even been changed so that Lise (the Royal Ballet dancer Leanne Cope taking Leslie Caron’s role), who is the object of all three male protagonists’ desires, is a dancer who gets her break with the Ballet du Châtelet and has a work made on her, the performance of which is the musical’s daring crowning glory.

The American of the title, played with debonair, loose-limbed grace in the film by Gene Kelly, is Jerry, a demobbed GI who stays in Paris to be an artist, only to become entangled with a wealthy art patron (Zoë Rainey), and in a love tussle over Lise with the diffident mummy’s boy Henri (Hadyn Oakley). The New York City Ballet dancer Robert Fairchild takes on the role with gusto. He’s an appealing lead: able to marshal a crowd for the glorious ensemble rendition of I Got Rhythm; convincingly charming as he disrupts the shoppers in Galeries Lafayette (nodding to Singin’ in the Rain with a flourish of umbrellas) while wooing Lise with Beginner’s Luck – one of many additions to the Gershwin numbers that were in the film. In his solos and his duets with Cope, there are flashes of Kelly in his movement, but Fairchild, a beautiful classical dancer with liquid lines and pin-sharp turns, is a very different proposition. He doesn’t even attempt tap – the only time we get a glimmer of that dance form is when Henri imagines himself achieving his secret dream and singing Stairway to Paradise at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

Wheeldon has fun at ballet’s expense when he has the Châtelet dancers perform an exaggerated avant-garde gala display, entitled The Eclipse of Uranus. But, rather marvellously, he doesn’t compromise in the slightest when it comes to the climactic ballet sequence, built on the titular Gershwin jazz-symphonic poem. The dancers, in Mondrian-inspired costume (Bob Crowley’s wardrobe and stage designs are saturated with art references) move beautifully in keeping with the era they are evoking, in a piece that has echoes of Balanchine’s sculptural angularity. Then with one quick dress change, we’re in Lise’s fantasy moment, where she and Jerry are together, and it’s pure, glorious Jerome Robbins lushness; big emotions, thrilling lifts and bounding leaps, with Cope adorning the pas de deux with delicate pointe work and Fairchild spinning up a storm.

For dance fans, then, a treat. For musical-theatre fans, though, I think this American in Paris proves problematic. For a dance to fully express a narrative moment it needs time to unravel – but this disrupts the musical’s flow and makes for pauses and longueurs. The whizz-bang, hi-tech staging flies about in a seemingly never-ending whirl as if to compensate, but all it does is make you feel a bit dizzy. And commendable as it may be to add some reality to this depiction of postwar Paris, the references to Nazis and French guilt, and a damp squib of a murky back story, that have been jammed into Craig Lucas’s book feel forced. Accents slip and slide (particularly Jane Asher’s as Henri’s overbearing mother). And although Fairchild and Cope have lived with these roles for a long time, having performed first in Paris, then in a Broadway run, their singing is not show-stopping. It’s probably for these reasons that I came away impressed by the spectacle, but not tingling.

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

At the Dominion, London, until 30 September 2017.
Dominion Theatre,
268-269 Tottenham Court Road,
London, W1T 7AQ.
Box office: 0844-847 1775.

ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
James Cousins Company - Rosalind - The Place /articles/reviews/james-cousins-company-rosalind-the-place//articles/reviews/james-cousins-company-rosalind-the-place/Rosalind, from Shakespeare’s As You Like It is a symbol of progressive womanhood and here in James Cousins Company, imagined as a contemporary women, she is no less impressive. Danced by Chihiro Kawasaki, Rosalind excels in mental and physical agility, determination and wisdom as she dances defiantly through love, contempt, prejudice and repression, gracefully dismantling the social conventions that try and contain her. Together with dancers, Inho Cho, Georges Hann and Heejung Kim she shapes the space around her to create a more fluid, flexible and all-embracing world.

The abstract narrative, conveyed through movement and the resonant poetry of Sabrina Mahfouz suggests the various hurdles that this modern Rosalind has to negotiate: dealing with a lover, confronting an oppressive patriarch, supporting a damaged friend, working out who she is. These relationships are set up through high velocity contact work, unison phrases or contemplative solos. Kim slides off backwards from sitting on Kawasaki’s shoulders in slow, gentle repetitions; Hann pulls Kawasaki from the floor into a diagonal, body wrap, before hurling her away. She withstands the violence and returns for more until she conquers him with her calm power and unites him with Cho. A pensive walk or a sculptural solo is followed by a gutsy sequence in which all fling themselves across the floor in frenzied rolls, or leave it flying.

No one is weak here; female strength is perfectly matched with male and partnering flouts gender stereotyping. Yet each performer shows human vulnerability in the hesitant, introspective moments. Grounded, dynamically varied and technically challenging, Cousins’ choreography is as imaginative as its theme of a Shakespearean heroine negotiating the 21st century.

The use of costumes as light symbols of both gender and history is also effective – the bodice, Elizabethan velvet jacket, neck ruff and train, blends with sharply tailored jackets and casual modern-day attire. Clothes are added or peeled off as social codes are bent and re-invented – Rosalind, the famous cross-dresser, swaps masculinity for femininity as she needs to.

A big, illuminated metal cube designed by Cousins, Joe Hornsby and Lee Curran establishes a space or a home in which the dancers can perform, pass through and travel around. It’s a visually striking object on the otherwise empty stage and the minimalistic design complements the elaborately textured choreography. Inside this structure performers act out various transformations, desires and mental states. As there’s a lot going on throughout the 60 minute piece, repetition and unison are welcome breaks and one such section is an orgiastic club scene; here the company dance flat out inside the confined space, before spilling out of it, accompanied by Seymour Milton’s heavy rock music. This interlude of controlled physical abandonment is incredibly satisfying to watch.

Although Cousins’ Rosalind may not have the witty depth of Shakespeare’s character, and while the abstract nature of the show dilutes theatrical impact, it’s an intense, multi-layered physical feast.

Wednesday 15 to Saturday 18 March
£18 (£12 concessions)

The Place
17 Duke’s Road
Box Office: 020 7121 1100

Josephine Leask is a lecturer in Cultural Studies on the BA (Hons) degree course at the London Studio Centre and London correspondent for The Dance Insider.

ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Trisha Brown: 1936-2017/articles/news/trisha-brown-1936-2017//articles/news/trisha-brown-1936-2017/Trisha Brown has died aged 80. Born in 1936, the pioneering American choreographer and dancer had been treated for vascular dementia since 2011. A contemporary of fellow choreographers, Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer, Brown moved to New York in 1961 to study composition with Robert Dunn, who taught a class at Merce Cunningham’s studio. Brown went on to train with dancer Anna Halprin and became a founding member of the Judson Dance Theater, a pioneering hub for post modern dance which ran from 1962-64. In 1970 she cofounded the Grand Union, an experimental dance collective, and formed the Trisha Brown Dance Company. As well as her early – now legendary – works such as Walking on the Wall, Roof Piece and Accumulation, she would collaborate with Robert Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson, Nancy Graves and Donald Judd over the course of her career. The last work she made in 2011, I’m going to toss my arms – if you catch them they’re yours, featured designs by her husband, the late Burt Barr, and music by Alvin Curran.

To read more, please click here

NewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Adam Linder - AUTO FICTO REFLEXO - Lilian Baylis Studio/articles/reviews/adam-linder-auto-ficto-reflexo-lilian-baylis-studi//articles/reviews/adam-linder-auto-ficto-reflexo-lilian-baylis-studi/Performance reviewed: 15 March

Adam Linder’s Auto Ficto Reflexo opens with a beguiling Siri-like voice announcing “Level One – Once upon a pre-talk.” We are in a game of six levels, each one reflecting conversations between the bodies of Linder and his fellow dancer/collaborator Justin F. Kennedy, and their dialogue with movement, language, sound and speech. Auto begins with Linder and Kennedy acknowledging each other as the audience acknowledges them. We are also on opposing sides of the white stage floor, bare apart from a smattering of photographic images of ears and trainers. A petrol blue square is set at the centre, which becomes a space for Linder & Kennedy to meet and converse in a number of sequences that we are yet to understand. “Level One” culminates in a high speed, intricate version of paddy-cake, a nod to the childlike game that is at once an instantly recognisable form of communication, a language of movement. It is an intriguing start to Linder’s piece that aims to ‘re-body linguistic conventions’.

The intimacy of the Lilian Baylis studio is used extremely effectively here; the audience is drawn closely into the ‘conversations’ that take place, between the gameplayers and their announcer, between Linder and Kennedy and the unseen player, sound artist Adam Gunther, all combining into a series of deeply interwoven conversations that shift between art, movement, language, sound and light as the work progresses.

Linder and Kennedy’s bodies speak together, even when apart, and the audience must watch and listen. Both enchantingly beautiful, the contrast in their physiques only emphasises the dialogic nature of the piece. Kennedy, exoticly tall and statuesque, all long, precise, limbs that seem to extend further than is humanly possible, is distinct from Linder’s athletic, precisely carved musculature, yet they move in sync with a language known only to each other. There is a section where Linder and Kennedy perform a glide sequence, their feet spinning and flowing as they talk.

The verbal chat seems short and sharp compared to the exemplary fluidity of their smoothly pivoting feet – these things shouldn’t fit together but they do. The purposeful layers of simultaneous conversation continue in each ‘level’. When they appear opposed, their communication retains real intimacy, which perhaps can only come from the strength of collaborators who are really in sync. Linder and Kennedy reveal their linguistic conversation level-by-level (there are 6 in the 50 minute performance), moving around on the floor, on it, and at each other, articulating syllables of hip-hop, ballet, contemporary, improv and audio (speech, music, mime and sound). The work is compelling, arousing and funny.

‘Level 6: Let Em Fly: They’re only syllables’ is the stand-out section. Using the full range of their exquisite movement capability, Linder and Kennedy do let it fly; interspersing fast-paced, exactly executed movement sequences with nods to Israeli dance, classical ballet and more ‘vernacular’ languages (of kickboxing, Beyoncé and glide). I didn’t want it to end.

Of the many intertextual/interdisciplinary references, Level 3’s Baudelaire quote sticks in my mind long after the work is finished: “the best accounts of a picture may be a sonnet.” Used by Linder to explore the relationship that critics have with the art that they analyse and interpret, it gives serious pause for thought: What value do critics add to artistic dialogue?

The attention to detail in Auto is a reflection of Linder’s self-confessed ‘perfectionist’ tendencies. Each element has real meaning. Even the programme notes are integral; highlighting diagrammatic reflections of the conversations that take place on stage. I would need to write a sonnet of Shakespearian proportions to adequately reflect Acto’s masterful structure, syntax and form. Linder’s vision translates into a truly unique work; rich, profound and innovative, intelligently expressed and expertly performed.

Lara Hayward is a freelance dance, sport and travel writer. Find her on Twitter @auspiciouspixie

15 – 17 March 2017
Lillian Baylis Studio
Sadler’s Wells Theatre
Rosebery Avenue
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7863 8000

ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Company Chameleon - Witness Double Bill - Trinity Laban Theatre /articles/reviews/company-chameleon-witness-trinity-laban-theatre//articles/reviews/company-chameleon-witness-trinity-laban-theatre/Performance reviewed: 16 March 2017

Witness Double Bill by Company Chameleon directs the spotlight on mental health; combining a mix of dance and movement styles, intimate solos, emotive duets and powerful ensembles to share an emotional and insightful view of mental health.

The double bill begins with Words Unspoken, a dynamic short work exploring the untold secrets of the performers on stage, opens the performance. Six dancers flawlessly formed movements in a striking and synchronised style. The effect was hypnotic and provides the perfect opener for this double bill. This work was first created for the Spanish company La Mov and it is performed for the first time in the U.K.

The scene opens to a dimly lit and mist bound stage, creating an atmosphere that is both unnerving and full of apprehension. We see the six dancers forming a line across the stage and we are ready to absorb the secrets as they are told. The piece is short, abrupt, even but with enough opportunity for the dancers to reveal themselves in a poignant and emotionally satisfying way.

The second and main piece Witness, draws upon the choreographer, Kevin Edward Taylor’s own experience with mental health issues (bipolarism), how his illness impacted on him and his family. The piece explores the absolute extremes of this illness, the incredible and manic highs and the antithesis of the desperate lows experienced by the lead dancer, his movements communicating the highs and lows of his illness with depth and clarity. I particularly liked his two alter egos: manic, saviour of the universe, super-powerful and the poles apart: depressed, totally lacking in confidence, self esteem, incapable, burden to his family.

Words Unspoken is a physical representation of stories taken from dancers and choreographers – their secrets, memories and events previously concealed from others. The dancers’ synchronised movements were well executed with plenty of compassion and complicity amongst them. The musical score enhanced the sympathetic choreography with various changes of tempo and moods.

The love of his family, depicted by wife and son, the trauma they are going through then the resignation that the only solution: hospitalisation and treatment; was emotionally depicted in movement and expression.

The dramatic build up, movement, music, and speech enhanced the piece and although the subject matter was extremely upsetting to view, it provoked great sympathy in the audience. I became absorbed from the outset, the idea of the burden of his illness portrayed by another dancer clawing to his back and dancing in unison was most disturbing. His distress was palpable.

Perfectly encapsulating the mania, despair and confusion of having bipolar along with the guilt & powerless feelings experienced by onlookers and loved ones. Each movement spoke 1000 words illustrating the physical and mental entrapment of bipolar; its contrasting states additionally reflected by stark changes in the score, lights and interactions: dark, fearful and vague vs bright clinical and bold. A powerful provocative piece.

Reviewers: Joanna Paschali and Natalie Cameron Ward

THU 16 & FRI 17 March
Laban Theatre
Laban Building
London SE8 3DZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 8305 9400

Witness: Kevin Edward Turner | Words Unspoken: Kevin Edward Turner and Anthony Missen

Witness – Miguel Marin | Words Unspoken – O Yuki Conjugate and Ryuichi Sakamoto

Yaron Abulafia

Emma Bailey

Andrew Loretto

Kevin Edward Turner,  Theo Fapohunda, Helen Andrew, Taylor Benjamin, Margarida Macieira

Rehearsal Director
Kevin Edward Turner & Tanya Walker

ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Ensemble Productions - The Russian Ballet Icons Gala 2017 - London Coliseum/articles/reviews/the-russian-ballet-icons-gala-in-the-steps-of-the//articles/reviews/the-russian-ballet-icons-gala-in-the-steps-of-the/Performance reviewed: Sunday 12 March 2017

Returning to the London Coliseum, Ensemble Productions presents the glamorous annual Russian Ballet Icons Gala. Continuing with the ‘In the Steps of the Ballet Russes’ theme, the gala, now in its twelfth year, honours the legacy of Russian ballet and in particular commends Sergei Diaghilev’s highly influential dance company; Ballet Russes, as well as the Russian ballet school heritage; from which most of the troupe’s dancers were trained. Russian ballet’s influence on British ballet is marked by the founders of The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, Ninette de Valois and Alicia Markova, respectively, who both danced with the Ballet Russes. Accompanied by English National Ballet Philharmonic, under the baton of Russian Valery Ovsyanikov, the gala features an international cast from major ballet companies across the globe, performing works by both Russian choreographers and composers.

The evening weaves together 19th century classics with early 20th century works from Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, in addition to those created by Russian-born Western choreographers such as George Balanchine and the Russian-inspired contemporary creations of today. The gala is further injected by an extraordinary appearance of the senior students from St Petersburg’s legendary Vaganova Academy; named after the renowned Russian pedagogue Agrippina Vaganova. Founded by Empress Anna in 1738, the Imperial School of Ballet, the name to which it was first known, was soon followed by the opening of another school in 1773, now commonly recognised as The Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

Celebrating the Ballets Russes’ repertoire, Mikhailovsky Theatre’s Ivan Vasiliev’s boasts his muscular form and powerful ballon as the Golden Slave in Scheherazade. Partnered by Bolshoi Ballet’s Kristina Kretova as Zobeide; together they display a dramatic interpretation of Mikhail Fokine’s one-act ballet to Rimsky-Korsakov’s expressive score. Ukrainian dancer Iana Salenko of Staatsballett Berlin, who is also a Guest Artist with The Royal Ballet delivers an alluring performance of The Dying Swan, set to Camille Saint-Saëns’s Le Cygne from Le Carnaval des animaux; a ballet forever associated with Ballet Russes’ star Anna Pavlova.

Inspired by Vaslav Nijinsky’s scandalous 1912 ballet, Bolshoi Ballet’s Dmitry Gudanov and the National Ballet of Canada’s Svetlana Lunkina come together in Jerome Robbins’ modern ballet Afternoon of a Faun set to Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. The focal point of the gala is the rare appearance of Vaganova Academy students in Principal Nikolay Tsiskaridze’s The Fairy Doll, a one-act divertissement reimagined from the Legat brothers’ original to music by Joseph Bayer.

Royal Ballet’s Bostonian Principal Sarah Lamb is partnered by fellow company Principal Steven McRae in Rubies from Jewels; the middle section of George Balanchine’s metaphorical gemstone trilogy. 2017 marks fifty years since its first performance in New York, thus disappointing that English National Ballet Philharmonic did not play Stravinsky’s Jazz Age piano capriccio, but used a hasty recording instead. Maria Kochetkova of both San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre is partnered by Tyler Angle of New York City Ballet in Balanchine’s contrasting and concluding section Diamonds from Jewels to Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony, thankfully this time performed by the live orchestra.

Bayerisches Staatsballet’s husband and wife team Lucia Lacarra and Marlon Dino execute an acrobatic array from an excerpt of co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet’s Gerald Arpino’s contemporary creation Light Rain; arranged to Douglas Adamz and Russ Gauthier Eastern rhythms. Also in the contemporary genre and set to an edited orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo dancers Liisa Hämäläinen and Alexis Oliveira are suitably cast in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s ultra-modern Lac; most notable in displaying Hämäläinen’s fierce energy and attack. Premièred at the Barbican Centre earlier this year, Royal Ballet Principals Zenaida Yanowsky and Edward Watson, along with singers Jennifer Davis and Gyula Nagy perform a passage from Javier De Frutos’ new production of Les Enfants Terribles to music by Philip Glass. German choreographer Xenia Wiest’s world première and crowd-pleasing Theatrum Vitae is danced by Vienna State Ballet’s Liudmila Konovalova and Davide Dato.

The audience are dazzled by a stunning assortment of perfectly placed fouetté turns from Liudmila Konovalova as Odile in the Black Swan pas de deux in Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s illustrious version of Swan Lake and later by English National Ballet’s Artistic Director Tamara Rojo, partnered by fellow Lead Principal Issac Hernandez in Don Quixote grand pas de deux. Here, the vibrant coda section in particular is received with a resounding applause, bringing the gala to a jubilant close.

Sunday 12 March 2017
London Coliseum
St Martin’s Lane

Naomi Cockshutt is a UK trained ballet teacher (Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies, Royal Academy of Dance) and Master of Science, Media and Communication graduate (Cardiff University), currently working for the Dental Institute at King’s College London. Naomi began writing for British Theatre Guide, and Theatre Bubble where she reviews a range of theatre; from classical ballet galas and vocational school performances to musical theatre and contemporary creations.

ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
MOVE IT 2017 - Physical Theatre Workshop - EXCEL LONDON /articles/news/move-it-2017-physical-theatre-workshop-excel-londo//articles/news/move-it-2017-physical-theatre-workshop-excel-londo/Physical Theatre Workshop delivered by Rhiannon Brace at Move It 2017

Our workshop began in a semi-carpeted room and a floor not designed for movement but as soon as the eager participants arrived I knew it was going to be just fine.

I teach open level classes where people of different ages and levels mix together. I really love seeing the stronger dancers inspire those who struggle with set sequences and the really natural performers who excel at the creative tasks. I was aware this class may be their first encounter with physical theatre, which is very different to a dance technique class. In my class they explore their physicality and their own style of movement and there is room to be really creative.

Most dancers struggle to leave their week behind and be completely present so I do spend time warming up bodies and minds and allowing their focus to come within the room. When we do some basic breathing exercises it feels really relaxing with the hum of the main stage and the exhibition buzzing in the background. The playful exercises are lots of fun and really suit the taster style 45 min workshop.

It is nice to work with a large group of people, as it allows us to try out the tasks with different groups. The dancers tie themselves in knots, find different ways of travelling round the room, form shapes and as a group lift up a manhole cover.

I tend to give a mixture of creative tasks and set movement to work on. I find both disciplines helpful. When I teach set sequences I focus more on how the movements are performed and bringing personal interpretation to it. I avoid putting counts on movement I prefer either to be driven by the music or the activity of the movement or why it is being performed.

During this workshop we explore having a physical conversation and before too long the room is filled with pairs of dancers toing and froing in a physical dialogue. We change the mood of the dialogue by changing the music and I allow them to explore beyond my set movements to make the conversation more improvisational. I can see that many of the dancers are enjoying the sense of freedom in their movement and are starting to add in their preferred turns and steps. I only wish I had longer to work with this group. I hope they take this confidence and playfulness with them once they leave the room.

Rhiannon Brace is a physical theatre practitioner and choreographer. The class photographs are from her Physical Theatre class at Move It. Rhiannon regularly teaches Physical Theatre at Marylebone Dance Studio. Class details can be found here Find her on Twitter:@Rhiannonbrace

Photos by Picture Taker

MOVE IT is a chance to celebrate all forms of dance and the performing arts. Watch breath-taking Main Stage performances, take part in dance classes, discover dance career opportunities in the MOVE IT PRO series, brush up on your acting and vocal skills in performing arts workshops and shop for all your dancewear needs.
Over 24,500 dancers – three days – performances, classes, career advice, celebrities, interviews and shopping!
There is something for everyone and a glorious celebration of all things dance and performing arts at MOVE IT.

NewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
Project Polunin – Triple bill – Sadler’s Wells/articles/reviews/sergei-polunin-project-plounin-sadlers-wells//articles/reviews/sergei-polunin-project-plounin-sadlers-wells/Performance reviewed: March 14

The tattooed Ukrainian ballet star Sergei Polunin was feted as the Next Big Thing when, aged 19, he was made the youngest ever principal at the Royal Ballet. He demonstrated a breathtaking talent, but then suddenly quit the company in 2012, earning himself a “bad boy” tag with tales of drug-taking. Most of what he has done since, in his search for artistic autonomy, has been erratic. But he has friends in the right places – and the golden girl of ballet, Natalia Osipova, as his girlfriend – and so here we have the first evening of work by Project Polunin, a registered charity supporting dancers and a platform for staging dance that excites Polunin. It may well leave you breathless. Possibly not for the right reasons.

Icarus, The night before the Flight, created in 1971 by Vladimir Vasiliev, is a slice of classic Soviet-era, widescreen, Technicolor kitsch. To extravagant recorded orchestration, Polunin as the young Greek of legend throws himself around the stage with much painted-on emotion; Osipova, as his beloved Aeola, tries to dissuade him from attempting his flight with equal flamboyance. It’s an overblown party piece, not exactly elegant but the structure is sound enough and it’s quite good fun. The curtain call lasts almost as long as the dancing.

One crunching gear shift later and we have Tea or Coffee, a bewildering dance theatre piece first performed in Moscow last year. There is a pulsing current of nervous energy running through Andrey Kaydanovsky’s “black comedy family drama” as the four dancers (not including Polunin) abandon social niceties and succumb one at a time to some unnamed dread, but the twisty, rather clunky choreography doesn’t really give a lot of insight into what’s going on and the whole thing peters out so suddenly no one knew it had actually ended.

And so to the main event – a world premiere for Narcissus and Echo, created by Polunin with the composer Ilan Eshkeri. Appropriately, given the subject matter, it’s a self-indulgent mess. The production is based on a “concept” by the photographer David LaChapelle: scarcely clad Nymphs and Theban Boys frolic – in a woefully rickety, seemingly under-rehearsed way – amid gently glowing planets; Polunin hurtles on stage in little more than a gold Swarovski codpiece. He then spends a significant part of the piece asleep, draped over Jupiter, while Osipova’s Echo, in sparkles and wispy bits that drift off her costume, gazes at him adoringly. She looks lovely, and tries her best with scant material and a limited palette – but even in their big duets, the choreography staggers, with moves that aren’t followed through smoothly.

The programme talks of this being a cautionary tale for the selfie/social media age, but the cavalcade of images of Polunin – smouldering at the camera, snogging his mirror image – that appear on video screens are completely at odds, aesthetically, with what’s happening on stage. Frankly it’s a relief when he’s sucked into the pond. Narcissus and Echo is a salutary lesson indeed – it shows us that “taking back control” can have unexpectedly dire consequences.

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
MOVE IT 2017 - EXCEL LONDON /articles/reviews/move-it-2017//articles/reviews/move-it-2017/As we walk through East London’s Excel centre there are groups of young girls in lycra pulling their legs to their head or practicing pirouettes while sizing up the new arrivals joining the queue to the showcase on main stage. They have heavy make-up on and at their feet are their disassembled costumes. The positive energy of the space is contagious, and the shared joy of everything to do with dance is on display…

Further down the building, dancers are competing for the chance to perform on the main stage. New this year Capezio Dance Championships took place each day at MOVE IT offering the winners a cash prize of £500, the chance to be ‘the face of Capezio’ and to perform on the MOVE IT main stage. The winner on Day 1 was the Powerpuff Girls, Day 2’s champion’s were Dance Connection and on the final day the winner was Eleanor Norton-Bailey. Arlene Phillips CBE who was a judge on the final day described Eleanor as breathtaking. Thirteen year old Eleanor Norton-Bailey was also selected to be the face of Capezio which was announced on social media the following day.

Walking around the exhibition space there were plenty of classes and demonstrations as well as the usual stands from dance institutions and universities. As Move It and Move Fit share the space, there is also a host of health products and fitness classes from peanut butter, energy drinks to a fitness trampolining class that looks a lot of fun!

Upstairs there are seminars and more workshops taking place. There are dance classes, business focused seminars and a performing arts workshops where you can have classes in more theatrical subjects such as singing, An American in Paris rep class and a Physical Theatre workshop.

Rhiannon Brace is a is a physical theatre practitioner and choreographer. The class photographs are from her Physical Theatre class at Move It. Twitter:@Rhiannonbrace.

MOVE IT is a chance to celebrate all forms of dance and the performing arts. Watch breath-taking Main Stage performances, take part in dance classes, discover dance career opportunities in the MOVE IT PRO series, brush up on your acting and vocal skills in performing arts workshops and shop for all your dancewear needs.
Over 24,500 dancers – three days – performances, classes, career advice, celebrities, interviews and shopping!
There is something for everyone and a glorious celebration of all things dance and performing arts at MOVE IT.

ReviewsThu, 01 Jan 1970 01:00:00 +0100
The London Dance Space Survey/articles/news/the-london-dance-space-survey//articles/news/the-london-dance-space-survey/The Mayor and Greater London Authority is mapping dance studios and venues in London and needs your input.


Artists and dance organisations are also invited to attend the London Dance Infrastructure Workshop at City Hall on 16 March.

Where: City Hall Committee Room 4 (Lower Ground Floor)
When: 16 March 2017, 3:30-5:30pm
Why: This event is aimed at London’s dance space users. The event will gather information from artists, organisations, touring companies, commercial operators and independent practitioners who make use of London’s dance studio and venue spaces, and will address questions relating to affordability and accessibility of dance space in the city.

To RSVP, please send your name, organisation (if appropriate) and email contact details to

DANCE SURVEY : open until 24 March

The London Dance Space Survey invites responses from artists, organisations, touring companies, commercial operators and independent practitioners who make use of London’s dance studio spaces or performance venues. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and is open until 24 March. Tell us how you use space and what you’d like to see in the future.

Do you or your dance company/organisation use dance studios or run a dance studio?

The London Dance Space Survey open until 24 March, invites responses from all artists, organisations and dance companies who make use of London’s dance studio spaces or performance venues. The work is part of the Mayor‘s new Cultural Infrastructure Plan to establish what London needs to sustain and develop culture to 2030. The project is gathering intelligence on dance premises, support networks, affordability and accessibility in order to better understand the key opportunities, threats and challenges facing London’s dance sector. Respondents don’t have to be based in London, but should have experience of using or booking dance studio or venue hire space in the city.

Access survey here

More information: We Made That and Dance Umbrella have been commissioned by the GLA to carry out this study. The work includes mapping and geographical assessment of established dance venues and studio spaces, engagement with organisations managing these premises, and consultation on the accessibility and affordability of dance studio and venue spaces for rehearsal, production and performance purposes.

This project is part of the Mayor‘s new Cultural Infrastructure Plan to establish what London needs to sustain and develop culture to 2030. We Made That and Dance Umbrella have been commissioned by the GLA to carry out this study. The work includes mapping and geographical assessment of established dance venues and studio spaces, engagement with organisations managing these premises, and consultation on the accessibility and affordability of dance studio and venue spaces for rehearsal, production and performance purposes.

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