News: Dance Umbrella 2015 - on sale now!

Wednesday 20 May 2015 by Carmel Smith

Dance Umbrella 2015 - Dan Canham's 'Of Riders and Running Horses'. Photo: Paul Blakemore.

With performances in four parks, on the roof of a multi-storey carpark, at a Shoreditch club and several outer London venues as well as in central locations at the Barbican, Sadler’s Wells and The Place, Dance Umbrella’s 2015 festival runs for just over two weeks in October and goes on sale today.

Following her first season leading the festival last year (which resulted in an Olivier Award nomintation for Rocio Molina’s show at the Barbican and an invitation for Ivan Blackstock’s Birdgang to become a Resident Company at the Young Vic), Artistic Director Emma Gladstone’s second Dance Umbrella season opens with a new work by Bristol based theatre maker and choreographer Dan Canham. Of Riders and Running Horses has been created by Canham’s company Still House for six women dancers, with a live band, to be performed on the roof of the NCP carpark in Farringdon (15 – 17 Oct) and in the courtyard of the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Tottenham (18 Oct).

After the sell out success of Shiny last year, this season also includes a new work created especially for babies (aged 0 – 18 months) and their grown ups. 16 Singers will tour to four outer London venues (The Albany Deptford; Watermans, Brentford; artsdepot, North Finchley and Stratford Circus). Director Katherine Morley has brought together a team of artists passionate about creating work for children – including composer Paul Rissmann and choreographer Rosie Heafford.

The Barbican Pit hosts Out of India: Modern Moves – an evening of work by three of the most interesting contemporary choreographers to have emerged from India’s dance scene – Deepak Kurki Shivaswamy, Hemabharathy Palani and Surjit Nongmeikapam.

Last year’s Dance Umbrella included Barcelona based collective La Veronal at Southbank Centre for just one evening. This year there will be two chances to catch this exciting company at Sadler’s Wells (19 & 20 October) in the brain stretching Voronia – an exploration of of evil, religion and the deepest cave in the world – Krubera Voronia in the Caucasus region of Georgia.

Also at Sadler’s Wells, in the Lilian Baylis Studio a double bill (16 & 17 October) includes the UK premiere of Idan Sharabi’s award-winning duet Ours, a choreographic look at the idea of home, set to music by Joni Mitchell – and Claire Cunningham’s Give Me A Reason To Live, a powerful solo taking the form of a series of tests, both of body and of faith, inspired by the work of Medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch.

For one night only (26 Oct) which is likely to sell out quickly, the Dance Umbrella programming reins have been handed over to hip hop artist Tony Adigun, founder and director of London based Avant Garde, to present his own party evening. The Factory – an immersive, loud and informal night of dance, fashion, art and music – promises to be a kind of Festival within the Festival at Village Underground, Shoreditch and includes BBC Young Dancer finalist (hip hop) Kieran Lai, designer Bettina John and performance artists .2Dot, amongst many others, who will be announced in the coming months.

Choreographer Gregory Maqoma is one of South Africa’s leading artists. He began his training in his homeland and came to PARTS in Belgium, where he studied under Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and has collaborated with many European artists, including Akram Khan. His work combines the vigour of African rhythms and sounds with European dance and in Exit/Exist (Shaw Theatre, 29 & 30 October) he tells the story of his 18th-century ancestor Chief Maqoma. Maqoma draws the audience into the narrative, inviting reflection on how these past events inform our personal and collective identities. He is joined by four South African singers and fusion guitarist Giuliano Modarelli, who perform a score by the internationally renowned singer and composer Simphiwe Dana.

Lisbeth Gruwez’s AH/HA at The Place (23 & 24 Oct) promises to be a bit of a laugh. The Belgian choreographer focuses on a single idea – laughter – and breaks it down into a million parts. Her five performers deconstruct every nuance of a laugh, taking us on a journey from the downright silly, through tragedy and finally ending with unexpected tenderness.

Every day of the festival, there’s the chance to participate in choreography in its widest sense – in outdoor settings far removed from traditional theatre spaces. Equipped with mp3 players and headphones, Charlotte Spenser’s Walking Stories (Greenwich, Brockwell, Waterlow and Springfield Parks) takes you on a walk in the park, with background music, sounds and suggestions on how to move through and explore the environment. Absorbing, surprising, creative and fun, it encourages you to think about how we move and what we see.

Like last year, there will also be opportunities to talk about dance – with a debate on art and culture in international politics at King’s College London and Dance Umbrella will be taking over the Unicorn Theatre for a weekend of classes, short performances and talks aimed at young people from 12 years and up in DU: Unplugged

As a PS to the season, and an opener for the new year, French Canadian skating dancers Le Patin Libre, who were such a hit at Alexandra Palace last year, have been invited to perform at Somerset House’s ice rink (12 – 16 Jan).

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