News: Pick'n'Mix - the dance selection

Wednesday 4 November 2009

The old Woolworths store Leytonstone High Road was brought back to life for one day only, courtesy of a lively dance event organised by a host of dance artists who live in, or have a connection with the area.

Pick’n‘Mix took place on Saturday 24 October and attracted an audience of around 400 hundred people back into the empty shop. It was organised by choreographer and local resident Fearghus O’Conchuir, with support from East London Dance and Waltham Forest Council. _*“It was great – a huge number of people came to watch a great quality of dancing”* _he said. _*“I wanted to make sure that a wealth of talent of choreography recognised nationally and internationally could be seen by local residents. Despite living in Waltham Forest, I have never shown anything locally or rehearsed locally, which is silly. I also wanted to show how artists’ creativity could turn a casualty of the recession into something exciting.”* _Letters from the Woolworths sign which he salvaged when the store closed were even used in one of the dances.

Choreographers Kim Brandstrup, Dean James, Tashan Muir, Seeta Patel, Stephanie Schober and Bettina Strickler presented seven pieces, of which three were new works, performed by 20 dancers. Brandstrup’s last work created with Royal Ballet Principal Tamara Rojo was seen just afew weeks ago at the Royal Opera House; his piece for Leytonstone High Street was performed by dancers from Rambert.

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dancers also led two workshops on the day with 35 participants (including Waltham Forest Mayor Cllr Anna Mbachu) and street dancer Dean James led two more in local schools in the run up to the event.

The Walthamstow pick’n‘mix deluxe selection of choreographers: ***Kim Brandstrup*, who lives in Walthamstow, set up the Olivier Award-winning Arc Dance Company and has made works for Rambert, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet and for the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden.

Dean James grew up and still lives in Walthamstow. Having performed internationally, he has set up a dance group to explore the connection between dance and circus. He teaches street dance in youth group settings.

Tashan Muir, lives in Walthamstow, and runs the street dance group Unity. He is also part of Boy Blue Entertainment and performed in the Hip Hop theatre production Pied Piper. He teaches street dance in schools and community centres.

Fearghus O’ Conchuir lives in Walthamstow and is Associate Artist at Project Arts Centre Dublin. He was the first Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme from Ireland.

Seeta Patel was born in Walthamstow. She is Associate Artist at the Arnolfini, Bristol and also with Akademi. She won the Kadam Choreography Award and has shown work regularly at ROH2 Summer Collection.

Stephanie Schober lives in Walthamstow. She won a Bonnie Bird New Choreography award and was Artist in Residence at the South Bank and at Laban.

Bettina Strickler, who lives in Walthamstow, set up the award winning Protein Dance with Luca Silvestrini. The duo were choreographers in residence at the Place and winners of The Bonnie Bird Award and the Jerwood Choreography award.

*Photos by Nick Gurney*

What’s On