Boys Only! at Laban

Boys Only! Workshop at Trinity Laban

The Royal Academy of Dance, in partnership with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, present the “Boys Only!” workshop on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th December, for boys and young men between the ages of 8 and 18. Boys Only! provides the opportunity to demonstrate potential and to dance with and learn from male peers through quality teaching and insights into the dance profession.

This high energy two-day workshop will give male students across London the opportunity to combine classic ballet training, with energetic creative and contemporary workshops and stylish Street Dance, donning their dancewear and engaging in inspiring dance training, a unique way to discover and develop new talents dancing alongside and learning from leading dance artists. Philip Page, who currently teaches at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, will be leading the ballet class, Anton Streeks, who teaches on the Step into Dance programme, will lead the Street Dance class and Ross Carpenter, a Dance Practitioner at Trinity Laban, will lead the creative and contemporary class.

Boys Only! began in 2005 when the RAD raised £50,000 at a Billy Elliot -The Musical gala and launched the programme with the aim of widening participation in dance through open access events, specifically targeting young men with little or no dance experience, let alone a range of ballet shoes or practice uniforms. It is now a national programme working in collaboration with many regional partners, delivering ballet from fresh perspectives in conjunction with other dance styles.

Boys Only! courses are subsidised by the Boys Only! Fund which was established to provide opportunities for male students to access dance.

Dance Umbrella’s Artistic Director to Step Down

Dance Umbrella

Betsy Gregory, Artistic Director of Dance Umbrella, has announced that she will be standing down from the post next autumn in 2013, at the conclusion of the 35th Dance Umbrella  festival. By the time she leaves the leotards, leg warmers and array of coloured costumes behind her of previous festivals, Gregory will have completed sixteen years at Dance Umbrella, seven of them as Artistic Director.

The 2012 festival marked a major shift for Dance Umbrella, both artistically and organisationally. There were many firsts: it was the first time the festival programme was co-curated, the first time the festival was devoted to investigating a very particular ‘slice’ of what dance makers are doing right now, and the first time the festival has taken place almost entirely in a single venue, the new Platform Theatre at UAL’s Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design. Houses were full and feedback from the audience was overwhelmingly positive.

Since Greogory’s appointment in 2007, the Dance Umbrella Board and team have successfully navigated the organisation through a major transition in which the team have introduced many new strands of activity. These include free, outdoor performances, large-scale participatory projects of an unusually high artistic quality and the presentation of new work from under represented areas of the world, such as Africa.

The 2013 festival will continue Dance Umbrella’s innovation: bringing the new and developing audiences and the art form.2013 the team will return to a more expansive festival format, working with multiple partners across the city to present new work and collaborate on unique projects which would not happen otherwise. Over the next year, with the support of the Board and the Arts Council, Gregory will work to ensure that Dance Umbrella is in the strongest possible position to continue its work into the future, under the leadership of a new Artistic Director.

Image courtesy of Dance Umbrella.

My First Cinderella

My First Cinderella

English National Ballet’s My First Cinderella tells everyone’s favourite rags-to-riches story in a beautifully adapted version for young audiences, introducing the magic of ballet and all its ballet slippers to children from the age of three. Transformed into a glittering Princess who shall go to the ball, Cinderella leaves her tatters behind and embarks on a life of tiaras and sparkle.

My First Cinderella is choreographed by George Williamson, recently appointed as English National Ballet’s Associate Artist. Earlier this year, at the age of 21, he created Firebird which had a fantastic reception, and was a new work set to Stravinsky’s classic score for the company.

The “My First…” series brings young audiences their first taste of ballet through the magic of fairytales, captivating music and beautiful dance in collaboration with the English National Ballet School. After presenting My First Sleeping Beauty at the Peacock Theatre in 2011, ENB2 returns with its graduating dancers and their tutus of outstanding potential from the School.

The concept of My First Cinderella was dreamt up by Williamson and Loipa Araujo, being generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust. Lighting the production will be Richard Howell and musical direction will be by Gavin Sutherland, well known for his work with English National Ballet. Starting at the Peacock Theatre, My First Cinderella will tour to the New Victoria Theatre in Woking, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, The Churchill Theatre in Bromley, the New Theatre in Oxford, The Hawth Theatre in Crawley, the Opera House in Manchester and the Richmond Theatre, Richmond.

Image courtesy of English National Ballet.

The 13th National Dance Awards Nominations

National Dance Awards Critics' Circle

The Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle announced the nominations for the 13th National Dance Awards at a reception held at The Place on 9 November 2012, an extremely exciting time of year for the tutu wearing, pointe shoe-hopping dance artists and fans alike. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held in The Robin Howard Theatre at The Place on Monday 28 January 2013.

The nominations for the 2012 National Dance Awards are as follows –

DANCING TIMES AWARD FOR BEST MALE DANCER 

Jonathan GODDARD (Rambert Dance Company & Freelance)
Akram KHAN (Akram Khan Company)  
Vadim MUNTAGIROV (English National Ballet)
Edward WATSON (Royal Ballet)

GRISHKO AWARD FOR BEST FEMALE DANCER 

Begoña CAO (English National Ballet)
Eve MUTSO (Scottish Ballet)
Marianela NUÑEZ (Royal Ballet)
Tamara ROJO (Royal Ballet)

STEF STEFANOU AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING COMPANY

Merce Cunningham Dance Company 
New Adventures 
Royal Ballet Flanders 
Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch

BEST CLASSICAL CHOREOGRAPHY

David BINTLEY (‘Faster’ for the Birmingham Royal Ballet)
Christopher HAMPSON (‘Storyville’ for Ballet Black)
Annabelle LOPEZ OCHOA (‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ for Scottish Ballet)
Alastair MARRIOTT & Christopher WHEELDON (‘Trespass’ in‘Metamorphosis – Titian 2012 Bill’ for The Royal Ballet)

BEST MODERN CHOREOGRAPHY

Alexander EKMAN (‘Cacti’ for Nederlands Dans Theater II)
Akram KHAN (‘DESH’ for AKRAM KHAN COMPANY)
Arthur PITA (‘The Metamorphosis’)
Kate PRINCE (‘Some Like It Hip Hop’ for Zoonation)

OUTSTANDING FEMALE PERFORMANCE (CLASSICAL)

Yuhui CHOE (Royal Ballet)
Ksenia OVSYANICK (English National Ballet)
Beatriz STIX-BRUNELL (Royal Ballet)
Jia ZHANG (English National Ballet)

OUTSTANDING MALE PERFORMANCE (CLASSICAL)

Yonah ACOSTA (English National Ballet)
Paul KAY (Royal Ballet)
Zdenek KONVALINA (English National Ballet)
Dawid TRZENSIMIECH (Royal Ballet)

OUTSTANDING FEMALE PERFORMANCE (MODERN)

Azzurra ARDOVINI (Phoenix Dance Theatre)<
Teneisha BONNER (Zoonation)
Wendy HOUSTOUN  
Hannah KIDD (Richard Alston Dance Company)

OUTSTANDING MALE PERFORMANCE (MODERN)

Tommy FRANZÉN (Zoonation & Russell Maliphant Company)
Dane HURST (Rambert Dance Company)
Christopher MARNEY (New Adventures)
Liam RIDDICK (Richard Alston Dance Company)

BEST INDEPENDENT COMPANY

Ballet Black 
Ballet Cymru 
Rosie Kay Dance Company
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance 

The National Dance Awards have been organised by the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle each year since 2000 and they celebrate the vigour and variety of Britain’s thriving dance culture. They are the only awards given by the body of professional dance critics in the UK, presented by the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle which brings together more than 50 dance writers and critics.

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance at the Barbican Centre

rAndom International: Rain Room

On Sunday 18 November, 2 December, 20 January 2013 and 24 February 2013, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is set to perform in Rain Room at The Curve, Barbican Centre. Random International’s acclaimed Rain Room installation in the  Curve gallery will be inhabited by dancers from Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, performing continuously evolving interventions in the Rain, with a score by contemporary composer Max Richter.

Known for their distinctive approach to digital-based contemporary art, Random International’s experimental artworks come alive through audience interaction. Their largest and most ambitious installation yet, Rain Room is a 100square metre field of falling water for visitors to walk through and experience how it might feel to control the rain. On entering The Curve the visitor hears the sound of water and feels moisture in the air before discovering the thousands of falling droplets that respond to their presence and movement.

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is part of Weekend Labs which are immersive arts workshops for adults, offering two full days of action and conversation with other interesting people at the Barbican. They give an opportunity to explore creative work in-depth though practical work in a range of international art forms with Weekend Labs giving a direct access to world class arts and learning programme. These events will build on a series of past collaborations between the award-winning choreographer McGregor and the acclaimed studio Random International, including Random International’s Future Self (MADE, Berlin, April 2012) and Wayne McGregor | Random Dance’s FAR which premiered at Sadler’s Wells in November 2010. FAR is now touring nationally and internationally.

McGregor is a multi-award-winning British choreographer and director, internationally renowned for his physically testing choreography and groundbreaking collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science. In addition to being Artistic Director of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, he is also Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London and Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet (appointed 2006).

Admission is free but audiences will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis from the queue.

Photo © rAndom International, photography by James Harris.

Rambert Dance Company’s New Home

Rambert Dance Company Logo

To celebrate 10 years at the helm of Rambert Dance Company, Artistic Director Mark Baldwin joined the Rambert dancers on the South Bank to appeal for support in the final stages of the fundraising campaign for the Company’s new headquarters at the heart of London’s cultural quarter. The dancers, the admin team and the inspirational teaching staff will be transporting their dance tights, foot thongs and assortment of leotards and costumes to a new start next year.

The UK’s national contemporary dance company worked hard to encourage supporters to make a £5 donation on 1 November 2012, the date of Baldwin’s official anniversary of becoming Artistic Director. Those who donated on the anniversary were entered into a special prize draw to win a VIP trip to Rambert Dance Company’s new headquarters during the opening celebrations in 2013.

Rambert Dance Company has been provided with a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a new home, leaving its Chiswick headquarters next year. In return for a commitment to provide a significant community dance programme, Rambert has been given a plot of land by Coin Street Community Builders, one of the UK’s leading social enterprises. The new home will safeguard Rambert’s future and that of contemporary dance as a centre for choreography and music for dance. It will cement Rambert’s status as one of the world’s great dance companies and enable it to improve its already excellent artistic standards, be a powerhouse for new choreography and become the centre for dance and music in the UK.

Every aspect of the building’s design – by award-winning architects Allies & Morrison – operation and programme of education and outreach activities will set new standards for public engagement with the art form. Rambert will move to its new South Bank home in 2013.

 

Dance in the Media

Dancers

Having seen a huge influx of dance and the performing arts in the media recently such as So You Think You Can Dance, Got To Dance and Dancing with the Stars, it comes as no surprise that the number of participants engaging in dance classes has increased considerably. A survey conducted by YouGov in 2011 in the prelude to the Dance Proms at the Royal Albert Hall found that just over 1 in 5 British adults have become interested in dancing as a result of shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance, not considering those throughout the rest of the world and of alternative age groups, donning their dance shoes and pulling on their leotards.

The appeal of dance runs far and wide and today dance seems to have taken on a more of a popular culture persona as more people are becoming aware of it and its benefits. Pirouetting against the stereotype, ballet, for example, does not have to be girly and strictly disciplined; there are a huge variety of dance class choices meaning that there is an option for everyone. No sooner had gym culture taken over our lives, dance cults began to make an appearance, such as Zumba and Bokwa, reinforcing the notion that engaging in physical activity does not have to involve a treadmill.

Naturally, open classes such as those at Pineapple Dance Studios and Danceworks to name just a couple of dance studios in the capital, regardless of those throughout the rest of the country, mean that dancers new and existing will dig out their legwarmers or invest in some shiny new ones, obtaining those essentials to embark on or continue their dancing lifestyle. Dancewear is also increasingly becoming ideal for gym and leisurewear, making it versatile, up-to-date and inspirational, be it performing high kicks, squats or champion chill-outs.

It seems the dance bug is here to stay!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The 2013 Emerging Dancer Awards

ENB Emerging Dancer Competition 2013

The six finalists for English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Awards have been announced, a very exciting award which showcases its upcoming artists complete with their performance tights and array of best ballet shoes. The six nominees for the 2013 Emerging Dancer Award are English National Ballet’s Alison McWhinney, Guilherme Menezes, Nancy Osbaldeston, Ken Saruhashi, Lauretta Summerscales and Nathan Young.

Now in its fourth year, The Emerging Dancer Award is an annual competition for English National Ballet which recognises and nurtures its upcoming talent and encourages the huge amount of excellence in the Company. The Award culminates in a live final which will take place at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre on 4 March 2013, so there is plenty of time to get your votes in for your favourite tutu or tunic wearer. All six of the Emerging Dancer nominees will perform two solos in front of a panel of expert judges from the dance sector, as well as a full audience. Attending The Emerging Dancer Awards is a fantastic opportunity to witness talent flourishing in an extraordinary way, the Company performing as they are rarely seen in a very intimate venue.

The Emerging Dancer Award winner will be announced at the end of the Awards evening in addition to the recipient of The People’s Choice Award, which is voted for by members of the public both online and through other performances of the Company with a voting slip in each programme.

Image courtesy of ENB.

The Tour of Wicked the Musical

Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of OzWicked the musical, complete with its witchy dresses and green body paint, is set to tour the UK and Ireland from 12 September 2013 for the first time, beginning at Manchester’s Palace Theatre with further dates and locations yet to be announced. Fans all over the country and beyond will be able to engage further with the spell-binding, all-singing, all-dancing show which has taken the world of musicals by storm. Manchester has a prestigious history of hosting the regional premieres of so many world class musicals, full of tap shoes, coloured costumes and ballet tights.

The London show, which premiered in 2006, will be continuing at the Apollo Victoria Theatre where tickets are on sale until 2 November 2013. There will also be six other productions of Wicked simultaneously playing around the world including those in Broadway, Japan and Holland plus two North American and one South East Asia tour.

Wicked’s music and lyrics were written by Grammy award-winner Stephen Schwartz, with a book written by Winnie Holzman and directed by Tony award-winner Joe Mantello. As the story of what happened before Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Wicked is based on the best-selling novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.

The show is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures Stage Productions, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone, with its UK executive producer Michael McCabe. With so many members of the team involved in the production of Wicked it is easy to comprehend how the show has become so popular and successful.

Dance arrangements are covered by James Lynn Abbott, orchestration is by William David Brohn, musical supervision by Stephen Oremus and musical staging by Wayne Cilento.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Sadler’s Successful Year!

Sadler's Wells

On October 30 2012 Sadler’s Wells, the UK’s leading dance house, held its annual  press conference which detailed its 2011/12 year of achievement and success both at home and abroad.

An increased number of performances took place at its three London venues – Sadler’s Wells, the Peacock Theatre and the Lilian Baylis Studio – and an international touring programme took eleven productions to 28 cities across the world, spreading its dance influence to leotard wearers to tappers to high-kicking New Yorker wearers. Of these eleven productions, eight were the work of Sadler’s Wells Associate Artists with a total audience of 131,597. This is a fantastic achievement for those Artists involved, proving that dance is in high demand by a range of demographics: over 13% of the population now attending dance performances. The theatre is dedicated to working with celebrated artists, performers and companies at the forefront of the arts, and the Associate Artists and resident companies include Balletboyz, Matthew Bourne and his company New Adventures, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jonzi D, Sylvie Guillem, Michael Hulls, Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant, Kate Prince and her company ZooNation UK Dance Company, Nitin Sawhney, Hofesh Shechter, Jasmin Vardimon, Christopher Wheeldon, Wayne McGregor and his company Wayne McGregor | Random Dance.

Additional achievements of the year for Sadler’s include 677 performances being presented on the stages of the three venues which is an increase of 53 shows on last year. 128 artists were commissioned during this period with income from the artistic programme reaching £16 million. Over 650,000 tickets were sold in the UK and on tour, and 90% of Sadler’s £22.8 million turnover was generated from earned income, 71% of income through ticket sales.

Since 2005 Sadler’s Wells has commissioned, co-commissioned, produced and co-produced over 80 new productions. Here’s to 2012/13!