Each year, the UK’s contemporary dance house The Place announces its annual End of Year Season, in which graduating students from London Contemporary Dance School perform both a varied and excellent programme. This marks the completion of their training at one of the world’s leading conservatoires and inspires the next generation of dancers to harness their dance talents and hone their training.
Image courtesy of Benedict Johnson Photography.
Rather than a focus on pretty pink pointe shoes or the West End tap tones, the Robin Howard Dance Theatre is overrun each year with bare footed talent, sporting a range or dance clothing, which is generally thought to set the standard of contemporary dance throughout the rest of the country. The season includes In Performance: Postgraduate Alumni, which will feature the work created by MA Choreography Alumni, celebrating the work produced by the course over a period of 11 years, performed by London Contemporary Dance School’s alumni.
Additionally, EDge, the postgraduate performance company of LCDS, will be presenting a repertoire that has been toured around Europe by the company’s 12 dancers since March 2012, including upcoming choreographer James Wilton’s Through Shards, and Avant Garde Dance’s Founder and Artistic Director Tony Adigun’s Unleashed, inspired by Richard Alston’s iconic Wildlife.
The Graduation Performances will feature over 40 graduating students performing specially commissioned works by professional choreographers, including The Place’s Artistic Director Richard Alston. Alston has restaged his latest piece A Ceremony Of Carols, originally commissioned by The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and Sadler’s Wells. A selection of the students’ own choreography, chosen from the body of work created over the last year will also be featured to complete the programme. This represents the culmination of the graduates’ experiences at LCDS, completing their BA in Contemporary Dance and Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Dance Studies. The diverse range of works demonstrates the breadth of their studies and the excellence of the performance demonstrates the sheer quality of their training.
Flash Mob, a dance show starring acts from TV shows such as Got To Dance and So You Think You Can Dance is to debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. Flash Mob will be a “public platform to create sensational routines” without the limitations that are so often encountered when choreographing dance on screen. Adapting choreography for a TV programme especially can limit the creativity of the artists involved, with the main focus being on the dancers, leg warmers and all, rather than the whole construction process from pulling on jazz shoes to the final production clad in outrageous costumes.
However, Flash Mob implies that a piece based on ordinary people can produce extraordinary dancing. Often the winners and finalists from the dance programmes mentioned above – and plenty of others – are quickly nabbed for international tours supporting pop legends and West End productions. The focus of these is usually solely on ‘selling’ rather than the dance aesthetic itself which may run the risk of slowly fading, with artists losing the chance to dance in their own right and simply existing as ‘a name’.
As a result, Flash Mob is a show that will give these artists the opportunity to choreograph their own individual routines for themselves, rather than filling someone else’s dance shoes, and becoming in the process the stars of their own show. The Flash Mob show will be directed by Gary Lloyd, artistic director and choreographer for Thriller Live and artistic director for Hair The Musical. Additional directors will include star hip hop dancers who have found fame on TV talent shows and films, such as Got To Dance 2011 finalists Alleviate. The show will run from 2nd-27th August 2012 at the Assembly Hall, Edinburgh.
As part of British choreographer Matthew Bourne’s company New Adventures‘ 25th anniversary celebrations, old works have been revived and new ones are being created.
A triple bill was presented in May this year, showcasing works – for the second time – that launched Bourne’s career, and will undoubtedly propel his choreographic status further today. Spitfire was Bourne’s first creation in 1988, placing the most famous 19th century ballet showstopper in the world of men’s underwear advertising. A far cry from the dance tights and tunics of the day, Bourne’s men are costumed in revealing shorts and vests, a springboard for his success. Town and Country from 1991 saw Bourne’s and New Adventures’ first Olivier nomination as it immortalised the Bourne dance style in its ironically witty yet moving creation. Bygone eras and national characters are explored, a recurring theme in most of Bourne’s work. The Infernal Galop was inspired by 1930s and 1940s French icons, as seen by the “stiff upper lips” of English imagination to delight Bourne’s audiences.
Summer 2012 has recently seen the next instalment of celebrations. Bourne’s Play Without Words, in association with the National Theatre, depicts Chelsea in 1965 and the paradox of domestic social order and struggles for power in a spellbinding production. Its first revival as part of the 25th anniversary since 2002 at the National Theatre is seen to be another critical and popular success, making its debut at Sadler’s Wells and repeating its Olivier nominated work in such a prestigious dance house is a sure mark of the company’s success. Play Without Words won the 2003 Awards for Best Entertainment and Best Theatre Choreographer.
The 25th birthday of New Adventures will culminate with the world premier of Bourne’s latest re-imagining of the ballet classic The Sleeping Beauty. This will complete the trio of ballet masterworks that began with Nutcracker! and continued to reveal the international hit Swan Lake, minus the twirling tiaras of the originals. Again featuring touches of the Olivier, award winners will collaborate to create another Bourne magic, if potentially haunting production as a supernatural love story.
Not one for employing pointe shoes and pristine tutus, Bourne has contributed uniquely to both the British and international dance scene, providing sheer entertainment and arguably igniting a love of dance for many audience members.
The London initiative of annual “how to” sessions for 16-25 year olds, Masterclass, is 10 years old in 2012, and is celebrating by providing attendees with fantastic ticket offers. Within the arts sector, as with life itself, the reason for its continuance and success is the result of human beings and their individual wants and needs. Many young people who have trained in the stereotypical ballet, tap and modern, donning pretty pink ballet shoes, huge varieties of jazz shoes and every child’s dream of noisy tap shoes. However, not every young thespian or ballerina grows up chasing the dream of performing on stage for most nights of their lives.
Masterclass is a fantastic project which can be an aid to these individuals, providing worthwhile and alternative advice for those who love theatre, but with aspirations sometimes straying from the stage. For example, Masterclass 2012 in London will see a Theatre Careers Advice Panel, a Getting into Drama School, and Musical Theatre talks, catering for numerous involved with the arts, whatever their tastes. A Masterclass event to be held in Sheffield, additionally, will include a Maureen Lipman Masterclass, a Masterclass Patron, at the International Student Drama Festival as one of Britain’s best loved actresses and comedians. As part of the Masterclass vein, Lipman, CBE, will share her invaluable knowledge of working on the British stage with the next generation of emerging theatre artists.
Many are inclined to forget those who are responsible for theatre and the arts sector who are not in the spotlight on-stage in the high-heeled New Yorker shoes and shining show tights. However, in order to make the show in hand possible, numerous backstage and administration staff are required, all of whom in the making are catered for at Masterclass.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
A new dance collaboration has been launched by Mass Movement, a London based dance talent agency sourcing and representing some of the best choreographers and dancers in the world, ranging across the board with a number of different specialities and abilities. Their new project group, “The Movement”, encompasses a tight-knit and powerful collaboration of respected industry chorographers and dancers. Each Mass Movement choreographer offers different styles and skills across Modern Commercial, Contemporary, Jazz, Street Dance and Hip Hop, with extensive experience in Artist Creative Direction and New Artist Development contributing also. The works of the choreographers of Mass Movement have been featured in a variety of media, such as music tours and videos, TV specials and commercials, and live corporate events.
Self-titled as the UK’s latest dance phenomenon, The Movement hosts 16 remarkable dancers fusing dance disciplines. Aiming to take the dance sector to an entirely new level that has never been seen before, The Movement is operating under the direction of Creative Director Christian Storm and some of the most highly acclaimed choreographers of the industry. Fusing a multitude of dance genres with fantastic skill ranges and talents, The Movement looks set to become a “super group”, creating a remarkable new concept for dance. Whether your interest is “pretty in pink” pointe shoes, the dapper tap shoe or the urban skills of those in dance trainers, Mass Movement is sure to hit the spot.
Storm’s enthusiasm for the dance and leotard clan of Laine Theatre Arts where he trained, lead him to open his own talent agency and live event production company, having worked in this capacity for so many of his own performing and choreographic years. Mass Movement ensures that the very best talents and the most elite professional dancers in varying genres are within easy reach of clients. Storm’s choreographic and directive success relies on his unique combination of incredible talent and innovative, creative ideas which are delivered by his personable yet professional nature. Storm is renowned also for instinctively knowing how to achieve the best from the performers and clients he works with, instilling confidence that Mass Movement is able to deliver with style.
The Dance WE Made, presented by Big Dance 2012 and Sadler’s Wells, is a unique interactive pop-up dance project taking place at locations across London throughout June and July 2012, as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad’s Big Dance programme. The project will be staged at 20 iconic London landmarks over a 20 day period, in which members of the public will be invited to devise some of their own original choreography – leotards, sweat bands and leg warmers optional!
The Dance WE Made is being produced in collaboration with professional dancer and choreographer Tim Casson who studied at the BRIT school and Bird College, before joining the Jasmin Vardimon Company as an apprentice through London Contemporary Dance School. Casson became a full member of the company after a year of work, going on to complete his MA in Contemporary Dance and adding a wealth of commercial and contemporary experience to his already over-flowing CV.
For The Dance WE Made, each London location will see four to eight people have the chance to work with Casson resulting in the creation of a unique two minute dance piece, requiring no previous dance or choreographic experience from participants. Whether you tend to sport dancewear, jazz sneakers, or just everyday clothes, The Dance WE Made is the opportunity to discuss creative ideas, creating movement from boundless inspiration and see your piece performed and showcased by Casson in each location, which will be filmed and posted online on www.thedancewemade.co.uk and other social networking and video sharing websites.
Each of the two minute segments will be combined to create a single dance solo for Casson, which will set a new world record for the largest number of choreographers contributing to a single dance work. Being part of the creative process looks set to be challenging but completely rewarding, creating the extraordinary from the ordinary.
The Dance WE Made London Tour dates – full tour schedule to be announced:
- 3 Jun 2012 New River Festival – Enfield
- 11 Jun 2012 Spitalfields Market
- 13 Jun 2012 Exmouth Market
- 14 Jun 2012 Brixton Village
- 20 Jun 2012 Peter’s Hill for The Millennium Bridge
- 21 Jun 2012 Barbican Lakeside Terrace
- 27 Jun 2012 Camden Market
- 8 Jul 2012 The Scoop
- 10 Jul 2012 Covent Garden Piazza
A month-long season of 10 works by the late German choreographer Pina Bausch is being presented by the Barbican and Sadler’s Wells until July 9 2012, each work aiming to explore a different world city.
Tanztheater Wuppertal began with controversy, with Bausch appointed as director of dance for the Wuppertal theatres in 1973. She developed a specific dance form as part of her role as a mixture of dance and theatre, which was at first, wholly unfamiliar. With her dancers speaking and singing, in addition to performing dance, Bausch’s work succeeded in establishing itself as a unique venture.
Unlike the many twirling tutus and pristine pointe shoes seen on stages today, Bausch’s work in the early years sowed the seeds for a dance revolution which eventually redefined modern dance throughout the world. This certain strand of dance theatre became its own genre, separating itself from the stomping tap shoes and jazz shoes of chorus lines dominating many Western stages. Choreographers of both theatrical and classical backgrounds were inspired to create, which spelled global success for Bausch’s work, always surrounding a “universal need”: love, intimacy and emotional security.
Accordingly, Bausch developed an artistic form which was able to incorporate highly diverse cultural influences, investigating what brings humans closer to fulfilling these universal needs, and the factors which distance them. Her research continues to generate experiences and memories in her audiences, with “moving images of inner landscapes, exploring the precise state of human feelings while never giving up hope that the longing for love can one day be met”. A close engagement with reality is an additional key aspect of Bausch’s work, having resided within each creation over the 36 years of her career until her death in 2009, shaping the work of the Tanztheater Wuppertal considerably.
Image courtesy of Duisburger Philharmoniker at Flickr.
Dance In The Making is the name of a two-day seminar programme in the 14th and 15th of July, focused around the theme of choreography by and with young people, open to tutu twirling aspiring ballerinas, bare-footed contemporaries, and every young dancer experiencing the dance sector today. Combining industry professionals and young people from the UK and overseas in discussion, Dance In The Making is to be hosted by Chris Thomson, Director of Creative Teaching and Learning at The Place, and Linda Jasper, Director of Youth Dance England.
The talks will delve into questions on the “best” choreographic practice, be it for waerers of pointe shoes, tap shoes or any other dance shoes. The programme will also focus on the importance of young people understanding choreographic process, industry professionals’ experiences of working with young people and the greatest methods of how to support and ensure the stable futures of young people and their choreographies. So many dance courses in the twenty-first century now offer a choreography-heavy strand within their modules, with many choreographic platforms and graduate companies or apprenticeships also emerging.
Speakers at Dance In The Making, in partnership with The Place, will include young professional choreographers such as James Cousins, who has launched a successful choreographic career through graduate transition companies, professional companies such as Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, and is now creating his own company. Other guest speakers include professional choreographers who work with young people, such as Kerry Nicholls and Katie Green, and an international perspective is added through their French colleagues Brigitte Hyon and Agnes Bretel from the Centre National de la Danse.
The £35 day ticket includes a ticket to one of U.Dance 2012’s high-profile evening performances in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.
In 1972 choreographer Bonnie Bird created the first generation of the Transitions Dance Company, the first course of its type in the UK to bridge the gap between studying dance and the professional world. With many dance schools and conservatoires surfacing throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, observations are often made about the number of graduate dance students attempting to find work in the professional sector of the arts as a whole. However, Transitions – amongst other “bridging” companies such as the London Contemporary Dance School’s EDge – provides aspiring young performers with the opportunity to break into the work-success cycle of the dance world.
40 years, 250 students, and 100s of guest choreographers later, the latest incarnation of Transitions will return to the Laban Theatre on 7th-9th June 2012 with a special anniversary performance which is set to celebrate the inspiring work of the company for individuals embarking on the first stages of their careers. A far cry from the newly worked pointe shoes of ballet academies or New Yorkers of musical theatre conservatoires, Transitions is renowned for the bare footed, leotard-clad approach, showcasing the future stars of contemporary dance.
Eleven of the best young dancers from across the world will perform a mixed bill of choreography as part of the anniversary performance by three international artists. One, Hubert Essakow, has worked in German Tanztheater, another, Martin Nachbar, who is an ex-soloist from The Royal Ballet and the last, Shang Chi Sun, is a choreographer whose work The Others had a successful debut with last year’s company. The dancers of the company have a solid reputation of individuality and passionate enthusiasm, transforming the Transitions tour into an unmissable event.
To mark the momentous occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Royal Ballet School’s White Lodge Museum is presenting a programme of public events to celebrate the rich heritage of the tutus and tiaras of the prestigious White Lodge alumni, which has been the home of the Royal Ballet School since 1995.
The events will include Let Everyone Sing and Dance, a concert of 18th century ballet music by composers such as Bach and Handel, due to be held in the Salon at White Lodge on 3rd May. A far cry from the practice tights and regulation leotards that usually populate White Lodge, this very special celebration is to marry the arts in a unique and utterly memorable event in extra-special surroundings. An evening of illustrated talks entitled Adorning nature: beauty and utility in Humphry Repton’s garden for White Lodge is also to be included on 7th June, adding to the variety of interests celebrated over the period. With so many varied yet thematically simultaneous events, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at White Lodge appear to be the epitome of the English population, and indeed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
9th June will see in a Diamond Jubilee Open Day where members of the public are invited to visit White Lodge to enjoy a mixture of royal-theme activities, whilst residing in such an artistic and equally aesthetic environment. The day includes a guided tour of the premises and the chance to take part in historical dance workshops in the garden. Whilst visitors may not be the next Darcey Bussell wielding their pointe shoes and new toe pads, the event is set to be fun-filled and glorious.
Image courtesy of sela-v at Flickr.