The Next Speaker in the YPIA Lecture Series

Akram Khan

Young People in the Arts has announced that the next speaker in its YPIA lecture series in association with the Southbank Centre is dancer-choreographer Akram Khan. Founded in 2008, YPIA is a social network for arts professionals at the outset of their careers, running a monthly programme of talks, debates and professional development opportunities, including the chance to network with others who work in the arts.

As one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists, Khan has created work that has significantly contributed to the arts sector in just over a decade. As a dancer with his roots based firmly in the South-East Asian style of Kathak, Khan’s most recent success was at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Khan’s reputation has been built on years of success and dedication, delivering highly accessible productions such as DESH, Vertical Road and zero degrees to audiences all over the world, of many other cultures and artistic disciplines. Previous collaborators of Khan’s include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographer/dancer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, singer Kylie Minogue, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composer Steve Reich. His work in zero degrees even forms part of the UK dance curriculum today, with the duet becoming an awe-inspiring and extremely moving piece of work.

Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Laurence Olivier Award, the prestigious ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Distinguished Artist Award, the South Bank Sky Arts Award and the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award. Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005 and is also an Honorary Graduate of Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban.

Images courtesy of Andy Miah at Flickr.

Opportunities at East London Dance

East London DanceThe New Year inevitably brings new resolutions, and if one yours is to “expand your experiences” then look no further! There is a wealth of opportunities in the dance and theatre sector for young people and here a just a selection of what you could be getting your hands on in 2013 for dance…

East London Dance is well-known for providing opportunities for young people. Whether you want to perform at an East London Dance event, audition to be part of one of ELD’s companies, or apply for a professional development opportunity, you can! Let your potential shine with one of these great projects.

Calling all choreographers to Blueprint! Blueprint consolidates the latest trends, freshest moves and a range of styles from young upcoming choreographers in one bursary, with the best competing for the top spot in March 2013. You must be 16-25 years and live in London, and the work should be created already or in development. ELD will be working with a youth panel to select the work presented as part of Blueprint through application and audition.

Street Stories: Dance Collaborations is calling all choreographers, composers, directors, visual artists, film makers, designers and artists from a range of backgrounds aged 18-25 looking for professional and artistic development through collaboration. Experimentation and the development of new relationships with other artists are on offer, an artistic development programme run with the Royal Opera House.

Tailor Made Dance, a third project, focuses on bespoke dance programming: if you are organising an event, putting on a festival or launching your brand and would like to present some high quality dance, East London Dance can design a tailor made programme to suit your needs and requirements.  Information about your event and short brief of what you are looking for, including your budget, is all you need to get started.

Grab your kit bag and get applying!

Scholarships for Italia Conti

Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts

As recently seen in accordance with the Sylvia Young Theatre School, The Stage newspaper is collaborating with stage school Italia Conti in order to award a scholarship value of up to £75,000. The total scholarship fund could be awarded to either one high-kicking, toe-tapping student or two, depended on the candidates who impress the audition panel. The scholarship will cover the winner’s secondary education training fees until the end of Year 11.

Italia Conti is the UK’s oldest theatre training school. The school emerged from the production of Where The Rainbow Ends at the Savoy Theatre in 1911, when the actress Italia Conti was asked to manage and teach the children in the play. Following this, Conti turned her attention fully to teaching and soon after, the Italia Conti School was born, and now covers three sites in London. The winner/s of the scholarship will be based at the theatre school which is at Italia Conti House, a building near the Barbican.

The Italia Conti school prides itself on building students’ confidence, providing excellent academic and vocational training for all those who don their ballet shoes, jazz pants and tap shoes. The school maintains that academic education is almost as important as the vocational training offered, and the breadth of training supports this entirely. Whilst based on tradition, heritage and history, the school’s experience in the field also lends itself to moving with the times and the ever-changing performing arts sector, for example by installing a recording studio and offering video classes.

As a result, the scholarship will provide aspiring performers with the opportunity to build a firm foundation of art through their training in order to secure a future career without the limitations of expense and training fees, meaning Italia Conti won’t lose any young performer who would be capable of carving out a career in the industry.

Judges Announced for ENB’s Emerging Dancer

ENB Emerging Dancer Competition 2013

The judging panel of English National Ballet’s prestigious Emerging Dancer Competition 2013 has been announced, as the annual event moves into its fourth year within the classical ballet diary.

Judging the developing yet hugely accomplished six dancers of the Company will be Darcey Bussell CBE, new President of the Royal Academy of Dance and Strictly Come Dancing judge, Tommy Franzén, runner-up of BBC1’s So You Think You Can Dance and choreographer of ZooNation’s Some like it Hip Hop, Luke Jennings, Author and Dance Critic at The Observer newspaper, Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre and Tamara Rojo, newly appointed Artistic Director of English National Ballet.

The Emerging Dancer competition, taking place on 4 March 2013 at the intimate venue of the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, allows ENB to publicly recognise and praise its upcoming talent, nurturing and encouraging excellence within the Company’s ranks. Last year’s winner was the nephew of renowned Royal Ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, Yonah Acosta, who has since achieved more success throughout 2012, most recently in the Company’s production of The Nutcracker. The young, talented nominees receive the opportunity to perform in an exciting live final with two solos in front of this eminent panel of expert judges. The winner is announced at the end of the evening along with the recipient of The People’s Choice Award, which is voted for by members of the public, closing on 9 February 2013.

Competing in The Emerging Dancer’s Competition for the top spot will be Alison McWhinney, Guilherme Menezes, Nancy Osbaldeston, Ken Saruhashi, Laurretta Summerscales and Nathan Young.

Image courtesy of ENB.

Big Dance 2012 Volunteers Honoured in the Diamond Jubilee Awards

Big Dance 2012

Hundreds of people who volunteered their services for Big Dance earlier in 2012, one of the highlights of the London 2012 Festival, have been honoured through The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012, acknowledging their fantastic efforts throughout the summer. 60 awards selected by Her Majesty The Queen were announced, with a formal event to be held at Buckingham Palace in spring 2013.

Big Dance held over 3,500 events across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, reaching approximately four million people, and encouraging dancers and non-dancers alike up and down Great Britain to don their dancing shoes and get involved with such an enormous event. Big Dance included television programmes, performances and events in the streets and public spaces, in theatres and schools, and in the heart of communities across the UK.

Some of the UK’s leading choreographers and dance artists created work for Big Dance, including Wayne McGregor CBE, who created an Olympic-inspired dance routine aimed at schools and performed by thousands of children and young people around the world. In light of the recent parliamentary discussions surrounding the place of dance in the curriculum, this is clear evidence of the encompassing nature of dance and what it is able to produce.

The Big Dance 2012 volunteers were essential in producing a successful and uplifting experience for all involved, in helping to run events, organising publicity, providing transport, making costumes, and all of the other things needed to complete large-scale community events, especially as part of such a huge scheme. People of all ages and backgrounds volunteered, with organisers receiving overwhelming responses of enthusiasm and positive interest. Many have developed skills as a result of the summer of 2012, such as those in event management, marketing, and administration, having been great ambassadors for dance and community celebrations.

Rambert Dance Company in 2013

Rambert Dance Company Logo

2013 will mark much shift in the dynamics of Britain’s oldest dance company, Rambert, seeing them move their headquarters to the Southbank, first and foremost. Construction is now well under way and the Company recently celebrated the building’s ‘Topping Out’, when the highest part of the structure was put in place.  The facility will not only enhance the work seen by audiences on stage but will offer unique opportunities for choreographic and music development, and double the reach of the Company’s learning and participation work, good news for both those donning leotards and those who would rather remain in the auditorium.

Before this move, however, 2013 looks extremely busy for the dancers. The Labyrinth of Love tour will continue, spanning the full length of the country from Inverness to Truro, reflecting bitterness, ecstasy, irony, despair, hope, sadness and humour. Having already been welcomed with open arms earlier in 2012 by Sadler’s Wells, Labryinth is set to a commissioned score by one of America’s most performed composers, Grammy Award-winning Michael Daugherty, and accompanied live on stage by a soprano. The programme will also include works by esteemed choreographers Richard Alston, Mark Baldwin, Merce Cunningham, Javier De Frutos, Itzik Galili, Tim Rushton and Paul Taylor.

As ever, Rambert will remain committed to developing new choreographic talent, with the creation of new work the lifeblood of the Company. April will see a 3-day residential masterclass for emerging choreographers and composers, led by renowned American choreographer, Mark Morris and composer/former Musical Director for Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG), Ethan Iverson, in consultation with Rambert’s Artistic Director, Mark Baldwin, and Music Director, Paul Hoskins. Mark Morris is one of the world’s leading choreographers, and the Mark Morris Dance Group shares Rambert’s commitment to commissioning and performing live music, which makes them ideal collaborators for this project. The Season of new choreography will return to the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre in May, drawing from Rambert’s in-house development programme. Designed to nurture new talent from within its ranks, the evening will feature new works from four Rambert dancers; Miguel Altunaga, Kirill Burlov, Dane Hurst and Patricia Okenwa.

Finally, in June, Rambert will host a fundraising gala, celebrating the life of Britain’s most significant and longstanding contemporary dance company as it enters an exciting new phase. Guests will enjoy an evening featuring an exclusive performance by the Company.

Choreographer Trisha Brown Sets Final Works

Trisha Brown Dance Company

The Trisha Brown Dance Company of New York have announced that two new dances by choreographer Brown are to be performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in January, and will be the final works of her career. Brown, as a pioneer in developing the modern dance era is aged 76. The last time Brown performed with the company was in 2008 at the Joyce Theatre, NYC, and has remained in her role as the company’s Artistic Director since, despite not taking to the stage in full costume in recent years.

Brown founded the company in SoHo in 1970 and went on to choreograph more than 100 dances and win a number of prestigious awards. These included the National Medal of Arts and 1991 marked Brown as the first female choreographer to win a MacArthur “genius” grant. Brown was active in instating the Judson Dance Theatre era in the 1960s and developing what was known as post-modern dance to the twentieth-century eye, the focus of dance no longer on narrative or emotive works.

The two new dances to be performed, both created in 2011, will have their New York premiere as part of Brown’s coming season at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I’m going to toss my arms — if you catch them they’re yours is to be a collaboration with the composer Alvin Curran (who will perform live) and the artist Burt Barr. Les Yeux et l’ame will be a set of interconnected dances adapted from Brown’s version of the Baroque opera Pygmalion, which was first performed in 2010.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music programme will also include older works from Brown’s repertoire, including a recent reconstruction of Newark (1987) and the statement work Set and Reset, a 1983 collaboration with Laurie Anderson and Robert Rauschenberg that celebrates the 30th anniversary of its own premiere at the academy.

Richard Alston Dance Company Spring Tour

Richard Alston Dance Company

Richard Alston Dance Company has recently announced its spring tour for 2013, providing audiences all over the UK with the chance to see an inspirational company take to the stage and feed the artistic hungers of the audience. The tour will takes the company’s 10 dancers to 17 theatres around the UK for 26 performances featuring 6 repertoire pieces and 1 world premiere.

The tour will open in London at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 9 February 2013 with the world premiere of Richard Alston’s Buzzing Round the Hunnisuccle. This brand new commission from the San Francisco based Columbia Foundation continues Alston’s long-held fascination with the music of Japanese composer Jo Kondo. The evening will also contain the newly revived and revised The Devil in the Detail, a joyous and effervescent dance to Scott Joplin’s rags.

Later in the tour, the programme will include Shimmer, one of Alston’s best loved masterpieces, to the evocative music of Ravel, with delicate crystal-encrusted cobweb costumes by fashion designer Julien Macdonald. Roughcut will also be danced to Steve Reich’s New York and Electric Counterpoints, a euphoric display of pure energy, and Unfinished Business, choreographed to the beautiful, lucid and flowing K533, by Mozart. The spring repertoire will be completed by a revival of Lachrymae, set to the compassionate and tender music of Benjamin Britten, a piece originally commissioned in 1994 by The Aldeburgh Festival. This intense piece spins emotional variations on a gentle song by John Dowland which is quiet but deeply moving.

The spring season will culminate in a special event at the Barbican on 29 May as part of the season Dancing Around Duchamp.  Richard Alston Dance Company will perform a one-off event, with choreography by Merce Cunningham, one of the true visionaries of modern dance, especially meaningful for Alston himself who studied with Cunningham from 1975 to 1977.

The h.Club 100 winners!

Hospital Club

Earlier this year the Hospital Club and popular magazine Time Out devised the h.Club 100, a search for the most original and influential people in the UK creative and media industries. Having counted all the votes up the results are available to view, and below is a snapshot of the performance and theatre winners, the talent that is shaping the future after an incredible year for the arts in the UK.

Wayne McGregor – Choreographer, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Royal Ballet

In the last 12 months Wayne McGregor | Random Dance has toured, presented participatory performances, including Big Dance Trafalgar Square 2012, and worked on collaborations such as Rain Room at the Barbican Centre. McGregor advocated that during the London hype of the Olympics, new work and visiting international productions was on the top of his list of priorities as part of that spectacular event. He then felt motivated to be more risk-taking, daring and adventurous to test the unusual and challenging, with London’s richly diverse audiences and participants.

Tim Minchin – Performer

Over the last year Minchin has become the ‘darling’ of the West End, as the co-writer of Olivier Award-winning hit Matilda the Musical and after a critically acclaimed portrayal of Judas in the summer 2012 UK tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. Minchin seems set to continue this journey of success into 2013, taking the theatre world by storm.

Sheridan Smith – Actor

Having already starred in a variety of productions such as The Royale Family and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Smith has since won two Olivier Awards in two consecutive years for her roles in Legally Blonde and Flare Path. Her triumph in Hedda Gabler suggests that a serious star is born – watch this space!

Image courtesy of The Hospital Club.

National Youth Dance Company

National Youth Dance Company

Sadler’s Wells has been announced as the host organisation for the new National Youth Dance Company, an exciting new company aiming to create and perform innovative and influential youth dance. The NYDC hopes to draw together some of the brightest young talent from across the country to work with the internationally renowned Associate Artists of Sadler’s Wells, so pull on your leotard and get moving!

February 2013 will see the NYDC meet during school holidays at Sadler’s Wells and other regional venues in order to participate in four intensive weeks of training per year. The company will give its young members the opportunity to work with a range of inspirational teachers and choreographers, to learn, create and perform original work, drawing on a number of dance techniques including contemporary, hip hop, ballet and south Asian dance. What a fantastic opportunity to engage and get involved in a potential career starter.

As a result, the NYDC is seeking dancers aged 16-18 who are passionate about dance, who come from diverse backgrounds with experience in any dance style, and who simply love to perform. Be it in leg warmers and jazz pants, or pointe shoes and pink ballet tights, the NYDC wants to hear from you! As a member of the NYDC, young dancers will have the chance to work with 2013’s guest Artistic Director Jasmin Vardimon, a choreographer at the forefront of today’s dance scene. Members will also have the opportunity to perform in world class venues, learn different dance styles, take part in intensive rehearsals, collaborate with professional choreographers and companies and find out about career pathways and different opportunities.

NYDC experience workshops have also been announced, preceding the 2013 residencies and performances.

NYDC Experience Workshops
25 November Ipswich, DanceEast
2 December London, Sadler’s Wells
15 Swindon Dance
6 January Salford, The Lowry
19 Leeds, Yorkshire Dance
20 Newcastle, Dance City
26 Leicester, Curve Theatre
27 Kent, The Jasmin Vardimon   Production Space
2 February Birmingham Royal Ballet Studios
9 London, Sadler’s Wells
10 (Final selection) London, Sadler’s Wells
NYDC 2013 Residencies
1-12 April The Jasmin Vardimon Production   Space
26 May-2 June London, Sadler’s Wells
NYDC Performances
8 June London, Sadler’s Wells
28/29 London, Sadler’s Wells
30 Kent, The Jasmin Vardimon   Production Space
20 July Leeds, U.Dance 2013
21 Salford, The Lowry
27/28 Bristol

Image courtesy of NYCD.