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.

ISTD Faculty Changes Name

ISTD Logo

The South Asian Dance Faculty of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) has announced that it has officially changed its name to the Classical Indian Dance Faculty to more accurately reflect what it represents.

The change of name aims to reflect and acknowledge the preeminence of the generic name by which Bharatanatyam and Kathak – the two dance forms in which the ISTD offers examinations through the Faculty – are known widely in the UK, across the world and in India, the country of their origin. Following a research project and proposal from Akademi, South Asian Dance in the UK, at the time a new ISTD Faculty, was set up in 1999 to examine in Bharatanatyam and Kathak.

Professor Christopher Bannerman, ISTD Chairman, said, “It is a great pleasure to learn of the new name of the Classical Indian Dance Faculty of the ISTD. This work has enhanced and broadened the ISTD portfolio and we look forward to a bright future for the Faculty and its students.”

The announcement of the name change was greeted with applause at Misrana 2012, the Faculty’s increasingly popular classical Indian dance showcase, which was held on Sunday 4 November at the Lowry, Salford Quays.

As far as classical Indian dance is concerned, for around two decades the term ‘South Asian’ has been largely an official term and it is not much used where the dancing foot actually meets the dance floor in a class or rehearsal studio. In the 1990s, when the ISTD’s South Asian Faculty was initially created, it was used to talk about a group of dance forms and be inclusive of its practitioners who came from India, as well as other countries across South Asia.

The new name of the Faculty will also serve to include the future development of syllabi for examinations in other classical Indian dance forms, such as Odissi and Kuchipudi, which are rapidly gaining ground in Britain.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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.

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.

 

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!