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!

 

Liam Scarlett: The Royal Ballet’s First Artist in Residence

Liam Scarlett

Liam Scarlett, a First Artist of The Royal Ballet, has been appointed the first ever Royal Ballet Artist in Residence, allowing him to focus solely on his choreographic work. Scarlett will take up the position with immediate effect and make his last appearances with the Company as a dancer in the current run of Swan Lake, donning his ballet tights and tunic for the last time.

Scarlett’s latest work Viscera has since received its UK premiere at the Royal Opera House as part of a Mixed programme also featuring Wayne McGregor’s Infra and Christopher Wheeldon’s Fool’s Paradise, with past works including Sweet Violets, Asphodel Meadows and Diana & Actaeon from Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 earlier this year.

Over its expansive history, The Royal Ballet has been very lucky to receive generous support for new choreography, most recently through the New Ballet Works syndicate, launched in September and a scheme which will also work to support three new works being created by Scarlett, McGregor and Wheeldon. Donations received so far have raised over £450,000, which goes an extremely long way in enabling the extensive time and resources required when creating new choreography, especially for those as exciting as Scarlett’s.

His performance and choreographic talents have developed both on and off stage since Scarlett’s time at the Royal Ballet School and Company over the past sixteen years and subsequently as a member of the Company with previous Artistic Director Monica Mason’s encouragement. Now Scarlett has even more opportunity to concentrate full time on his choreographic work under new Director Kevin O’Hare and embark on some intriguing new projects in the future.

Image courtesy of ROH at Flickr.

The Next Step Into Dance Courses

Step Into Dance LogoStep into Dance, the partnership between the Royal Academy of Dance and The Jack Petchey Foundation has revealed its next set of teacher training courses for budding teachers eager to build on their existing jazz pant range and step out in their urban dancewear. The Step into Dance programme is running a number of different courses, all of which are suitable for dance teachers, Special Educational Needs professionals, arts practitioners, support and youth workers and PE teachers.

The first, an Introduction to Inclusive Dance Practice, is a practical day full of ideas and advice for leading and assisting inclusive dance in school and community settings on Monday 7 January 2013 at the RAD Headquarters. A course of this type provides teachers with a wealth of dance knowledge, be they from ballet, tap or jazz shoe discipline.

Next up, an Inclusive Dance Course is four practical days full of ideas and advice for leading and assisting inclusive dance in school and community settings on numerous dates: 18 November will incorporate teaching technique and differentiation, 20 January 2013 for developing groups as young leaders, working with support staff and safe practice, 10 March 2013 for groups with specific needs and 16 June 2013 as an inclusive session with young people, developing the group as dance-makers.  The dates can be completed individually or as a block of four.

In addition to the above is a one day course entitled ‘Banish the fear! Unravelling the choreographic process’ on 18 November as a teacher training course to help teachers get to grips with choreography, top up their knowledge and gain fresh ideas for the year ahead in areas such as choosing music, choreographic tasks, developing structures and creating pieces. Another course available is ‘Street Dance – get your head around the styles’ as a one day intensive workshop that will take teachers through the world of street dance in breaking down common misconceptions, the history and context of each style, foundation techniques and future training opportunities.

Image courtesy of Step into Dance.