Dance Workshops For Parkinson’s Sufferers

Mark Morris Dance Group LogoThe Mark Morris Dance Group has been holding specific dance workshops for students & Parkinson’s sufferers, namely the company’s Dance for PD (Parkinson’s Disease) programme. Through this community-lead strand, and much like Rambert’s and English National Ballet’s similar work, the companies provide refuge and enjoyment for the sufferers through dance.

Much research has shown that dance can hugely improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s Disease, with many rehabilitation programmes focusing on movement and the use of the body to improve experiences whilst suffering with the disease. In particular for 2015, the Mark Morris Dance Group will be bringing its Dance for PD programme to the Sydney Opera House in June, alongside the company’s performance programme for the iconic venue.

For people with Parkinson’s and their carers, a free community dance class lead by dancers from the Mark Morris Dance Group will be held in June, alongside the Australian-based dancer Erica-Rose Jeffery who is the Dance For Parkinson’s Australia programme co-ordinator. Providing improved experiences for the sufferers is paramount to this work, and being able to engage simultaneously with the Mark Morris Dance Group will enhance the experience, much like the ethos of the aforementioned UK programmes.

For dance teachers, there will be a two-day introductory teachers’ training workshop held during June too, aiming to assist in growing the network of teachers qualified to lead dance classes for those with Parkinson’s Disease. The Mark Morris Dance Group will also hold two education workshops for school students, including a dance class for students with physical and intellectual disabilities, and a masterclass for more talented dance school students. The company’s visit to Australia, therefore, seems to be a wholly fulfilling venture, and is not one to be missed.

Australian Dance Theatre Celebrates 50 Years

Australian Dance TheatreIn 2015, Australia’s oldest contemporary dance company, Australian Dance Theatre, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. This huge milestone is a fantastic achievement, with the company surviving many decades of different arts views. To commemorate the milestone, Australian Dance Theatre will present a “50th Anniversary Gala” at the Dunstan Playhouse down under in July: through the gala the company will pay tribute to its history, which is both vast and varied. The celebrations will honour its current and former artistic directors, and will also present a new work created by Garry Stewart, co-choreographed with former dancer, Larissa McGowan.

In it’s 50th anniversary year, Australian Dance Theatre will also tour nationally and internationally. Garry Stewart’s work Be Yourself will be presented in three parts of Australia, including New South Wales. In addition, his dance film Collision Course will be presented in Melbourne’s Federation Square in February as part of the Recharge: Experimental Biennial of Media Art. Two European tours of the company’s newest work – Multiverse – will take place in March and June, taken to French and Spanish theatres, including the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris. Australian Dance Theatre will also tour to South America, which is a first for the company and a new market to play to.

Other 50th anniversary celebratory events for Australian Dance Theatre include a Founders’ Celebration held in the Adelaide Arcade which was the first home of the dance company, a commemorative book which will be launched in November and involvement with the 2015 Australian Dance Awards which will be held in Adelaide in September.

For more information about Australian Dance Theatre’s plans for 2015, including the above performances, education activities and events, and research projects, visit the company’s website.

Akram Khan Company To Hit Australia!

Akram Khan

This summer will see a continuation of celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the notorious The Rite of Spring by the Akram Khan Dance Company taking Khan’s iTMOi (in the mind of Igor [Stravinksy, the composer]) to Australia and presenting it at the Sydney Opera House in August and September 2013. This production will visit the city direct form its world premiere at the Maison de la Culture in Grenoble and a season at Sadlers Wells, London. This is incredibly exciting news for contemporary dance fans in the southern hemisphere!

iTMOi was choreographed by Khan to mark the 100th year since the provocative premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in Paris, in which it evoked rioting and disorder. As a result, iTMOi aims to capture the chaotic energy of the original work, taking its vibrant spirit as the starting point for the new work and creating something organic.

Khan is renowned for his artistic collaborations and for this production he has worked with composers Nitin Sawhney, Ben Frost and Jocelyn Pook to develop a brand new score, inspired by Stravinsky’s work. Khan stated that he was ultimately interested in the dynamics of how Stravinsky transformed the classical world of music by evoking emotions through patterns, rather than through musical expression, which audiences could argue is none existent in the groundbreaking work. The patterns of the music are rooted in the concept of a woman, the ‘chosen one’ dancing herself to death as sacrifice, which forms the main part of Khan’s inspiration in reinvestigating the work. Khan also aimed to explore the human condition, not just the patterns, to remind audiences of the essences of the mind and imagination, which are wild and self-generating.

Images courtesy of Andy Miah at Flickr.