Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
It seems quite well-known in Barcelona, as it is resident in one of the city's cool theatres, the Sant Andreu Teatre.
"Futil is a beautiful yet haunting duet following a couple and the history of their increasingly polarised relation. Beginning with the end, the piece starts with their separation and rewinds to the initial moment of meeting" - sounds interesting. I like the way he falls on the floor at the end of the video.
More info here.
Monday, January 26, 2009
De Valois award for outstanding achievement in dance
Richard Alston – artistic director, Richard Alston Dance Company
(happy about that one, I really enjoyed his last pieces Shuffle It Right and Blow Over. He always picks really good scores for his dance works)
Dancing Times award for best male dancer
Edward Watson – Royal Ballet
Richard Sherrington award for best female dancer
Agnes Oaks – English National Ballet (she is retiring this year)
Dance Europe award for outstanding company
English National Ballet
Best classical choreography
Christopher Wheeldon for Electric Counterpoint - Royal Ballet
Best modern choreography
Hofesh Shechter for In Your Rooms
Northern Ballet Theatre – received by NBT artistic director, David Nixon, from NDA patron, Beryl Grey
Artsworld Presentations award for best foreign dance company
New York City Ballet
Spotlight award: classical male
Martin Harvey – Royal Ballet
Spotlight award: classical female
Yuhui Choe – Royal Ballet
Spotlight award: modern male
Anh Ngoc Nguyen – Wayne McGregor / Random Dance
Spotlight award: modern female
Kate Coyne – Michael Clark Company and freelance
Working Title Billy Elliot award
Dance UK industry award
Janet Smith – Scottish Dance Theatre
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday 31 January, 4.30pm
Adam Linder - he is the 2008 Place Prize winner. I like his videos but I've never seen him live, I am looking forward to it. Apparently he will dance to Ravel's Bolero.
Blanca Arrieta - all the way from Bilbao, Spain.
Frederick Opoku-Addaie and Jorege Crecis - their piece is called Bf Starter.
Sunday 1 February, 4.30pm
Laila Diallo - ex-Random Dance, performing a piece called The Wayside. I am quite interested in seeing that one as it is set to a song I really like Pa' llegar a tu lado.
Cameron McMillan - the ex-Rambert Dance Company dancer presents a duet with Amy Hollingsworth.
Ben Wright - a performance by two dancers from his company, bgroup. Ben Wright is the guy who created the role of the Prince in Matthew Bourne's famous all-male Swan Lake, back in 1995.
Plus it's free, and you can have a drink while you watch - pretty cool prospect.
Hopefully I can take some pics and let you know what it was like.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
- Cast: all good from everyone. Good acting, good voices, good presence. Many are doing their professional debut in this production. Very fresh.
- Staging: very cool. Lighbulbs hang from the ceiling, neons in the theatre, back wall covered in paintings, images, a blackboard listing the songs, more neons and lights, some objects related to the story etc... There are seats for the audience on either side of the stage, where the actors also sit sometimes, and a small band at the back (piano, guitar, fiddle, drums and more). Actors help with the running of the show, moving microphones about, taking the lights down etc, giving a special feel to the proceedings.
- Songs: pretty good. I wasn't sure about the idea of pop-rock tunes for something based on a 1900s play, but it did work. Being a teenager then was worse than it is now, but the angst and the fear and the weight of adults' expectations on your shoulder remain. Mama and Spring/Summer are particular favourites of mine.
- I enjoyed the story and realised it was darker than I expected. Abuse, violence, suicide, teenage pregnancy... it's all in there.
- The one thing I didn't like was the way the gay relationship between two of the boys was treated as comic relief for act 2. I doubt that at a such a religious time, in small-town Germany, two boys realising they loved each other would be so comfortable with it. Why did the audience laugh? Embarassment, probably (as in many other moments of the piece) and because one of the boys suddenly developed cliched manoeurisms (nowhere to be seen beforehand) and we had jokes about licking the cream. Why present it that way? Their future is probably no brighter than that of the 3 main characters...
Anyway this is a small thing...
Overall, this is a very good show and production. The message I got from this was that thank god I am living in 2009, in a (relatively) tolerant society that allows you to be who you want to be and where social norms are not as suffocating as in the past. However, growing up remains tough!
Review update (4 Feb)
The Guardian - 3 stars
The Telegraph - 5 stars
The Times - 5 stars
The Stage - positive review
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Falling in Space from Dan Farberoff on Vimeo.
Director: Dan Farberoff
Composer: Errollyn Wallen
Choreographer: Henri Oguike
Words by NASA astronaut Steve MacLean
The full length film is part of the Henri Oguike Dance Company 10th Anniversary show touring the UK now.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The Times Breakthrough Award went to dancer Aaron Sillis, who played Basil Hallward in Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray. It is great news that an award voted for by the general public went to a dancer. Bits about him in today's Times: "Born in Norwich, Sillis got his break when he was spotted in a local panto at the age of 12. He trained at Bird College of Musical Theatre, in London, and has since worked with Take That, Mariah Carey and Leona Lewis. He has choreographed Kylie, stalked the catwalk for Versace and played a schoolboy in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
Monday, January 19, 2009
Nominees include Christopher Wheeldon, Eric Underwood, English National Ballet, Edward Watson and more.
Full list on their website. Results on 26 January.
Friday, January 16, 2009
This is London's version of New York City Center's Fall For Dance festival. Two nights of mixed dance styles, cheap tickets (£10, or £5 standing) - ideal for a taster. Most of the companies performing will be back at Sadler's Wells later in the season, so it's also a great marketing tool for them!
The line-up looks good to me (as per SW's website):
American Ballet Theatre - White Swan Pas de Deux performed by Veronica Part and David Hallberg.
Flying Steps - World-beating virtuoso hip hop styles from Germany.
Jasmin Vardimon (Sunday only) - Intensely physical dance-theatre in an extract from Vardimon's Yesterday.
Matthew Bourne's New Adventures -Enjoy the Swan and Prince Duet from Act Two of Swan Lake.
Rojas & Rodriguez - The stars of Nuevo Ballet Espanol bring some authentic flamenco flavour.
Russell Maliphant - Former Royal Ballet dancer Dana Fouras performs Maliphant's sublime Two.
Traces (Saturday only)- Experience circus as you've never seen it before.
Monday, January 12, 2009
This video is from Forsythe's CD-Rom Improvisation Technologies: A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye. The CD-Rom contains 60 video chapters in which Forsythe explains his movement language.
I love how things appear to help see what Forsythe wanted. The videos were made in 1994 - imagine what we could do now that film technology has progressed so much.
Out of print at Amazon. You can view them all here.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
It talks about the theatre's successful programming and marketing strategy, that resulted in the organisation only relying on public funds for 13% of its budget.
The journalist goes even as far as saying that Sadler's "may well be the most important dance house in the world", which is quite exciting to hear as it's in the town I live in!
Friday, January 09, 2009
How is choreography recorded?
By Sean Rocha
Updated Friday, March 5, 2004, at 10:55 AM ET
(…) Before the advent of visual technologies like video and film, dance was almost impossible to record. Music has scores and plays have scripts, but dance has always defied attempts to create a written system of symbolic representation. Obviously, it is difficult to use two-dimensional figures to indicate movements through time and space (although two 20th-century notation systems, Labanotation and Benesh, have achieved modest success). But for the most part, the adoption of a written system has been constrained by the dance community's reliance on its oral tradition.
The history of Western classical dance begins with the founding of the first dancing academy by Louis XIV in 1661. From there, the fundamentals of ballet technique were built up over centuries and passed down through schools rather than by a literature of dance. Teachers trained students who, in turn, grew up to become dance teachers. Since ballet requires strict body control and clearly defined positions, these generations of teachers were able to develop a working vocabulary—for all those port de bras and pliés that still torment young students—that could be universally understood by practitioners. This language, codified by Jean-Georges Noverre in the 18th century, created a way to talk about the mechanics of dance, but the art of it was still recorded primarily in the memories of the performers and their audience.
It is the choreographer—part creator, part teacher—who represents the human link to the works and traditions of the past and it is he who shapes, through instruction, the dancers of the future. (…) Even today, despite the advent of video, a choreographer without disciples is in constant danger of having his work fade away after his death. Video can capture the external form and movement, and notation the positions, but the philosophy and technique of the great choreographers is impossible to get down. That is why so many of the giants of modern dance choreography—Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham—founded their own companies. It also explains why fierce battles can break out among students about how best to carry on the master's legacy—the schisms resemble those that beset religious groups. The students may be disputing aspects of technique or interpretation, but what they're really arguing about is the memory of a dance performance they saw long ago.
Full article here.
More info on dance notation from the US Dance Notation Bureau website. You can also find an introduction to Labanotation here.
11/11/09 - Update: an article on how choreography is preserved in the New York Times, taking Merce Cunningham as an example. Really interesting.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Reminded me of those two recent blog posts over at Article 19 from dancer Jack Webb.
'I've decided that I'm very bored of wanting things and thinking about it, so I'm just going to have them if I so wish. I'm talking about things in dance, for my work, my career, of course. Because I think we can have all we want and need, we just have to look for it and find a way to achieve it.'
Bring it on.
Once I find something I like, I tend to go a bit obsessive about it, so I have been researching stuff about Pontus Lidberg, the guy who choreographed and directed that dance film I really liked, The Rain.
Pontus hails from Sweden, where he trained at the Royal Swedish Ballet School. He has choreographed for the Norwegian National Ballet, Vietnam National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Stockholm 59° North (a company made of soloists from Royal Swedish Ballet) plus worked on dance films, like The Rain.
Last year, Pontus Lidberg also created a new work for Morphoses (Christopher Wheeldon's company - Wheeldon, the one we talked about in Strictly Bolshoi - isn't the world of dance small) which you can see bits of here, plus a video of Lidberg at work with Morphoses dancers here (very interesting) Just realise the piece was performed in London when the company came down last September - damn.
I really enjoy his movements, but also the sense that he knows what sort of music works when creating beautiful, emotive dance pieces.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
The revered Financial Times dance critic Clement Crisp is the first to write about it a very interesting article.
"The shock of Parade, of The Rite of Spring, of Afternoon of a Faun, of Les Noces, even of Apollo, still reverberates in performance. In 1909, his very first balletic year, he had commissioned Ravel to compose Daphnis and Chloé. Stravinsky came to public attention by way of the Ballets Russes. Debussy, de Falla, Prokofiev, Poulenc, Satie, Richard Strauss, Florent Schmidt, Milhaud, Constant Lambert, Auric, were to write scores. Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Pruna, Gris, de Chirico, Tchelichev, Larionov, Derain, Goncharova, were among his designers. The mind reels: we have no comparisons today.
The Diaghilev exhibitions and performances this year are a necessary celebration of one of the greatest artistic forces in the 20th century. They are also a reproach to today’s ballet with its play-safe timidities (“Oh good! It’s Swan Lake”) and its tunnel-visioned directors. Can a new Diaghilev emerge and fight the good fight as that great man once did, to galvanise the art of ballet for this century?"
Nominees for the Dance award are:
Akram Khan's Bahok (Liverpool Playhouse)
I am Falling (The Gate at Sadler’s Wells)
Wayne McGregor’s Infra (Royal Opera House)
Wayne McGregor and Random Dance's Entity (Sadler's Wells and national tour)
Will let you know who wins!
Sunday, January 04, 2009
It's full of people you might not have heard about (I certainly haven't) but, as The Place marketing department says, you might end up seeing tomorrow's big talents. Tickets are £12 or £15 'return' (ie you can come see another performance within six months for free)
Saturday, January 03, 2009
I think it will always be kind of hard for a programme like this to get an audience, but putting it on at 3.30pm on the 27th of December, right in the middle of the Christmas break, is probably not ideal. Maybe it is actually... lots of people who have eaten too much and can't move from their sofas...
If you forget the annoying presenter (drop the attitude, man!), there was some pretty good dance films to watch. My highlghts:
I really enjoyed Pontus Lidberg's The Rain - gorgeously filmed and choreographed, very lyrical (a trailer for this film is posted below)
DIY -from Singapore, it was the film that came closest to be a music video. Lots of cool shots and well-paced editing, with a great link between the movement and the music. Directed by a director well-known in his home country, Royston Tan. You can view DIY here (not amazing quality)
Falling - this is part of the 10th Anniversary tour of Henri Oguike Dance Company.
Full list of dance films shown:
Director: Royston Tan
The Rain (2 extracts)
Director/Choreographer: Pontus Lidberg
Lick Your Pavement
Directors: Will Davidson / Adam Linder
No Man's Land
Director: Alexandre Oktan
Choreographer: Peter Chin
Director: Stefan Georgiou
Director: Susanna Wallin
Director: Margaret Williams
Choreographer: Maria Munoz
Director/Choreographer: Daniel Belton
Director/Choreographer: Sergio Cruz
Director /Writer: Lisa May Thomas
Director/Choreographer: Isabel Rocamora
Director: Gina Czarnecki
Director/Choreographer: Robert Hylton
Director: Pete Gomes
Choregrapher: Eddie Kay /Imogen Knight
Director: Roman Kornienko/ Maria Sharafutdinova
Director: Dan Farberoff
Choreographer: Henri Oguike
Friday, January 02, 2009
It is available to watch online for a month. You can watch it here.
Even non-dance fans will find it interesting: it gives good insight into the creative process of a choreographer, and is also a bit dramatic (changes of opinions, unhappy dancers etc...) and quite humourous as well. The created piece, Misericordes, is shown at the end. This documentary won the 2008 International Emmy Award for Arts Programming (no less)
Not sure Christopher Wheeldon comes out very well in this but the piece is great so who cares. You can see bits of Misericordes here.