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Articles on this Page
- 10/11/18--08:59: _Chinese Rite of Spr...
- 10/24/18--06:17: _Manchester? No, Sor...
- 10/25/18--06:18: _Dance Touring Partn...
- 10/31/18--06:52: _Waiting for 2019
- 10/31/18--07:10: _Fleur Darkin to lea...
- 11/02/18--08:30: _UK Theatre Awards 2018
- 11/05/18--02:15: _Richard Alston Danc...
- 11/13/18--09:36: _Anywhere but here. ...
- 11/15/18--01:56: _2018 BroadwayWorld ...
- 11/27/18--09:10: _The 19th National D...
- 11/27/18--09:40: _The 19th National D...
- 11/30/18--05:23: _This philistine gov...
- 12/07/18--09:38: _2018 - Review of th...
- 10/24/18--06:17: Manchester? No, Sorry 2019
- 10/25/18--06:18: Dance Touring Partnership?
- 10/31/18--06:52: Waiting for 2019
- 10/31/18--07:10: Fleur Darkin to leave Scottish Dance Theatre
- 11/02/18--08:30: UK Theatre Awards 2018
- 11/05/18--02:15: Richard Alston Dance Company to close in 2020
- 11/13/18--09:36: Anywhere but here. Where is our HOME?
- 11/15/18--01:56: 2018 BroadwayWorld UK Awards
- 11/27/18--09:10: The 19th National Dance Awards Announcement of Nominations
- 11/30/18--05:23: This philistine government is betraying the arts [the Guardian]
- 12/07/18--09:38: 2018 - Review of the Year
- Grand Finale - Hofesh Shechter Company | HOME
- British Ballet Columbia aka Ballet BC | The Lowry (Lyric Theatre)
- Toro: Beauty and the Beast - DeNada Dance Theatre | The Lowry (Quays Theatre)
- Love Chapter 2 - L-E-V | Sadler's Wells
- OCD Love - L-E-V | KIngs Theatre, Edinburgh
- The Great Tamer - Dimitris Papaoiannou | Sadler's Wells
- The Silk Road | Jose Agudo/Mavin Khoo | The Lowry (Compass Room)
The Rite of Spring offers a new interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s iconic ballet, from China’s leading choreographer and dancer Yang Liping. Liping blends Chinese folk dance with contemporary choreography, and takes inspiration from Chinese symbols of nature. The piece uses Stravinsky’s original music and a specially created new score, inspired by traditional Chinese music.
The announcement was made during a visit to China by International Festival Managing Director Joanna Baker who met with officials from Yang Liping’s Peacock Dance Company and Shanghai International Arts Festival. The visit builds on previous commitments by the International Festival to collaborate with colleagues in China to bring leading Chinese artists and companies to Edinburgh.
This meeting coincided with a wider visit by led by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to promote the growing economic, cultural and educational links between Scotland and China. A short film introducing The Rite of Spring and its visit to Edinburgh also formed part of a Scotland Is Now reception in Shanghai, which celebrated contemporary Scotland as an innovative, creative and inclusive nation, and a vibrant place to live, work and visit.
The production of The Rite of Spring will be staged on 22-24 August 2019 as part of the International Festival. Tickets will go on sale in March next year along with the full 2019 International Festival programme.
My annual list of companies that miss Manchester (or Salford) from their touring. Just for information.
Rambert 2 are the new Rambert 'junior'company and have a very interesting programme for their first appearances: a new work by Benoit Swan Pouffer; a revival of a 2004 Place Prize-winner by Rafael Bonachela and Sharon Eyal's Killer Pig (which I am desperate to see). Current tour dates do not include Manchester.
Dance Touring Partnership - after deciding to tour a MUSICAL this autumn - have now dropped the word 'dance' entirely from their name and 'About' description - they are now simply DTP.
The poor grammar in the text below (my bold) may indicate the speed with which this has been done. They have yet to obtain a new web address however: http://www.dancetouringpartnership.co.uk/
DTP is a network of theatres working together to bring exciting and engaging productions and companies to audiences around the UK. The network aims to build and retain audiences by increasing the range and diversity of work available on the regional touring circuit and encourage attenders to try something new by presenting productions from across art form and by extending access to high quality UK and international artists and companies.From 27 April 2018
While many of the 20 shows they have previously toured might have been classed as dance, they have all had a strong sense of theatricality and storytelling. In autumn 2018, DTP will take a step up to widen its reach by touring 2b theatre company’s music theatre production, OLD STOCK: A Refugee Love Story...So what seemed like a blip now appears to be a decisive step to diversify from dance. Clearly this does not rule them out from supporting dance productions in the future but this seems a dark indicator of the state of touring dance in the country and just disappointing, as DTP generally supported medium-sized work as a nice compliment to Dance Consortium, who generally support larger-scale companies: although DTP also pulled out the big guns occasionally.
If Dance Consortium follow suit (and there is currently no suggestion that they will) you can pretty much say farewell to seeing much in the way of international dance outside London.
DTP have previously toured companies as diverse a Jasmin Vardimon, Hofesh Shechter, Fabulous Beast, Danish Dance Theatre, Ultima Vez and Australian Dance Theatre.
I am keeping an eye on a number of companies in the hope that Manchester (which often actually means Salford) will be included in their 2019 tour itineraries. This list will be updated as and when:
Ballet Boyz | Them / Us | 2019 Tour Dates announced soon
Phoenix Dance Theatre | Double Bill 2019 (The Rite of Spring & Troy Game) | Phoenix have a very TBC relationship with Manchester (usually popping up in Liverpool or Huddersfield instead). Also, The Rite of Spring is appearing as part of an Opera North double bill with Gianni Scicchi at The Lowry in March 2019 so I'm not holding out much hope.
James Wilton Dance | The Storm | Further tour dates for 2019 to be announced. James Wilton Dance have previously appeared at The Lowry and Contact.
Scottish Dance Theatre have announced the departure of Artistic Director and choreographer Fleur Darkin after six years to pursue new challenges.
In her time at SDT the company has grown creatively and commercially, creating 23 new works with a wide range of creative collaborators and growing revenue by 20%
Fleur Darkin to leave Scottish Dance Theatre after six years [Scottish Dance Theatre]
I have rather missed the nominations for the 2018 UK Theatre Awards, let alone the announcement of the winners on Sunday, 14 October.
These are the (rather odd, in my view) dance nominations:
Achievement in Dance
Ballet Black for Cathy Marston's THE SUIT, perfectly paired with Arthur Pita's A DREAM WITHIN A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
National Dance Company Wales for Marcos Morau's exceptionally artful TUNDRA
Northern Ballet for its bold and varied programming, particularly THE LITTLE MERMAID and its Kenneth MacMillan tribute
Other nominations that included dance:
The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre
Nuffield Southampton Theatres, English Touring Theatre & Theatr Clwyd
Promotion of Diversity
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
National Theatre of Scotland
Achievement in Marketing/Audience Development
Nuffield Southampton Theatres
The Old Vic
Phoenix Dance Theatre
Richard Alston Dance Company has announced today that its final tour will take place in 2019-2020. Richard Alston has been creating dance for over 50 years and his company has been resident at The Place for the past 24 years. In that time, Alston has played a major role in the world of contemporary dance, developing a unique and distinct dance language and shaping the art form in this country.Richard Alston's career is in many respects the history of contemporary dance in the UK. He was one of the very first students at the newly established London Contemporary Dance School in 1968.
The company’s current tour runs until spring 2019 including two nights at Sadler’s Wells. It will tour in autumn 2019 including a special ‘At Home’ programme at The Place in celebration of the company’s 25 years of work and its home’s 50th anniversary. The company will tour for the last time in spring 2020 including a final Sadler’s Wells season.
It was at this point that he started to choreograph, as he studied under the groundbreaking teaching of American dancer/choreographer Robert Cohan and the leadership of Robin Howard, who first brought contemporary dance to the UK from America in the late 1950s.
He went on to choreograph for The Place's resident company London Contemporary Dance Theatre before forming the UK’s first independent dance company, Strider, in 1972. In 1975 he left for New York to study at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio and on his return two years later he worked throughout the UK and Europe as an independent choreographer and teacher.
In 1980 he was appointed Resident Choreographer with Ballet Rambert, becoming the company's Artistic Director from 1986 - 1992.
In 1994 he became Artistic Director at The Place and formed his own company Richard Alston Dance Company.
When I query companies on whether they are touring to Manchester/Salford - this is usually via social media and usually after they have published a touring schedule that misses the city - the standard responses are either something along the lines of not being able to fit it into their schedule - which I kind of understand as The Lowry is fairly tightly scheduled and their planning with the more financially-secure companies is much more forward that many dance companies can manage.
But what about HOME?
This may be controversial, but it has long-seemed to me that the HOME theatres are not exactly over-used. I am occasionally struck by the long periods during which there appears to be little or nothing on in Theatre 1. Fortunately the place has cinemas and a very-successful restaurant and bar to keep the tills ringing.
HOME opened in 2015 so should have built up some momentum by now. Theatre 1 was built on the memory of the now long-closed Library Theatre, which it has never matched for programming (in the sense of putting on complete and coherent seasons, in the way the Royal Exchange still does, for example).
Hofesh Shechter Company regularly performs at HOME now and his recent works are HOME co-productions (with other venues). Motionhouse, Gecko and Rosie Kay Dance Company are among other dance and physical theatre companies to play the venue. But the venue does not have appear to have any clear dance programming. In fact, apart from a series of welcome festivals - Orbit, Viva!, PUSH etc. and the presence of Manchester School of Theatre (MMU) as a resident company in Theatre 2, the venue doesn't appear to have much in the way of clear programming policy (although the venue does have a clear interest in experimental work, gender, LGBTQIetc., transgressivesness and multiculturalism). Although they (unusually) state their programming poilicy quite clearly on their website.
On dance, their website states:
Dance theatre, combining the raw emotion of dance with the narrative of theatre also has a new home in Manchester and we are working with international partners to commission and produce bold new work as well as host the best touring productions in this exciting medium.
There has been relatively scant evidence of this since the venue opened.
The other necessary conversation on dance in Manchester has to perhaps consider the weakness of the dance audience, lack of dance infrastructure and activism, but through the lens of a decade of arts funding cuts that appear to have hit dance hard and continuously.
Thankfully, MIF now appear to have dance firmly on their agenda, so there is light amid the darkness.
The nominations for the 2018 BroadwayWorld UK Awards are out (and may have been for some time).
I only actually became aware of the awards because Northern Ballet are actively promoting their nomination for The Little Mermaid in the category below (which appears to be the only dance related category).
2018 BroadwayWorld UK Awards - Outstanding Achievement in a New Dance Production
Having not seen any of the productions above it is hard to comment but...
Ballets based on The Little Mermaid are a massive yawn that don't exactly suggest much in the way of creativity and innovation in the world of UK dance. I have also yet to see Northern Ballet produce anything that could reasonably be described as 'outstanding'.
Swan Lake. Groundbreaking.
Firstly, I am a huge fan of the English National Ballet. And they have hugely diversified their programming since Tamara Rojo took over as Artistic Director. I did see La Sylphide as part of a different ENB double-bill and it was genuinely fabulous. But... Le Jeune Homme Et La Mort dates from 1946 and La Sylphide from 1836. So again, outstanding achievement in a new dance production? Not exactly rewarding creativity or innovation here either.
Akram Khan's XENOS. Not seen it but seems like a fair nomination.
Ballet Black: I am seeing this double bill soon so will reserve judgement.
Windrush: Movement of the People: I have not seen this either and it looks to be completing touring without coming closer to Manchester than Huddersfield. But, this does seem like an important subject for a piece of dance theatre in the UK at this point and it is good to see a piece about immigration and Black British heritage and a dance company for Black and Asian dancers (Ballet Black) nominated.
According to the stats, which are visible on the voting page the likely winner looks to the Northern Ballet's The Little Mermaid.
Which looks to me like a massive victory for blah and the dreariest of commercial dance.
Did I mention that only one and half of these productions have visited/are visiting Manchester or Salford?
The 19th National Dance Awards
Announcement of Nominations
Looking at the nominations for the 19th National Dance Awards I am struck by a number of things.
Firstly - and this is far from a new observation as regular readers will note - is how utterly irrelevant Manchester is in terms of the national dance picture.
Obviously there are no nominations for Manchester artists and only a relatively short list of independents who would ever be in a position to be nominated.
But I am also struck by how little of this work and how few of these companies have even shown in Manchester in the past year.
Obviously nominations for dancers for English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Rambert and Northern Ballet may have appeared in Manchester as all three have visited.
But apart from Ballet Black - who have nominations for dancer José Alves and choreographer Cathy Marston for The Suit - and Lost Dog, who have a couple of nominations - and Ashley Shaw for Matthew Bourne's Cinderella, I don't believe any of the other companies or productions have even visited the city.
The other thing that strikes me is how much of the work I truly admire and have seen this year has been overlooked.
Nothing for Hofesh Shechter Company and his incredible dancers for either Grand Finale or SHOW.
Nothing for Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar of L-E-V, who have shown two pieces in the UK this year (OCD Love and Love Chapter 2, created a new work for the National Youth Dance Company, had a piece in the programme for Ballet BC - who presented a marvellous triple bill (including the remarkable Crystal Pite, who was nominated last year) and for Rambert 2 (Killer Pig).
Nothing for Clod Ensemble. Or DeNada Dance Company.
It might also be worth noting the persistent classical bias. The category for Best Male and Female dancer favours classical dancers over modern. Three out of five Emerging Artist nominations are classical. Outstanding Company is overwhelmingly classical. Independent is entirely modern. Which makes it clear where the power and money and financial stability lies.
I just looked at the nominations for last year and it appears to be somewhat more diverse (so maybe this year is what it is) but a lot of the same names reappear: Ashley Shaw, Miguel Altunaga, Brandon Lawrence, Alina Cojocaru...
|Jennie Lee, Baroness Lee of Asheridge|
Hannah Jane Parkinson in the Guardian on a decade of Tory contempt for arts and culture.
The Best of 2018 (in no particular order)
The opportunity to see OCD Love prompted my first trip to the Edinburgh Festival: I saw OCD Love and Dam Van Huyhn's wonderful DEP for a second time. As I expected I loved OCD Love a little more than Love Chapter 2. The austere extravagance of their ascetic choreography is devastating. Their work is the very essence of pure choreography and music distilled and distorted into the most exquisite kinetic perfume.
I have been following Mr Papaioannou's work for some time and took the opportunity to catch his Sadler's Wells debut with The Great Tamer, performed by 10 beautiful (Greek) humans. Not dance as such, more a creative hybrid of visual art and physical theatre, this was an incredible experience. Dark, imaginative, painstaking, detailed and tremendous fun.
This looked interesting on paper but was unexpectedly enjoyable, combining and redefining two genres I have an interest in but little passion for.
Silk Road is an emotional, spiritual – and educational – journey that showcases and contrasts Flamenco and Kathak in a quietly-spectacular way. Agudo and Khoo are masters of their craft but don’t perform for effect or for applause. This show is communicative, humble and welcoming, and exquisitely put together with all the texture, strength, beauty and skill of fine silk.