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Articles on this Page
- 01/18/17--03:12: _2017 - The Year in ...
- 03/07/17--09:55: _2018 - The Year in ...
- 07/31/17--08:13: _Manchester? No, sor...
- 10/23/17--08:34: _Holly Blakey: Some ...
- 10/30/17--08:34: _Hail the New Purita...
- 11/08/17--05:34: _The Rites of Spring...
- 11/16/17--11:00: _Making Contact
- 11/22/17--10:41: _The 18th National D...
- 12/05/17--10:36: _2017 - Review of th...
- 12/15/17--17:56: _Rambert2
- 12/19/17--06:48: _Manchester? No, sor...
- 01/05/18--07:52: _A personal dance co...
- 01/22/18--05:29: _Manchester Theatre ...
- 03/07/18--09:34: _What is wrong with ...
- 03/09/18--07:25: _42nd Annual Oliver ...
- 03/13/18--10:15: _The Return of DV8...?
- 03/27/18--06:31: _Scott Ambler 1960-2018
- 03/28/18--03:52: _Birmingham Internat...
- 04/09/18--05:30: _2019 - The Year in ...
- 04/12/18--05:14: _Fearghus Ó Conchúir...
- 04/25/18--06:36: _Rambert - Baldwin o...
- 05/03/18--09:26: _Michael Clark's to ...
- 05/10/18--04:56: _BBC Four Dance Season
- 05/24/18--07:21: _Quays Culture prese...
- 06/05/18--07:11: _A New Venue for Sad...
- 01/18/17--03:12: 2017 - The Year in Dance
- O - Project O - Royal Exchange Studio - 21 January
- Blak Whyte Gray – A Hip Hop Dance Triple Bill - HOME - 9-11 February
- Swan Lake - Moscow City Ballet - Palace Theatre - 9-11 February
- An Italian in Madrid - Richard Alston Dance Company - The Lowry [Quays Theatre] - 13-14 February
- Smother - 201 Dance Company - Contact - 14 February [Queer Contact]
- Giselle Reawakened - LIPA (3rd Years) - LIPA, Liverpool - 16-18 February
- Danza Contemporanea de Cuba - The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] - 17-18 February
- Dance: Sampled - The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] - 24-25 February [features Northern Ballet, Acosta Danza, Carlos Pons Guerra, Connor Scott, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, The Ruggeds + flamenco and tango]
- COAL - Gary Clarke Company - Make Liverpool - 1-2 March [LEAP 2017 festival]
- Cinderella - Birmingham Royal Ballet - The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] - 1-4 March
- Whiteout - Barrowland Ballet - Make Liverpool - 4 March [LEAP 2017 festival]
- The Enormous Room - Stopgap Dance Company - Make Liverpool - 6 March [LEAP 2017 festival]
- RUN - 2Faced Dance Company - Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield - 7 March
- FoMO, MOFOs - Mary Pearson - Make Liverpool - 8 March [LEAP 2017 festival]
- American Man - Hetain Patel - Make Liverpool - 9 March [LEAP 2017 festival]
- Slap & Tickle - Liz Aggiss - The Lowry - 9 March [SICK! Festival]
- Voodoo - Project O - Make Liverpool - 11 March - LEAP 2017 festival]
- Guide Gods - Claire Cunningham - The Lowry - 15 & 17 March [SICK! Festival]
- American Man - Hetain Patel - Contact - 16-17 March [SICK! Festival]
- To Belong - Koen De Preter & Theater Stap - The Lowry - 18 March [SICK! Festival]
- Gaudete - OBRA - The Lowry [Quays Theatre] - 20-21 March
- Michael Essien I Want To Play As You... - Ahilan Ratnamohan - Contact - 24 March [SICK! Festival]
- Verve 2017 - Z-arts - 24 March
- U.Dance NW 2017 - The Lowry [Quays Theatre] - 25-26 March
- Life - BalletBoyz - The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] - 28 March
- Matthew Bourne's Early Adventures - Matthew Bourne's New Adventures - Liverpool Playhouse - 28 March – 1 April
- De Nada & Sardoville Dance Theatre - The Lowry [Aldridge Studio] - 29 March
- One-Hit Wonders - Sol Picó - HOME - 1 April [Part of: ¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival 2017]
- Mixed Programme 2017 - Phoenix Dance Theatre - Oldham Coliseum - 4 April
- Not Today's Yesterday - Seeta Patel - The Lowry [Aldridge Studio] - 19 April
- MK Ultra - Rosie Kay Dance Company - HOME - 4-5 May
- Pinocchio - Jasmin Vardimon Company - Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield - 5 May
- Casanova - northern ballet - The Lowry - 3-6 May
- Stepmother / Stepfather - Arthur Pita - The Lowry - 9 May
- Leviathan - James Wilton Dance - Contact - 16-17 May
- Pinocchio - Jasmin Vardimon Company - The Lowry [Quays Theatre] - 27-28 May
- Out Of This World - Mark Murphy's V-TOL - The Lowry - 30-31 May
- The Toad Knew - James Thierrée | Compagnie du Hanneton - The Lowry [Lyric] - 10-11 May [Cirque]
- Milonga - Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui - The Lowry [Lyric] - 16-17 May [Contemporary + Tango]
- The Red Shoes - Matthew Bourne's New Adventures - Liverpool Empire - 27 June - 1 July
- The Red Shoes - Matthew Bourne's New Adventures - The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] - 11-15 July
- 1,000 Gestures - Boris Charmatz - A city centre space to be announced - 13-15 July [part of: MIF17]
- The Wedding - Gecko - HOME - 12-16 September [Physical Theatre]
- 03/07/17--09:55: 2018 - The Year in Dance
- Matthew Bourne's Cinderella | The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] | 13-17 March
- 07/31/17--08:13: Manchester? No, sorry - 2017 REDUX
- 10/30/17--08:34: Hail the New Puritan | Michael Clark
- 11/08/17--05:34: The Rites of Spring (work in progress)
- 11/16/17--11:00: Making Contact
- 12/05/17--10:36: 2017 - Review of the Year
- 12/15/17--17:56: Rambert2
- 12/19/17--06:48: Manchester? No, sorry 2018
- 01/05/18--07:52: A personal dance company wishlist for 2018
- Hofesh Shechter Company (UK) (I already have tickets for Grand Finale at HOME)
- L-E-V - (Israel) Sharon Eyal is choreographing a piece for Ballet BC, who are touring with Dance Consortium and visiting The Lowry - ticket already purchased.
- Peeping Tom (Belgium)
- Kidd Pivot (Canada) - Kidd Pivot's Crystal Pite is also creating a piece for Ballet BC.
- Theo Clinkard (UK)
- Ballet National de Marseille (France)
- Mark Bruce Company (UK)
- James Wilton Company (UK)
- Lucy Guerin Inc. (Australia)
- Toronto Dance Theatre (Canada)
- Ballet du Nord (France)
- Riccardo Buscarini (UK/Italy)
- Joss Carter (UK)
- Gary Clarke Company (UK)
- Teac Damsa (Eire)
- Sasha Waltz & Guests (Germany) (seeing Korper at Sadler’s Wells in March)
- Íslenski dansflokkurinn (Iceland)
- Carte Blanche (Norway)
- 01/22/18--05:29: Manchester Theatre Awards 2017
- 03/07/18--09:34: What is wrong with dance in Manchester (Salford, actually)
- British Ballet Columbia aka Ballet BC | The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] | 20-21 March
- Swan Lake / Loch na hEala | Michael Keegan Dolan & Teaċ Daṁsa | The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] | 19-20 May [part of: Week 53]
- 03/09/18--07:25: 42nd Annual Oliver Awards Nominations for Dance
- 03/13/18--10:15: The Return of DV8...?
- 03/27/18--06:31: Scott Ambler 1960-2018
- Atomos by Company Wayne McGregor at New Alexandra Theatre on 1 and 2 June. This is a rare opportunity to see this celebrated choreographer’s work outside London. A beautiful exploration of movement, film, sound and light – where the audience wear 3D glasses for part of the show.
- Continuing the digital theme, Guide by Vera Ondrasikova & Collective makes its UK premiere at The Patrick Studio on 8 and 9 June. Guide is an absorbing audio visual experience in which the past and present become one, as the performer sculpts light watched by an audience immersed in electronic music.
- Leaders in VR technology the Swiss Cie Gilles Jobin & Artanim bring an immersive, fun and unforgettable Virtual Reality experience ideal to share with friends and family. Tracked by an optical motion capture system, five participants at the same time become their own avatar, physically moving in a virtual environment, meeting five virtual dancers in VR_1.
- Challenging the notion of what can be presented on a traditional stage, on 14 June ISH Dance Collective will bring vert ramps and extreme sports to the stage of Birmingham Hippodrome in Elements of Freestyle. A UK premiere, the show will feature a dynamic fusion of live music, dance and theatre with break dance, inline skating, free running, skateboarding, BMX and freestyle basketball.
- Midlands Arts Centre will host a festival family weekend on 16 and 17 June, bursting with an exciting indoor and outdoor programme for children and families to participate, create and watch dance. The highlight is the unmissable Kindur by Company TPO, a magical interactive theatre experience for 5–10 year olds. The whole audience can join in an adventure with the Kindur (Icelandic for sheep) as part of a larger flock, either from their seats or on stage, as their movement triggers sounds, images, music and colours.
- As part of the festival’s focus on the diversity of dancer’s bodies, renowned veteran dancer and choreographer Rui Horta, whose audacity and doggedness has propelled him to get back to the stage after thirty years of absence, presents a deeply personal performance of Wasp at the Patrick Studio on 15 and 16 June. Candoco Dance Company, celebrated for cutting edge work that challenges and broadens perceptions of art and ability, will make a rare visit to the city on 13 and 14 June at Midlands Arts Centre with their double bill by Yasmeen Godder and Hetain Patel.
- From 15 – 23 June, Birmingham Repertory Theatre in association with BIDF 2018, presents the world premiere of Woyzeck. Woyzeck is a celebration of fighting for a better life when everything else seems to be against you. Most of all it's a celebration of the West Midlands spirit as a stellar professional cast is joined by a community chorus of one hundred performers and dancers choreographed by Rosie Kay.
- An exhilarating triple bill, Polarity & Proximity by Birmingham Royal Ballet, 20-23 June, includes a new choreographic work by George Williamson.
- In the final days of the Festival work from Colette Sadler, and Cecilia Bengolea & Florentina Holzinger explore the limits of the body and survival.
- In the Quantum Exhibition Centre James Batchelor and collaborators create the mesmerising installation Deepspace inspired by a trip to the remote volcanic islands of the sub-Antarctic.
- On Saturday 23 June Birmingham International Dance Festival teams up with fierce to close the Festival with Club Fierce, harbouring some of the world’s Fiercest dance outlaws to whom no move is illegal. Full line coming soon.
- Opening the Festival Square on 1 June is Morning Gloryville, the original morning ravers. The event, part exercise craze, and part mass party, is a city premiere in collaboration with firm favourites from the local music scene and a big headline DJ, to be announced soon.
- Under the title of Birmingham Dances, the opening weekend 2 and 3 June will kick-start the outdoor festivities with a special programme of performances, participatory activities and playful interactive installations, interweaving dance, fitness and movement activities from local talent; featured spectacles such as Marawa The Amazing and her Majorettes, and much more to be announced.
- A special programme celebrating the best of Midlands dance talent takes place 4 to 8 June – supported by Dance Hub Birmingham and West Midlands Railways. Midlands Made commissions are from Andy Ingamells, Rebecca Thomas and Mickael Marso Riviere. Existing work from featured across lunchtime and early evening presentations. Also animating the square will be captivating multi-disciplinary artists and local DJs; morning yoga and mindfulness activities, bringing that outdoor summer vibe.
- D-Construction, a high octane hip-hop dance performance with a powerful beat by Compagnie Dyptik, challenging our perception of borders, questioning the profound nature of social links in the public space. What unites us? What separates us? To what extent are we able to question territories, borders and institutions?
- Challenging head on the perceptions of a dancer’s body, Compagnie Didier Theron present the UK premiere of Air, a bold and playful performance where four dancers are dressed in inflatable latex suits which transform and magnify their movements. They will be bouncing into unexpected places around the city centre.
- Ofir Yudilevitch’s Gravitas is a breath-taking duet combining dance and acrobatics performed on an air floor mat. The performers explore the elemental force of gravity, playing with it in one moment and in another becoming pure mass, surrendering to its blind will.
- 04/09/18--05:30: 2019 - The Year in Dance
- The Nutcracker | Russian State Ballet of Siberia | Bridgewater Hall | 2-3 January
- 04/25/18--06:36: Rambert - Baldwin out. Swan Pouffer in (for one season)
- 05/03/18--09:26: Michael Clark's to a simple, rock 'n' roll . . . song. on BBC Four
- 05/10/18--04:56: BBC Four Dance Season
- 06/05/18--07:11: A New Venue for Sadler's Wells - Olympicopolis [Updated]
It feels early to be creating the 2018 page, but the first date has been announced:
Well, just to keep things interesting - and because nothing has changed (arguably) - I am revisiting my Manchester? No, sorry news update for 2017.
Find out what's the story with Manchester? No, sorry...
Basically it is a list of companies that announce touring activity in 2017 but do not include any Manchester or Salford venues in the schedule.
BalletBoyz - venturing out on tour again in the autumn on 2017 with the Fourteen Days tour. Not visiting Manchester, although they did in the spring with the Life tour. Maybe the second wave of touring in 2018 will revisit The Lowry, where they definitely have an audience.
Dance Touring Partnership - supported Mark Murphy's V-TOL disappointing Out of the World in Spring 2017 including a visit to The Lowry. Their autumn 2017 endeavour is a smaller tour of The Farm's interesting-looking Cockfight, which is not visiting the city.
National Dance Company Wales - not visited the Manchester area since 2011. Have been appearing fairly regularly at Huddersfield's Lawrence Batley Theatre, but their 2017 Spring Tour only visits venues in Wales - which is fair enough - plus Newcastle and Dundee.
Mark Bruce Company - who didn't tour their most recent production The Odyssey as widely as their award-winning Dracula - are starting 2017 back in the studio working on a new full-length work which will première in early 2018.
Ballet Central are embarking on a 20+ date national tour from March to July 2017 but not visiting Manchester for a second year.
Lea Anderson, who was forced to mothball her ground-breaking twin companies The Cholmondeleys & The Featherstonehaughs a few year ago due to ACE funding issues, has announced a 9-date autumn 2017 tour for her new work Ladies & Gentlemen. Not visiting Manchester though.
Protein Dance - taking their Border Tales to the Edinburgh Fringe and for an autumn 2017 tour. Not coming to Manchester though.
Holly Blakey is best known for her choreographic work in music videos for artists including Jessie Ware, Florence + the Machine and Coldplay. But that looks set to change with Blakey’s first full-length contemporary dance work Some Greater Class, which certainly makes no effort to deny her successful career in that genre, but takes it far beyond simply putting pop video dance moves on stage.
With a desire to make her work accessible to a wider audience – not necessarily ‘a dance audience’ – Blakey is avoiding the traditional dance spaces (even within traditional dance venues) and aiming for galleries, festivals, places where perhaps people won't think ‘oh no: dance’ and scurry away.
For Some Greater Class’s appearances at The Lowry, Blakey is staging her work in the more unconventional Compass Room, which is a essentially a function room at the top of the building – a space normally reserved for weddings and industry conferences, but one occasionally used for other dance artists aiming at working outside of the ‘box’ – Theo Clinkard, Fevered Sleep and Flexer & Sandiland have also used the flexibility of this large space to site their work.
Some Greater Class sits well in this space although the setup is actually fairly conventional with seats in long rows in front of a dance area, and the atmosphere is chilly. Gwilym Gold and Darkstar sit to one side at the back behind a table piled with all the kit required for the live soundtrack. Banks of lights drench the space in blue and green. A tumble of foliage forms an odd backdrop, like an 80s nightclub.
The piece starts moodily with the cast of seven sloping in as a group, coolly checking one another out: blankly confrontational. Dressed in red, their costumes are deconstructed, rebuilt: edgy, diverse, gender-fluid: tough girls, urban lads, femme boys. Blakey’s dancers look like club kids, like real people.
Some Greater Class itself is a rollercoaster of thrilling group sections, usually with the dancers forming two advancing lines: vogue, street dance, martial arts and alternative cabaret influences are smoothly linked with a deft choreographic touches by Blakey and considerable individual charm and attitude from the dancers, from the smouldering beauty and fuck-you cool of Grace Jabbari and Naomi Weijand, to the gender-queer buffness of Ted Rogers and Chester Haynes, to the sexy streetboy cool of Waddah Sinada and Jonny Vieco, via the strange androgyne aloofness of Eve Stainton.
The group sections are interpopulated with a series of smaller group and individual performances that explore connection, emptiness, identity, pleasure, sex, ennui, exhaustion, exhibitionism and uncertainty. Some Greater Class interrogates and dissects young relationships, identity, social life and (inter)dependence. It moves startlingly between narcissism, tenderness, exploitation, brutality and the simple human need – and sometimes incapacity - for emotional and physical contact. They gaze lovingly, blankly, emptily at one another: questioningly, passively confrontationally at the audience. They compete for love and acceptance: fight for the right to exist without compromise, without fear.
Gwilym Gold and Darkstar’s soundtrack, which melds haunting vocals with relentless electronic beats and shimmering techno, underpins the choreography thrillingly. When the dancers line-up in the dark for the final section you actually feel like you've been taken on a brilliant night out with friends. There have been arguments, tears and hugs and laughter but Some Greater Class leaves you with a sense of hope, and a real sense that you've just seen the work of an ambitious choreographer who has the ability to shake up the world of contemporary dance.
There is a lot of exciting, darkly-messy dance coming from Europe. Unless drawing on those influences a lot of British dance is starting to look safe and formulaic. Some Greater Class is pulling in a lot of different influences from urban and queer culture and it looks edgy and exciting. I want some more.
Michael Clark's ground-breaking 1985-6 'punk ballet'Hail the New Puritan is now available to view in its entirety.
Hail the New Puritan, 1985-86, 84:47 min, color, sound
Exhuberant and witty, Hail the New Puritan is a simulated day-in-the-life "docufantasy" starring the British dance celebrity Michael Clark. Atlas' fictive portrait of the charismatic choreographer serves as a vivid invocation of the studied decadence of the 1980s post-punk London subculture. Contriving a faux cinema-verite format in which to stage his stylized fiction, Atlas seamlessly integrates Clark's extraordinary dance performances into the docu-narrative flow. Focusing on Clark's flamboyantly postured eroticism and the artifice of his provocative balletic performances, Atlas posits the dance as a physical manifestation of Clark's psychology. From the surreal opening dream sequence to the final solo dance, Clark's milieu of fashion, clubs and music signifies for Atlas "a time capsule of a certain period and context in London that's now gone."
Director/Editor: Charles Atlas. Choreography: Michael Clark. Dancers: Gaby Agis, Leslie Bryant, Michael Clark, Matthew Hawkins, Julie Hood, Ellen van Schuylenburch. Music: Glenn Branca, The Fall, Bruce Gilbert, Jeffrey Hinton. Camera: John Simmons. Producer: Jolyon Wimhurst. -- EAI
You can watch it here
The Rites of SpringVaslav Nijinsky (1913)
Léonide Massine (1920)
Lester Horton (1937)
Mary Wigman (1957)
Maurice Béjart (1959)
Kenneth MacMillan (1962)
Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasiliev (1965)
Glen Tetley (1974)
Pina Bausch (1975)
Martha Graham (1984)
Marie Chouinard (1993)
Angelin Prelocaj (2001)
Sasha Waltz (2013)
CONTACT ANNOUNCES CITY-WIDE PERFORMANCE PROGRAMME AS BUILDING TRANSFORMATION GIVEN THE GREEN LIGHT.
Contact will close the doors of its iconic Oxford Road building at the end of December 2017 ahead of a major £6.75 million capital redevelopment. During this time, the organisation’s staff will relocate to the Millennium Powerhouse in Moss Side, with a year-long programme of performance and participation activities taking place in partner venues across Greater Manchester.
Contact today announced the first part of its exciting year out programme, which will see it forge new creative partnerships with venues including the Palace Theatre Manchester, Manchester Academy, the Museum of Science and Industry and The Lowry, as well as various interesting and unexpected spaces, including a working sari shop on Manchester’s Curry Mile.
The season will kick off in style in February with two high profile shows as part of the annual Queer Contact Festival, beginning with Dancing Bear at the Palace Theatre Manchester (Tue 6 – Wed 7 February). Produced by Jamie Fletcher & Company and Contact, Dancing Bear flips between dramatic storytelling and catchy pop songs to explore personal, social and mental health issues experienced by LGBT+ people. This will be followed by club culture meeting high art at the House of Suarez and Contact Vogue Ball at Manchester Academy 2 (Sat 10 Feb).
Queer Contact Festival marks its 10th anniversary year with its biggest line-up of events yet. A packed programme of theatre, music, cabaret, film, clubbing, dance, spoken word and visual art examining gender, sexuality, health, religion, politics and more, will be hosted at venues across Greater Manchester (Sat 3 – Sat 24 Feb). Partner venues include: Palace Theatre Manchester, Manchester Academy, Manchester Central Library, People’s History Museum, Waterside, Texture and 53Two.
The award-winning Contact Young Company will present Manchester’s rich social history in a celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act (1918). She Bangs the Drums will take place at the Museum of Science and Industry (Thu 8 – Sat 10 Mar) in a humorous and political reflection on votes for women and working-class men. Following this, Contact and Rasa co-production Handlooms by Rani Moorthy shifts the scene to a working sari shop, Alankar House of Saris on Wilmslow Road (Tue 13 – Sun 25 Mar). Handlooms explores the generational gap between a mother and son, who are both seeking solutions to a business crisis. Finally, as a teaser for what’s to come later in the year, Contact is delighted to announce a one-off gala performance of Sophie Willan’s smash-hit Contact commissioned show Branded at The Lowry (Thu 31 May).
Contact is thrilled to be relocating to the Millennium Powerhouse in Moss Side for the duration of 2018. This will not only be home to staff, but will also be a venue for Contact’s regular programme of free participatory activities throughout the year. The building is operated by Manchester Young Lives, and houses a number of other young people focused organisations, services and activities. As a company, Contact will be working with these organisations to increase the numbers of young people using the building. Contact’s other arts and leadership projects such as Contact Young Company, Future Fires and The Agency will continue to engage and inspire young people whilst the building on Oxford Road undergoes its transformation.
Contact will continue to regularly announce performances, projects and activities for the rest of 2018. Contact’s young producers group Re:Con are currently working on a project in response to the anniversary of the anti-Section 28 protests in Manchester in 1988, and a brand new Christmas show written by the award-winning Jackie Hagan will be taking place at a partner venue during December.
Working alongside a dedicated team of local young people, Con:Struct, and with architects Sheppard Robson, Contact will re-open in 2019. The refurbished building will feature a new performance space, a recording studio for young people, new offices and rehearsal spaces for artists and other cultural organisations, and a new café and bar. The project aims are to increase the number and range of creative opportunities for young people and to strengthen the organisation’s financial sustainability. Access throughout the building will also be upgraded as well as improving its environmental performance.
The project will be funded by over £6million of investment from Arts Council England and Manchester City Council with generous grants and donations from local and national trusts and foundations. Corporate and individual supporters and a public fundraising campaign will raise the remaining £600,000.
This is an incredibly exciting and important time for Contact. While our building is expanded and improved, 2018 will see us present a year-long programme at partner venues and found spaces across the city, taking Contact productions to new communities and letting new audiences experience our work. Contact productions will also be touring nationally, and a recent show will be broadcast on BBC TV and iPlayer. We’re also thrilled to be relocating our staff and all of our participatory projects to the Powerhouse in Moss Side. As a team we’re really looking forward to forming new relationships with the organisations there to provide new opportunities for young people in the area. We are extremely grateful to Arts Council England and all our other funders, trusts and foundations, and our partner venues for their support on this project which will enable Contact to offer even more life-changing opportunities for young people, sustainably and for many years to come.
The 18National Dance Awards Announcement of Nominations
There was a point this year if I wondered if I was going to see anything truly amazing (in the north west, at any rate). Unexpectedly, the second half of the year didn't disappoint, with an especially-packed October-November.
The world of dance in the UK seems to me to be in a transitional stage. The contemporary dance companies I once found so exciting are looking oddly-tired and under-nourished. The impact of years of under-funding a likely cause. Innovation is unexpectedly coming from the ballet companies waking from their slumbers. But there is still new (and usually European-looking work) coming through. Graduate dance companies have stopped visiting the city (more or less) and cirque appears to be tumbling further from dance towards circus: perhaps to resolve the marketing and programming uncertainties of being neither one thing nor the other. Time will tell.
Ultimately, and oddly, a bumper year.
Best of 2017
So, I made the trip to Sadler's Wells to see the Pina Bausch version of The Rite of Spring, presented as part of a triple bill of twentieth century works. My love of The Rite of Spring is well-documented and the Pina Bausch choreography has been on my bucket list since I first became aware of it. ENB are only the second company (and the first British one) licensed to perform this version. And it truly didn't disappoint.
It is, quite simply a brilliantly-staged masterpiece: absolutely stunning and completely devastating.
The other two pieces in this triple bill - William Forsythe's In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated and Hans van Manen's Adagio Hammerklavier - also provided some glorious and educational dance moments and another opportunity to see the wonderful Tamara Rojo in her pointe shoes.
10,000 Gestures - Boris Charmatz - Mayfield - [part of: MIF17]
A beautiful, distinctive and overwhelming work that playfully and excitingly explores theatrical space and the relationship between audience and performers. Full of wonderful sound and light and movement and colour. Expansive and yet deeply personal, as well as a big statement of bold creative intent from Theo Clinkard and his team. This Bright Field tore the theatre apart and reconstructed it as you watched, but remained deeply and touchingly human. I saw it twice. It was glorious.
Some Greater Class - Holly Blakey - The Lowry [Compass Room]
This was the first time I have ever seen Rambert and liked the entire programme: a programme which fully addressed my usual issues with the company: the messy borderlands between narrative and contemporary dance
DẸP - Dam Van Huynh - Unity Theatre, Liverpool
Charge - Motionhouse (HOME): complex and technical and yet human.
My annual list of companies that miss Manchester from their touring. Just for information.
BalletBoyz - the 'Boyz brought their Life tour to The Lowry in 2017 but not their Fourteen Days tour - twice in one year would have been unlikely in any case. The Fourteen Days tour continues up to May 2018 but The Lowry - their 'regular' venue is not on the schedule.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo - Les Trocks generally tour the UK every other year supported by Dance Consortium. They return in 2018 but, unusually, The Lowry is not on the schedule. This is likely due to scheduling availability, but leaves a major company hole in the city's dance offer.
Phoenix Dance Theatre - Phoenix appear to be going through something of a transition. They seem to be shrinking in size and activity - or this has been the case for a couple of years. They are touring a mixed programme in 2018 but not visiting Manchester. Their visits have been sporadic in any case, often opting for the Liverpool Playhouse instead (who they are also not visiting).
Companies I would like to see in 2018:
NB: this list is entirely speculative and wishful thinking - not based on announced dates or touring schedules (for the most part). Will update as the year progresses.
Nominations have been announced for the Manchester Theatre Awards to honour productions seen in Greater Manchester during 2017. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held at The Lowry’s Quays Theatre on Friday 9 March, hosted by actor and comedian Justin Moorhouse.
The Lowry in Salford leads the way with 15 nominations across categories including dance, opera and drama, with HOME in Manchester city centre following with 13 nods. Oldham Coliseum, the Palace Theatre and Opera House, The Royal Exchange, Contact and Bolton Octagon are all also nominated, as is last summer’s Manchester International Festival. Fringe theatre is not forgotten with the critically-acclaimed Hope Mill Theatre winning six nominations for its programme and performers, and Greater Manchester Fringe Festival and newly established space 53Two also gaining nods.
MTA Nominees 2017 (dance nominees only)
Robert Robson Award for Dance
Debut, Acosta Danza, The Lowry
English National Ballet double bill, Palace Theatre
Ghost Dances, Rambert Dance, The Lowry
Leviathan, James Wilton Dance, Contact
The Toad Knew, The Lowry
Under Glass, Clod Ensemble, The Lowry
Manchester Theatre Awards
My nominations would have been:
There are two amazing dance productions coming to Manchester - actually The Lowry in Salford. Both are in the enormous Lyric Theatre. And neither appear to be selling.
No amount of good reviews and sell-out performances in other venues seem to make a jot of difference to Manchester's Matthew Bourne-loving dance audience.
Both shows are completely and utterly worth-seeing and likely some of the best dance coming to the city in 2018.
|Swan Lake / Loch na hEala | Michael Keegan Dolan & Teaċ Daṁsa|
"Not a seat to be had at Sadler’s Wells this week where Ballet British Columbia was making its London debut with a trio of contemporary works by Crystal Pite, Sharon Eyal and artistic director Emily Molnar." - The Times
"There’s a gorgeous energy about Ballet British Columbia’s triple bill, touring the UK this month. The programme includes a superb work by star choreographer Crystal Pite, but it’s also a fine introduction to a smart, very contemporary company. The dancers have both individuality and shared muscular strength, powering through a programme of works by female choreographers." - The Independent
Below are the dance nomination for the 42nd annual Olivier Awards.
The awards will take place this year on 8 April at the Royal Albert Hall hosted by Catherine Tate.
Best New Dance Production
Flight Pattern by Crystal Pite at Royal Opera House
Goat by Ben Duke for Rambert Dance Company at Sadler's Wells
Grand Finale by Hofesh Shechter at Sadler's Wells
Tree Of Codes by Wayne McGregor and The Paris Opera Ballet at Sadler's Wells
Outstanding Achievement in Dance
Rocío Molina for pushing the boundary of flamenco in Fallen From Heaven (Caída Del Cielo) at Barbican Theatre
Francesca Velicu for her performance in English National Ballet's production of Pina Bausch's Le Sacre Du Printemps at Sadler's Wells
Zenaida Yanowsky for her performance in Liam Scarlett's Symphonic Dances at Royal Opera House
And a Professional Development Workshop is being planned for August 2018.
Could Lloyd Newson be ending DV8's hiatus...?
DV8 On Hold
Scott Ambler obituary
Superbly expressive dancer who went on to be a choreographer and movement director [The Guardian]
|Adam Cooper and Scott Ambler in the original production of Matthew Bourne's Swan lake|
Timothy Scott Ambler, dancer and choreographer, born 9 October 1960; died 17 March 2018
In the UK’s leading city for dance, BIDF showcases fantastic choreography in theatres and a takeover of Birmingham’s streets and squares, championing the best of current choreography and putting local talent on an international stage.
Festival celebrates the city exploring themes of imagination, digital art and the diversity of dancer’s bodies.
Choreographers and companies include Wayne McGregor, Rui Horta, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Compagnie Didier Theron, Yasmeen Godder, Rosie Kay, Vera Ondrasikova, Compagnie TPO, ISH Dance Collective, Compagnie Gilles Jobin & Artanim, and Compagnie Dyptik.
Produced by Birmingham-based DanceXchange, working with a rich network of partners.
First festival under Lucie Mirkova sees strong focus on contemporary and current choreography and looks to the future.
National Dance Company Wales (NDCWales) have today announced the appointment of their new Artistic Director, Fearghus Ó Conchúir.
Fearghus will take up his new position in the autumn (2018) joining Chief Executive, Paul Kaynes at the helm of Wales’ leading dance organisation to continue developing dance in all kinds of settings with all kinds of people, across all the Company’s work, locally, nationally and internationally.
Commenting on his new role, Fearghus Ó Conchúir said “It’s an honour to take on this role as Artistic Director of NDCWales. What excites me about the company is how we use dance to express an inclusive and robust vision of what Wales is and can be in the future. I’m joining a company that’s up for bringing its work from the stage and the studio to all kinds of other platforms – from nightclubs to social clubs, from schools to care homes, online and up close. I want to support the company to learn from all kinds of people and places across Wales and to make connections between them and the international dance network in which NDCWales already represents Welsh talent and potential.”
|Benoit Swan Pouffer|
Following the announcement that Mark Baldwin is stepping down as Artistic Director, Rambert has appointed Benoit Swan Pouffer as Guest Artistic Director and will begin a global search for a successor.
See the broadcast premiere of Michael Clark’s to a simple, rock ’n’ roll . . . song., Sunday 6th May at 10pm on BBC Four.
Recorded at the Barbican, London in 2017, this Olivier Award-nominated production features music by Patti Smith, Erik Satie and David Bowie, including the title track from Bowie’s final studio album, Blackstar.
BBC Four lifts the curtain on ballet, tap, street dance and more
Explore the thriving world of dance with a major season of programmes from Sunday 6 May.
Highlights include a Michael Clark broadcast premiere, a film on famed choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan, dancer Zenaida Yanowsky's swansong and Clarke Peters on the history of tap.
BBC Four Dance Season
Watch the Charge trailer https://youtu.be/SdL5BL-H7IY
This summer, Quays Culture will host a one-night only, exclusive outdoor performance, with the critically acclaimed, world-class dance circus production company, Motionhouse.
Motionhouse will take centre stage at Quays Culture’s Summer Showcase, with a performance of its electrifying new dance-circus, inspired by the role of electricity in the human body, Charge.
Charge is an exhilarating new multi-media show about energy, and for the first time it will be re-created as an outdoor spectacular, in partnership with the pioneers of outdoor arts and cultural events, Quays Culture.
Charge will be performed at 21.30, on Saturday 9th June 2018, at the MediaCityUK Piazza – a one show only experience that is FREE for all to enjoy.
Quays Culture brings this exciting fusion of art and science to the public realm, with an awe-inspiring 70-minute production, that has never before been seen at Salford Quays.
From the electrical charge that sparks human life, to the beating of our hearts and the memories we make, Charge sees six performers use dance and acrobatics to delve deep into the human body, tracing the incredible story of energy in our lives, to breath-taking effect. Digital projections create a world on stage where dancers and images interact seamlessly, bringing to life stories of energy in our own bodies and humans as energy manipulators.
Lucy Dusgate, Creative Producer at Quays Culture says: “It is fantastic to be working closely with Motionhouse again, to stage the first outdoor, large-scale production of Charge. Quays Culture introduces the public to world-class arts that utilise the latest digital technology, and this production is at the very pinnacle of this. We are delighted to be able to bring this monumental, spectacular show to a huge audience, and invite everyone to enjoy it at no cost. We have no doubt that this new outdoor commission of Charge will inspire the audience, even those who are not necessarily familiar with dance.”
Louise Richards, Executive Director of Motionhouse, said: “We are thrilled to bring our theatre production Charge to Salford Quays for its first ever outdoor performance. Taking a production outside its normal performance environment of a theatre is an exciting opportunity and we are looking forward to it immensely - bringing work to new audiences outdoors is a key part of our approach. The digital projections and technical elements of the show are a perfect fit with Salford Quays, a destination for innovative cultural events and performances.”
Quays Culture delivers outdoor arts and cultural events, combining the latest in digital and cutting edge technology with the vision of world-class artists throughout the year. Its work ranges from the intimate to the monumental, acting as a series of interventions and invitations to the public realm.
Find out more by visiting: www.quaysculture.com
Updated: 5 June 2018
Not a new story but something I have recently been reminded of...
In the coming years, a world class education and cultural district on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is being created that will bring together outstanding organisations to showcase exceptional art, dance, history, craft, science, technology and cutting edge design.
The Cultural and Education District will be made up of two sites on the Park, clustered around the iconic Stadium, ArcelorMittal Orbit and London Aquatics Centre.
A number of world-class institutions have already made plans to set up a permanent presence on these two sites. UCL East will be the site of a new university campus for University College London (UCL), while Stratford Waterfront features a new campus for the University of the Arts London, along with major new spaces for the Victoria and Albert Museum and Sadler's Wells. Discussions are also underway between the Smithsonian and the Victoria and Albert Museum to work together to create a major new international collaboration.
Sadler’s Wells aims to create a 7,000m2 venue with a 600-seat dance theatre to complement its existing venues cementing London’s position as one of the world’s greatest centres for dance.
The new venue will provide flexible ‘making’ spaces for research and development and producing new work, facilities for a Choreographic School, and for a Hip Hop Academy.
|Current Proposed Design|
London Olympicopolis: the design we might’ve had - The Guardian