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North West dance news, reviews and personal views
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  • 01/18/17--03:12: 2017 - The Year in Dance
  • January 

    • 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]




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    Welcoming choreographer Ben Wright back to the UK

    After three years as the Associate Artistic Director of Skanes Dansteater in Malmo Sweden, former South East Dance Associate Ben Wright is returning to the UK to reignite his company bgroup and focus on his own creative practice. Having been awarded the first ever commission from the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, to create and tour his first piece in the UK since 2013, Ben will collaborate with musician and writer Stuart Warwick to make Keepers – a seafaring story exploring an eerie relationship between two keepers at an isolated lighthouse. “I'm thoroughly excited to be coming back to the UK,” he says. “It’s been a fantastic few years in which I've had remarkable opportunities to generate mid and large-scale works that merge theatre, opera and dance disciplines. In some ways Keepers is like a tiny continuation of this investigation and I'm looking forward to creating something so intimate.” 
    Ben intends to combine the creation of this new piece with teaching and mentoring. "Having completed my Clore Fellowship in 2016, I’ve been thinking a lot about this challenge of leading as an artist.” he continues. “So this return to the UK signals a period of rumination, to take some time to explore this balance.” 
    In the meantime Ben is busy staging works on a small and large scale. “In late February I'm premiering Spectrum in Sweden – a new piece that explores the 11 basic colour terms in the English language, and in November I re-stage The Feeling of Going,” he says. “I’ll be in production for Keepers during the summer before we start touring in the Autumn.” Ben will continue to act as the Associate Choreographer for Skanes Dansteater for the next couple of years. 
    Keep an eye on the bgroup Facebook page for Keepers tour dates and other updates about Ben’s work. 

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    Grand Finale

    Choreography & Music by Hofesh Shechter
    Performed by Hofesh Shechter Company

    Set & Costumes designed by Tom Scutt
    Lighting designed by Tom Visser
    Music Collaborators: Nell Catchpole and Yaron Engler

    Grand Finale is Hofesh's feverishly anticipated new production. Part dance, part gig, part theatre and wholly original, his work has its own instantly identifiable and entirely unique voice.

    Grand Finale shows us a world in freefall, where humanity spirals through surreal scenes and emotions towards its own end point. Mythic and elemental, Hofesh's vision is at once comic, bleak and beautiful, evoking a world at odds with itself, full of anarchic energy and violent comedy.

    Intricate, chiselled choreographic patterns and a dynamic score performed live meet in a heady mix of power and emotion, to tell a simple tale about the human spirit.

    The company’s exceptional ensemble of dancers comes from 8 different countries. They are Chien-Ming Chang, Frédéric Despierre, Rachel Fallon, Mickael Frappat, Yeji Kim, Kim Kohlmann, Erion Kruja, Merel Lammers, Attila Ronai, Diogo Sousa with Associate Director Bruno Guillore.

    “The mighty contemporary choreographer – a combination of dance-maker and rock-star, but with film-director sensibilities.”  The Times


    Grand Finale is produced by Hofesh Shechter Company and commissioned by Georgia Rosengarten.

    Our Commissioning partners are Sadler's Wells, Théâtre de la Ville-Paris / La Villette-Paris and Brighton Dome and Festival. Co-commissioned by Colours International Dance Festival Stuttgart, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Romaeuropa Festival, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Marche Teatro / Inteatro Festival together with Danse Danse Montréal, Hellerau-European Center for the Arts Dresden, Dansens Hus Oslo, Athens and Epidaurus Festival, HOME Manchester and Scène Nationale d’Albi.

    The new creation is generously supported by the International Music and Arts Foundation.

    Tour Dates 2017

    1-2 June: Previews, Theatre Royal Plymouth
    14 – 24 June: World Premiere, La Villette, Paris
    8 – 9 July: Athens and Epidaurus Festival*        
    18 – 19 July: Colours Internationl Dance Festival, Stuttgart
    12 – 16 September: UK Premiere, Sadler’s Wells, London* (Priority booking opens for patrons and members 15 May, Public booking opens 22 May)            
    1 – 4 November: Danse Danse Montreal*                                          
    9 – 11 November: Brooklyn Academy Music, New York*
    24 - 26 November: Dansens Hus, Oslo*                                                        
    12 December: Scène Nationale d’Albi*          

    More dates to be announced.

    *Venues not yet on sale

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  • 03/07/17--09:55: 2018 - The Year in Dance
  • It feels early to be creating the 2018 page, but the first date has been announced:




    • Matthew Bourne's Cinderella | The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] | 13-17 March










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    Behind the scenes at the ballet

    Photographer Justin Slee goes backstage with the Leeds-based Northern Ballet company as the dancers prepare for their new production based on the life of Giacomo Casanova.

    Casanova is known these days as the great seducer, but he was also a gambler, spy, diplomat, entrepreneur and author, and the production aims to highlight these lesser-known aspects of his life.

    See the full set of images.


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  • 03/10/17--04:06: Service Interruption
  • Dear Methods of Dance readers,

    Apologies if the content of the site - and especially the review content - drops off markedly in March. I am now appearing in The Suppliant Women at the Royal Exchange Theatre 10 March-1 April.

    For the time being, my evenings are no longer my own.

    I am however getting a night off to go and see the English National Ballet's triple bill at Sadler's Wells on 24 March - when I finally get to see the Pina Bausch version of The Rite of Spring.


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  • 03/20/17--06:16: Olivier Awards 2017
  • Dance related nominations...

    Best new dance production

    Betroffenheit by Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young at Sadler’s Wells

    Blak Whyte Gray by Boy Blue Entertainment at Barbican theatre

    Giselle by Akram Khan and English National Ballet at Sadler’s Wells

    My Mother, My Dog and CLOWNS! by Michael Clark at Barbican theatre

    Outstanding achievement in dance

    Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for their London season at Sadler’s Wells

    Luke Ahmet for The Creation by Rambert at Sadler’s Wells

    English National Ballet for expanding the variety of their repertoire with Giselle and She Said at Sadler’s Wells

    Other nominations in other categories...

    Best entertainment and family

    The Red Shoes at Sadler’s Wells

    Best theatre choreographer

    Matthew Bourne for The Red Shoes at Sadler’s Wells

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  • 03/21/17--04:15: Trisha Brown 1936-2017
  • Trisha Brown (November 25, 1936 – March 18, 2017) was an American choreographer and dancer.

    Brown was a founding member of the Judson Dance Theater, the informal group that pioneered postmodern dance in the ’60s. A contemporary of John Cage and Yvonne Rainer, Brown made dance pieces that redefined the idea of “performing,” and became known as pedestrian movement, pushing ideas from Merce Cunningham to their logical conclusion.

    Three historic works that Brown made in 1971 suggest much in their titles alone: Walking on the Wall, Roof Piece and Accumulation. Walking had dancers suspended in harnesses moving sideways along walls; Roof spread its dancers across 12 roofs on 10 SoHo blocks; Accumulation was a formal study in graduated movement, with repeated phrases building in complexity — like sentences that each time added one word.

    The experimental dance of that era, embodied in those pieces, set itself up against virtuosity. Trisha Brown nonetheless now became a virtuoso of a new kind.

    Brown’s influence on dancers, artists and performance generally has been profoundly felt ever since.

    In the ’80s, Brown collaborated with Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd and Laurie Anderson and her work Set and Reset (1983) became another canonical contribution to 20th century dance. With its simple movements that any modern dance student would recognize as foundational to the so-called “release technique,” a dance vocabulary still widely seen in new works today, Set and Reset was once deemed “the most beloved and irresistible work of postmodern dance,” by the Times.

    Brown’s career spanned 40 years, with works for the Paris Opera Ballet, her own company and even Mikhail Baryshnikov to her credit. In 2002 she received the National Medal of the Arts.

    Trisha Brown, Choreographer Who Redefined Performance, Dead at 80 [OBSERVER]

    Trisha Brown, Choreographer and Pillar of American Postmodern Dance, Dies at 80 [New York


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    Six British dance companies come together on the Royal Opera House stages to celebrate MacMillan’s extraordinary legacy.

    Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Scottish Ballet and Yorke Dance Project come together to celebrate the profound influence of Kenneth MacMillan, marking the 25th anniversary of his death.

    A national celebration. In London.

    Manchester audiences will get the opportunity to see MacMillan's Song of the Earth at the Palace Theatre 11-14 October. This will be showing as part of an English National Ballet double bill with La Sylphide.

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    Best New Dance Production

    Betroffenheit by Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young at Sadler’s Wells

    Outstanding Achievement in Dance

    English National Ballet for expanding the variety of their repertoire with Akram Khan’s Giselle and She Said at Sadler’s Wells

    Best Theatre Choreographer

    Matthew Bourne for The Red Shoes at Sadler’s Wells

    Best Entertainment and Family

    Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes at Sadler’s Wells


    No reason for complaints here. I haven't been able to see Betroffenheit but have heard universally good things about it and would love the opportunity to see it - or anything by Crystal Pite.

    Akram Khan's Giselle is wonderful, and Tamara Rojo's revitalisation of the English National Ballet has been a remarkable and much-needed achievement, at the forefront of a new trend towards new narrative work in classical and contemporary dance.

    The Red Shoes is easily Matthew Bourne's best work for years. A wonderful show.

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    Siobhan Davies Dance: material / rearranged / to / be

    Exploring our bodies' capacity to communicate, the work includes performance, film projection, and sculptural objects that are presented as an ever-changing arrangement. Visitors enter the gallery and are immersed in a live environment that evolves around them.

    Artist Jeremy Millar provides a structure and concept for the work inspired by the practices of the art historian Aby Warburg. Warburg collected diverse images of human gestures and poses from different times and places, positioning them side by side to allow new relationships to emerge, and explore how meanings are constituted by the movement of imagery across time and space. In a similar spirit, material / rearranged / to / be presents a large-scale, modular architecture which is continually arranged and rearranged by the artists, creating new pathways through the installation and drawing visitors into a journey of discovery.

    The artists and choreographers in material / rearranged / to / be have combined Warburg’s ideas on bodily communication with the latest research in neuroscience to investigate how movement is felt, observed, and we reveal and conceal thought in physical behaviour.

    Works include choreographies on concepts of instability and disorientation, how we archive or remember past movement, along with a taxonomy of imaginary actions. Performers engage directly with the public inviting them to participate in the aggressive bodily postures and rhythms associated with argument, or to think about how we feel in relation to the actions of another through everyday activities like shaking hands. A looped video projection that oscillates in the space between live movement and recorded image highlights how our embodied intelligence anticipates future events.

    Exhibition: 6 – 14 May 2017

    Saturday Supplement: Material / Rearranged / To / Be

Saturday 6 May, 11am-4pm
    Free, no need to book

    An extraordinary day of performance, workshops and conversations alongside Material / Rearranged / To / Be, a new work by Siobhan Davies Dance. The day will feature insights and explorations on the work from leading artists, makers and thinkers. From hands on family workshops to tours and talks from curators and scientists, this day will shed light on the thinking behind Siobhan Davies Dance’s most ambitious collaboration to date.

    Photo by Pari Naderi

    After the Whitworth, the installation will tour to the Bluecoat, Liverpool. For more information visit Siobhan Davies Dance.

    With thanks to generous support from Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation.
    Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.
    Presented in collaboration with Tramway.

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    Presented by Word of Warning + Contact

    Friday 28 April 2017, 7.30pm

    All the energy of this annual whirlwind of new northern dance condensed.
    Twelve works, twelve articulations of human expression.
    One extraordinary night of dance.


    In a new format, our ninth annual platform for dancers + dance-makers sees a single night of short new dance-works, participating artists subject to change… 
    Akeim Toussaint Buck | Ane Iselin Brogeland | Born + Bred Dance Theatre | Coalesce Dance | Giorgio de Carolis | Jo Cork | Kapow Dance | Matrafisc Dance | Meraki Collective | Peter Groom Dance Theatre | Rebekka Platt | The inFamous Five
    Mr. President, Prime Minister, Ladies + Gentlemen, we stand before you…
    Folding like paper, playing with your food…
    The shifting politics of the movement of people…
    Ancestral memory, the human condition, the colour blue…
    Blind certainty, a lover’s look and a whisper from the unknown…
    Fluidly lyrical, effervescently acrobatic or eccentrically innovative, let Turn transport you into a frenzy of dance. To get a feel for it, see Turn 2016’sprogramme + image gallery.

    Venue + Booking Details

    Date: Friday 28 April 2017, 7.30pm 
    Venue: Contact, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6JA 
    Tickets: £9/5 | Ticket offers are available at Contact, please see below. 
    Box Office Tel: 0161 274 0600

    What people have said about Turn

    ★★★★ …a significant event in the annual calendar for audiences and creatives.
    The Reviews Hub, 2016 (fka Public Reviews)

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    Studio Wayne McGregor has opened a creative arts space for making. It is the new home for multi-award winning choreographer Wayne McGregor CBE and his company of dancers, Company Wayne McGregor, and will be a unique resource for artists and communities. Studio Wayne McGregor encompasses all of our creative output including creative collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science; and highly specialised Learning and Engagement and Research programmes.

    Based at Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and designed by architectural practice We Not I, Studio Wayne McGregor comprises three dance studios, including two of the largest in London, and a series of playful spaces in which to collaborate, make and create. The first arts organisation to be based on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, it is a place for making, developing creative practice, and collaboration across arts, science, technology and research.
    A cornerstone programme for Studio Wayne McGregor is FreeSpace, a major new artist development and community engagement programme which will support artists to explore innovation in new directions, form an artists’ incubation and innovation community, and provide inspiring learning opportunities led by professional practising artists to thousands of participants each year.

    Read More... at Here East
    Read more at... at Wayne McGregor

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    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

    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

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    The strikingly impressive trailer for THIS BRIGHT FIELD, THEO CLINKARD's new full-length work - his most ambitious show to date.


    MAY 25TH, 2017

    Further tour dates for THIS BRIGHT FIELD will be announced shortly.

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    Hugh Laing (6 June 1911 – 10 May 1988) was one of the most significant dramatic ballet dancers of the 20th-century.

    Wikipedia - Hugh Laing

    (I know posting a link to Wikipedia is a bit lame, but I actually created the Hugh Laing page on Wikipedia)

    Dancer Hugh Laing, 1940, photo by Carl Van Vechten

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  • 06/26/17--09:26: Service Interruption
  • Yet again, there may be an interruption in service here at Methods of Dance, not just because the summer period is generally quiet - although we are soon to hit the double bubble of MIF17 and Flare17 - but yours truly will be treading the boards again. For the second time this year I will be appearing (briefly) at the Royal Exchange - this time in ...

    Royal Exchange Theatre 
    Sat 1 – Sat 22 July 

    Co-created by Scott Graham for Frantic Assembly, Karl Hyde and Simon Stephens

    Songs and stories from a forgotten England

    World premiere

    Fatherland is a bold, ambitious show about contemporary fatherhood in all its complexities and contradictions. Created by Frantic Assembly’s Scott Graham, Karl Hyde from Underworld and playwright Simon Stephens (Punk Rock, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), this daring collage of words, music and movement will transform the Royal Exchange Theatre, animated by a 13-strong cast and a multitude of voices.

    Fatherland is a vivid, urgent and deeply personal portrait of 21st-century England at the crossroads of past, present and future. Inspired by conversations with fathers and sons from the trio’s home towns in the heart of the country, the show explores identity, nationality, masculinity – and what it means to belong in a world weighed down by the expectations of others.

    Tender and tough, honest and true, Fatherland is a vital and necessary show about what we were, who we are and what we’d like to become.


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    Photography: Manuel Vason
    This autumn UK audiences will have the first opportunity to witness the English language premiere of Jean René Lemoine's reimagining of the classic story of passion and revenge Medea

    Previewing at the Marlborough Pub & Theatre in Brighton on the 28th September, the performance will premiere at The Place London presented as part of And What? Queer. Arts. Festival before going on tour to Cambridge Junction, Norwich Arts Centre, Pavilion Dance Bournemouth, Hull Truck Theatre, Unity Theatre Liverpool as part of Homotopia Festival, Lancaster Arts Centre at University of Lancaster, and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. 

    This startling reimagining sees Medea cast as the ultimate outsider, a stranger in a foreign land, a being filled with rage. Her monologue is half witness-statement, half incantation, taking us from ancient Greece to modern Europe and back again in a provocative, blood-soaked collage of performance, opera, and sexual confession

    Lemoine’s version of Medea, already performed in France to great acclaim, reimagines this archetypal figure from classical drama as a genderless, stateless, and violently transgressive contemporary figure. The playwright, an artist of Afro-French origin born in Haiti, makes Medea a stranger in her own country, who seeks to flee from the asphyxiation of family bonds through carnal union with her brother and then in the physical bedazzlement of her encounter with Jason, the ravisher and the violator. The work speaks about marginalisation, isolation, and exile

    The performer, dancer and vocalist, François Testory fuses his extraordinary physicality, and androgynous and unique stage presence with a radical mixing of classical and contemporary vocal technique to bring the murderous figure of Medea to life in this evocative lament featuring live music by Phil Von. Testory has performed with some of Europe’s most innovative companies, including Lindsay Kemp, DV8, Rambert Dance Company, Punch Drunk, and Gecko. François Testory was last seen in Manchester at HOME in 2016 in Gecko's Institute.

    Following a hugely successful run at The Arcola with The Plague, Medea is the new work from one of the UK’s most celebrated directors and authors, Neil Bartlett. The piece is directed and translated by Bartlett who has drawn on his experience of both heightened classical drama at the largest scale and of the most intimate contemporary queer solo performance genre to create a powerful theatrical experience. Neil Bartlett was formerly Artistic Director the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith; his other recent work includes Stella (LIFT, Brighton Festival, Holland Festival 2016) and the Britten Canticles (Aldeburgh, Brighton, Royal Opera House, 2015).

    Medea has been possible thanks to the generous support of Arts Council England, The Place, the Institut Français of the United Kingdom, and SACD France (the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques). NFA International Arts & Culture is also grateful for the partnership support of The Marlborough Theatre (Brighton), And What? Queer Arts Festival, Folke, Theatre of Europe, and South East Dance.
    NFA International Arts & Culture

    In association with The Place, the Institut français du Royaume Uni, and SACD France

    Performance by François Testory
    Translation and direction by Neil Bartlett
    Corsetier, Mr Pearl
    Sound design and performance by Phillipe Fontez
    Lighting design by Chahine Yavroyan
    Stage, company and technical management by Jules Millard
    Production photography by Manuel Vason 
    Produced by Nelson Fernandez and Lia Prentaki for NFA International Arts & Culture

    2017 Tour Dates
    • Marlborough Pub & Theatre Brighton – 28-29 September
    • The Place London presented as part of And What? Queer. Arts. Festival – 5-6-7 October 
    • Cambridge Junction – 11 October
    • Norwich Arts Centre – 18 October
    • Pavilion Dance Bournemouth – 20 October
    • Hull Truck Theatre Hull – 24-25 October
    • Unity Theatre, Homotopia Festival, Liverpool – 1 November
    • Lancaster Arts, University of Lancaster – 2 November
    • Birmingham Repertory Theatre – 17-18 November

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    The Farm "Cockfight"

    Performing Lines & NORPA (Australia) and Dance Touring Partnership present
    Cockfight by The Farm
    Two blokes in an office. One older, one younger, each body pushed to its limits. A cross between The Office and an Australian style cage-fight, this game of comical one-upmanship builds to a moment of impact where everything is suspended. A flash of bared teeth, the desperation of needing to prove yourself versus the need to hold on to what you’ve got.
    Cockfight explores the power play between men, the frailty of the ageing body and questions culture’s desperate desire for achievement.
    Skilfully enacting a full-throttle mash-up of extreme physical risk-taking, graceful movement and slow-mo fight sequences, this darkly humorous and surprisingly tender piece of dance theatre by The Farm, sees long-time collaborators Joshua Thomson and Gavin Webber reassess who is in charge.
    Without each other these two performers have nothing left to fight for.
    “It is sidesplittingly hilarious and beautifully athletic and graceful.” ABC Arts
    “[Cockfight] is physical theatre at its most extreme: bodies slam into walls and office furniture, and perilous interlocking rolls, tackles and lunges fling performers through space.” The Australian
    “Its physicality is masterful and its comedy biting” Dance Australia
    “At times broadly comedic, with a Buster Keaton-esque physicality on show, Cockfight switches effortlessly to moments of beauty and poignancy” ArtsHub
    “They’re terrific movers, speedy, strong and fearless…”
    Originally commissioned by NORPA and supported by DanceNorth, Townsville; the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Cairns (COCA); Arts Queensland and the Australia Council for the Arts, and toured by Performing Lines. The Farm is supported by the Gold Coast City Council. UK tour is funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
    Running time 70 mins
    Age suitability 14+
    Photos by Kate Holmes (promo)/Darcy Grant (production shots)
    Directors Kate Harman, Julian Louis, Joshua Thomson & Gavin Webber for The Farm
    Performers Joshua Thomson and Gavin Webber
    Lighting Design Mark Howett
    Sound Design Luke Smiles
    Set Design Joey Ruigrok & Joshua Thomson
    Producers The Farm in association with NORPA and Performing Lines
    At The Farm, work is made in a collaborative process where everyone brings their expertise without being confined to it. All animals are equal.
    [Tour dates have yet to be confirmed so it is not definite that this show will be appearing at The Lowry.]

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    Support the Campaign here

    Why is this important?

    Greenwich Dance plays a vital role in the dance ecology of this country, and the decision of Arts Council England directly affects their capacity to continue operating in the future. This has a massive ramification for the professional freelance independent dance community based in London and beyond.
    This statement has been initiated by a body of freelance artists acting independently of Greenwich Dance as an organisation. We seek to strengthen Greenwich Dance’s case when applying for alternative funding streams and aim to lobby for their future support as the organisation which is best placed to provide much needed critical support for the independent dance sector in England.
    A large portion of Greenwich Dance’s focus is on creating quality dance engagements for the local community and for non-professional dancers; however this statement focuses on their artist development support and provision for the continued enabling of professional dance work.
    Greenwich Dance provide a range of tailored support and employment for a diverse body of artists, from recent graduates to established artists and dance companies including performers, teachers, producers, technicians, accompanists/musicians, mentors, facilitators, dance companies and choreographers.
    The shape of this support includes affordable professional classes (with live music), subsidised studio and office space, set and equipment storage, meeting rooms, teaching work, performance opportunities, associate artist relationships, work-in-progress sharings, feedback and post show discourse, assistance with applications, technical support, marketing advice and advocacy.
    Consequently, the artists they engage are enabled to realise a range of projects, training, practices, research and touring productions, in London, nationally and internationally.
    Greenwich Dance identify early potential and demonstrate a commitment to continued support, as a result they have kick-started the careers of many of our most celebrated dance artists and this work contributes significantly to the artistic and economic value of the arts sector.
    Greenwich Dance fundamentally understand that effective artist support is more than a set of easily quantifiable structures or visible schemes. Instead they give importance to working with artists in a responsive and bespoke way which enables a wealth of dynamic, long-lasting and often pioneering relationships. They have spent 25 years developing a culture within the organisation that understands the strength and value of attending to the ‘how’ of its many artist centric operations. It is the open door, the welcome, the listening, the quality of feedback and the personal human-scale nature of the place which has enabled incredible work to be fostered and makes many of us consider it a home for our respective practices.
    Greenwich Dance’s professional classes for contemporary dance artists encompass the broad range of current practices and approaches that are being engaged in across the dance scene at any given time. The breadth of those classes means that Greenwich Dance is the studio of choice for many of the contemporary dancers and teachers who are based in or visiting London.
    The ability of dance artists to live, train and work in London is already pushed to breaking point and the opportunities for surviving as an artist in the city are increasingly reduced to those with the ability to self-subsidise the work they do. Taking away the support that Greenwich Dance provide is like putting up yet another obstacle for people from low income backgrounds to succeed in our industry.
    The cut to Greenwich Dance’s funding to help independent artists in London and the recent Arts Council devolution of funds towards the regions, appears to be an encouragement for the workforce to leave the city. However this is unsustainable for dancers to manage without continued professional classes outside the capital and without any onus on dance organisations in these areas to provide them. London continues to provide the majority of employment, and unless better opportunities are created for the independent sector outside the city, dancers will be reluctant to move.
    While we appreciate that an increased level of financial support directly to dance companies will help sustain their practices, we are concerned that the needs and value of the independent sector have been overlooked. Furthermore, both dance companies and independent artists need an organisation like Greenwich Dance to co-ordinate, advise, advocate and partner on projects. Removing funding from Greenwich Dance leaves an unbalanced ecology.
    Greenwich Dance applied for an incredibly small amount of funding when viewed against the other NPO’s, yet the potential impact and breadth of their investment, through the hundreds of artists they engage cannot be overestimated.
    The funding cut you have made is a deep wound currently felt by the entire professional freelance independent dance community and evidence that you value their contribution to the dance industry is desperately sought. We hope this statement brings greater clarity to the essential role that Greenwich Dance plays in this equation and makes visible the number of people who are impacted by decisions about its future.

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  • 07/27/17--01:48: Sir Anton Dolin 1904-1983
  • Sir Anton Dolin, (1904 – 1983) 

    Anton Dolin joined Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1921, and was a principal from 1924.  He danced with the Vic-Wells Ballet in the 30s and went on to found the London Festival Ballet with Alicia Markova.

    His early career with Ballets Russes made him the first internationally-acclaimed male British ballet star.

    He joined Ballet Theater (now American Dance Theater) when it was formed in 1940 and remained there as a dancer and choreographer until 1946.

    Dolin was knighted in 1981.

    Dolin was born on 27 July, 1904, in Sussex, England. His real name was Sydney Francis Patrick Chippendall Healey- Kay. His friends called him Pat.

    Dolin had a long-term relationship with John Gilpin (1930 – 1983), principal dancer of the London Festival Ballet for over twenty years. Gilpin was also married twice, from 1960-70 to dancer and choreographer Sally Judd (one child, a daughter), and briefly, from July 1983 to his death in September of that year to Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy (Monaco).

    Sir Anton Dolin, (1904 – 1983) 1924 by Bassano © National Portrait Gallery, London

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    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 Draculaare 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. 

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    Stop Using Audience Vox Pops as Marketing!

    It's as simple as that. A plea to companies (and the large ones are the most guilty as they have the most resources for marketing and for making the damn things) and theatres - stop using audience vox pops as marketing.

    Sticking a camera in the audiences faces as they come blinking out of a show and asking them what they thought is lazy, uncritical and fake. Even when the show is good.

    Do some proper marketing.


    As a reviewer, it takes me a few hours, often overnight, to fully process what I have watched. When I have a very enthusiastic or emotional response to a show, it doesn't always survive those hours of consideration.  Sometimes, time gives a greater appreciation than the raw experience.  

    So, straight out of the theatre is the worst time to get either an honest or an accurate response to a piece of performance.

    Rant over. 

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    Akram Khan Company have just announced Akram’s 'most anticipated new solo', XENOS, which will mark his final performances as a dancer in a full-length piece.

    In this brand-new work commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, Akram explores the myth of Prometheus – the Titan who stole fire and gave it to mankind – through the experience of an Indian colonial soldier in the First World War.
    Was Prometheus’ gift the blessing or the curse of mankind? By revisiting the classical Greek myth in the context of the most violent century in human history, XENOS reveals the beauty and horror of the human condition.
     XENOS, meaning ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’, seeks to express tales of loss, hope and redemption, through a movement language that shifts between classical kathak and contemporary dance.
     Akram has brought together a stellar creative team. Along with dramaturg Ruth Little and acclaimed Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill, he teams up with German designer Mirella Weingarten, award-winning lighting designer Michael Hulls, costume designer Kimie Nakano, and composer Vincenzo Lamagna.
    Akram will be joined onstage by five international musicians: percussionist B C Manjunath, vocalist Aditya Prakash, bass player Nina Harries, violinist Andrew Maddick, and saxophonist Tamar Osborn.
    The production will premiere on 21 February 2018 at Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens, and will have its UK première at Sadler’s Wells, London from 29 May – 9 June, as part of their Spring 2018 Season. London tickets go on sale on Monday 6 November at 10am. More international tour dates will be announced later.
    Photos by Nicol Vizioli