Articles on this Page
- 04/09/18--05:30: _2019 - The Year in ...
- 01/25/19--03:27: _2020 - The Year In ...
- 08/19/19--07:08: _Repertoire - Sharon...
- 10/15/19--05:39: _Manchester? No, sor...
- 11/01/19--05:40: _2019 BroadwayWorld ...
- 11/07/19--01:22: _Hofesh Schechter ne...
- 11/13/19--09:33: _Week 53 will return
- 11/29/19--09:44: _2019 - Review of th...
- 12/04/19--02:00: _2019 | Review of t...
- 12/05/19--05:32: _Whats on Stage Awar...
- 01/06/20--09:47: _Dance in Manchester...
- 01/10/20--05:11: _'Dance is not a mus...
- 01/17/20--04:50: _FEARGHUS Ó CONCHÚIR...
- 01/30/20--05:23: _Choreographer Liam ...
- 01/31/20--09:55: _2020 - The Year in ...
- 02/04/20--10:33: _Siobhan Davies step...
- 02/10/20--06:01: _Sharon Watson in mo...
- 02/14/20--04:32: _Categories of Dance
- 02/14/20--05:12: _Wayne McGregor brin...
- 02/20/20--02:18: _National Dance Awar...
- 02/28/20--03:02: _2021 - The Year in ...
- 03/03/20--08:19: _Richard Alston: Dar...
- 03/04/20--02:54: _Olivier Awards 2020
- 03/19/20--07:29: _COVID19
- 03/23/20--12:22: _Choreographer Liam ...
- 04/09/18--05:30: 2019 - The Year in Dance
- The Nutcracker | Russian State Ballet of Siberia | Bridgewater Hall | 2-3 January
- 01/25/19--03:27: 2020 - The Year In Dance
- Swan Lake | Birmingham Royal Ballet | The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] | 4-7 March
- 08/19/19--07:08: Repertoire - Sharon Eyal
- AUTODANCE (2017) (GOTEBORGS OPERANS DANSKOMPANI, SWEDEN)
- BEDROOM FOLK (2015) (NDT1)
- BILL (2010) (BATSHEVA DANCE COMPANY) (BALLET BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA)
- CORPS DE WALK (2011) (CARTE BLANCHE, NORWAY)
- FEELINGS (2016) (NDT2)
- HALF LIFE (ROYAL SWEDISH BALLET) (STAATSBALLET BERLIN)
- HOUSE (2011) (BATSHEVA DANCE COMPANY)
- KILLER PIG (2009)(CARTE BLANCHE,NORWAY) (RAMBERT 2)
- LOVE CHAPTER 2 (2016) (L-E-V)
- LOVE CHAPTER 3: THE BRUTAL JOURNEY OF THE HEART(2019) (L-E-V)
- OCD LOVE (2015) (L-E-V)
- PLAFOMA (2012) (TANZCOMPAGNIE OLDENBURG, GERMANY)
- PROCESS DAY (SCOTTISH DANCE THEATRE, UK)
- R A K M D L G D (L-E-V) (2019)
- SALT WOMB (2016) (NDT1)
- SARA (2013) (NDT2)
- THE LOOK (2019) (BATSHEVA DANCE COMPANY, ISRAEL)
- TOO BEAUCOUP (2011) (HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO, USA)
- UNTITLED BLACK (2012) (GOTEBORGS OPERANS DANSKOMPANI, SWEDEN)
- USED TO BE BLONDE (NATIONAL YOUTH DANCE COMPANY, UK) (2018)
- 10/15/19--05:39: Manchester? No, sorry 2020
- 11/01/19--05:40: 2019 BroadwayWorld UK Awards
- Four Quartets, Pam Tanowitz, Barbican
- Matthew Bourne's Romeo + Juliet, Matthew Bourne/New Adventures, UK Tour
- Pendulum/Click!/Ingoma, Ballet Black, UK Tour
- She Persisted, English National Ballet, Sadler's Wells
- The Mother, Arthur Pita, Queen Elizabeth Hall
- Victoria, Northern Ballet, UK Tour
- 11/07/19--01:22: Hofesh Schechter news for 2020
- 11/13/19--09:33: Week 53 will return
- 11/29/19--09:44: 2019 - Review of the Year
- Distant Matter / Half Life | Staatsballett Berlin | Komische Oper Berlin, Berlin | June
- R A K M D L G D | L-E-V | Bold Tendencies, Peckham Rye, London | August [part of: Sharon Eyal, Gai Behar and L-E-V residency at Bold Tendencies]
- NÄSS (Les Gens) | Compagnie Massala | Riley Theatre, Leeds | Feb
- Mixed Bill [Grey Matter | E2 7SD | Killer Pig | Rambert2 | Cast, Doncaster | March
- Romeo + Juliet | Matthew Bourne's New Adventures | The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] | June
- Triple Bill (Wayne McGregor | Marion Motin | Hofesh Shechter) | Rambert | The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] | October / November
- Used To Be Blonde | National Youth Dance Company | Bold Tendencies, Peckham Rye, London | August [part of: Sharon Eyal, Gai Behar and L-E-V residency at Bold Tendencies]
- Invisible Cities | Rambert | Mayfield, Manchester | July [part of: MIF19]
- Awakening (Afterimage/Revellers' Mass/Tundra) | National Dance Company Wales | Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield | April
- BEAT | Igor + Moreno | The Lowry [Compass Room] | October
- Torus | Humanhood - Humanhood built on their impressive debut piece Zero by returning with five dancers and another cohesive piece of creative abstract dance.
- Them/Us | Balletboyz - Them was kind of Balletboyz by numbers, choreographed collaboratively by the company's dancers (as if this was an innovative idea), but the extended version of a previous duet, Us by Christopher Wheeldon, was something of a revelation: exquisitely-performed - especially the central duet by Bradley Waller and Harry Price - Us carried a genuine emotional kick.
- She Persisted | English National Ballet - another female-created triple bill from Tamaro Rojo's ENB featuring the marvellous Frida Kahlo-themed Broken Wings, a new, short ballet based on Ibsen's Ghosts, Nora by Stina Quagebeur, and - the main reason this show gets a mention here - ENB's version of Pina Bausch's The Rite of Spring. Not the first time I have seen it but it lost none of its terrible beauty and devastating impact a second time.
- Autobiography | Wayne MgGregor - I have been struggling to retain the love for McGregor;s choreography inspired by my first encounter with Entity in 2012 but Autobiography contained more than enough flash and thrill to reconnect me with some of that excitement.
- Grand Finale | Hofesh Shechter Company - the fifth time I have seen this and it topped the 2018 review and it is still tremendous. Sorry about it.
- Shut Down | Vincent Dance Theatre - a dance theatre show exploring masculinity should have ticked several boxes and once may have done but I have rarely felt more uncomfortable or less-understood watching dance.
- Pepperland | Mark Morris Dance Group - the legendary Mark Morris is an American great whose work I have wanted to see, someone I needed to have seen. But Pepperland - a bizarre primary-coloured celebration of The Beatles was a baffling appraisal of Sgt Peppers that seemed based on an American view of a Great Britain that has likely never existed and certainly doesn't now. Oddly stilted for all its energy and felt dated in its choreography.
- 12/04/19--02:00: 2019 | Review of the Year | the Top 10
- 12/05/19--05:32: Whats on Stage Awards 2020
- 01/06/20--09:47: Dance in Manchester (and maybe everywhere else)
- 01/31/20--09:55: 2020 - The Year in Dance - The Rolling Review
- Aisha and Abhaya | Rambert | Linbury Studio Theatre, ROH, London | 24 January *****
- Child (Kind) | Peeping Tom | Barbican | 26 January *****
- 02/10/20--06:01: Sharon Watson in move from Phoenix to NSCD
- 02/14/20--04:32: Categories of Dance
- 02/14/20--05:12: Wayne McGregor brings Margaret Atwood's work to the stage
- 02/20/20--02:18: National Dance Awards 2020 - The Winners
- 02/28/20--03:02: 2021 - The Year in Dance
- Cinderella | Birmingham Royal Ballet | The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] | 3-6 March
- 03/04/20--02:54: Olivier Awards 2020
- 03/19/20--07:29: COVID19
- 03/23/20--12:22: Choreographer Liam Scarlett to leave Royal Ballet [BBC]
My annual list of companies that miss Manchester (or Salford) from their touring. Just for information. Will be updated if there is news.
An 18-venue spring tour has been announced for their new show Deluxe in 2020 with more dates to be announced. But not Manchester or Salford, and the company consistently now miss the city entirely.
Mark Bruce Company
Spring dates for 2020 announced for new production Return to Heaven but the company has not visited Manchester since the Dracula tour in 2014 (missing the last two shows, The Odyssey and Macbeth)
The shortlist is announced for the 2019 BroadwayWorld UK Awards, celebrating the best long-running West End productions and best new productions from around the country.
CLICK HERE TO VOTE
Voting is open until Friday, 22 November, with the winners announced soon afterwards.
The only significant dance category (apart from Best Choreography of a New Production of a Play or Musical) is:
Outstanding Achievement in a New Dance Production
I have seen Hofesh Shechter Company more times than any other contemporary company since I first started watching dance so I am saddened to read of the departure of three of their longstanding dancers: the incredible Erion Kruja, Kim Kohlmann and Merel Lammers.
All three are moving on to new projects and I wish them well and will keep an eye out for them in the future.
The five amazing dancers who I watched and loved three nights in a row at HOME in tHE bAD (and then twice more when that became the central section of Barbarians: a trilogy) have now all left the company...
In other news, the company have announced new projects for 2020: Double Murder - a new double bill of Clowns and a new, 'gentler' work - will premiere at the Brighton Festival in May then appear at HOME and tour.
Hopefully the BBC film of Clowns that was shown as part of their Performance Live season in 2018, will become available again.
Some of the exciting Shechter II's first incarnation are moving to replace Erion, Kim and Merel in the main company and the new incarnation will be touring a new, reworked POLITICAL MOTHER UNPLUGGED. The original production of Political Mother is still probably the most remarkable, experiential dance show I have ever seen, so I look forward to seeing it i this new version.
Grand Finale will continue to tour.
Fri 23 April - Sun 3 May 2020
The festival returns. WEEK 53– the Lowry’s biennial festival for the compulsively curious – is back.
The Lowry will be announcing the full line-up over the coming months. Hopefully that line-up will include some dance again.
The best of 2019 -
|Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar's Half Life|
Unfortunately for van Dijk this was completely blown out of the water by Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar's Half Life, restaged for Staatsballet Berlin - in the process somewhat re-positioning the company within the European dance landscape (a new team of artistic directors including Sasha Waltz has pulled more contemporary work into this classical company's repertoire to stunning affect and acclaim).
I am already living for Eyals' work and Half Life is remarkable even within her already impressive canon: dark, sinister, sexy, thrilling and completely overwhelming, with another of Ori Lichtik's techno walls of sound powering it relentlessly on. Game-changing stuff.
|R A K M D L G|
R A K M D L G D is presented in two halves supported by the sterling work by two DJs: first half by the company's regular music-maker Ori Lichtik, the second by residency collaborator Koreless from the Young Rascals stable (with whom they created a show in their third week at Bold). The show itself - the dancers clad in the same black bodysuits as for NYDC's Used To Be Blonde, with the addition of heavy individual makeup - was classic Eyal: detailed, repetitive, accumulative, shifting from tiny movements to explosive, sometimes flamboyant use of the space. However, the nature of the experiment and the DJ soundtracks also gave the piece a looseness and sense of fun - if a kind of dark, pleasantly-creepy kind of fun. There was a sense of joyous playfulness and excitement that was completely enthralling.
Clearly some of the material had been re-purposed and re-digested into something new but Eyal's work - even at its most familiar (if one has been lucky enough to see her other work) - still aches with a sense of difference, creativity and immersion that is compelling and much-needed.
|Compagnie Massala: NÄSS|
I saw this on the second day of February and knew it was going to be one of my favourite shows of the year. I keep hoping they will manage to come back to the UK for further dates as the show has been touring internationally throughout 2019.
As Rambert2 had not yet been scheduled to visit the north west and it looked unlikely to be included in this tour Doncaster became the most feasible venue once I had missed the London dates.
The entire programme was strong: Benoit Swan Pouffer's Grey Matter was dynamic and exciting and Shechter-ish, Rafael Bonachela's 'vintage' Place Prize-winning E2 7SD was a revelation of quickfire choreography, beautifully performed by Conor Kerrigan and Aishwarya Raut, but oh, Killer Pig was truly amazing. Intensely strange, beautiful, edgy, distinctive and twisted it was the epitome of exciting cutting-edge dance: one of those pieces of dance that creates a permanent notch on your personal timeline; that resets your appreciation of what dance is capable of when unshackled from the past, and makes most other things you see seem feeble in comparison, in ambition, in intensity, in creative audacity. Rambert2's young dancers are remarkable too. Much like Shechter 2, the young talent out there is amazing, if they get the opportunity to demonstrate it.
However, his re-siting of the narrative in the near future within some kind of sinister secure young people's institution - the Verona Institute - and replacing rival gangs and the social impetus to marry and conform with sexual abuse, social control, mental health and the abusive, seemingly-inescapable friction between youth and authority is rather clever. And despite the twists to the narrative this R&J delivers the same unexpected gut punches as the 'classic' versions. Powerful, tender, touching, disturbing, relatable and heartbreaking.
The staging is expectedly strong, and the re-purposed but authentic use of the Prokofiev soundtrack is highly effective (I did wonder if I would prefer a Vincenzo Lamagna-style new-old mashup a la Akram Khan's Giselle but I checked myself during the performance and the music was working perfectly). In summary, Matthew Bourne has really delivered something special and even important. And this from someone who has major issues with his reworking of Cinderella and hated Sleeping Beauty.
I've not seen Wayne McGregor's PreSentient (2002) before but I remember what a game-changer seeing his work for the first time was for me. Now his then-startling dislocations and hyper-extensions look characteristic and familiar, but still distinctively McGregor. PreSentient is packed with enough fluidity and effortlessly-luscious snap and flow that it still looks great and especially so with Rambert's refreshed and re-energised company.
|Marion Motin's Rouge|
I did see Hofesh Shechter's In Your Rooms in 2008, in a blisteringly-exciting double bill with Uprising: my first encounter with the company I have now seen more than any other. Again, with the benefit of hindsight it isn't so alarmingly different but it is still a thrill-ride of dark passion and creative confidence shot through with uncertainty: and no one choreographs the horror of the world and people's redemptive power to endure it better than Hofesh. The live music and Lee Curran's gorgeous and complex lighting design amp it up significantly.
This triple bill was a bold and thrilling programme that mapped really closely to my personal journey with dance and a clarion call to be brave and striking and innovative and challenging. The Rambert renaissance endures.
|Invisible Cities at MIF19|
That was the official blurb and Invisible Cities mostly delivered. An impressive mix of performance, genuinely-epic staging that transformed the remarkable space of Mayfield, and spectacle that genuinely felt distinctive, world-class and experiential. This was a great project for Rambert to be involved in and they are looking really different as a company, their ranks bolstered by the newly-promoted members of Rambert2. Invisible Cities is a show I would gladly watch again but feel no particular need to. This is not a show I felt an especial visceral or emotional connection with: but I'm certainly very glad I was able to see it and in that incredible space.
As in 2018, they performed Marcos Morau's Tundra. Then they lacked the precision required to deliver a piece that is very focused and detailed in its choreography; drawing from Russian history Tundra is very stylised and dystopian with precise movements that ripple up, down and along the line of linked dancers. I loved the design and choreography but the flaws were glaring. Tonight it worked. It was atmospheric, chilling and beautiful.
Finally, Caroline Finn's Reveller's Mass. Last year I said: 'Caroline Finn's The Green House was intriguing but I wished they had pushed the strangeness and surreality further - the staging reminded me of the work of Peeping Tom, who take things to a greater extreme.'Reveller's Mass considers themes of ritual, decadence and excess through the lens of Renaissance paintings and Finn certainly pushed this piece to the extreme. Bizarre, demented, lavish and thrilling, this piece was almost Bausch-esque, and with its gorgeous costumes, dark lighting and more exciting acting from the cast: a fun, lively and visceral piece of disturbia with a glorious soundtrack. Generally, NDCWales looked back on form with some really distinctive individuals becoming apparent.
|Margherita Elliot: BEAT|
The Best of the Rest -
Disappointments of the year...
The complete Methods of Dance show-by-show review of 2019 can be found here
Shows seen in 2019: Ballet 3 | Dance 27 | Physical Theatre 4 | Cirque 1 | Total: 35
1 | Distant Matter / Half Life | Staatsballett Berlin | Komische Oper Berlin, Berlin | June
2 | R A K M D L G D | L-E-V | Bold Tendencies, Peckham Rye, London | August [part of: Sharon Eyal, Gai Behar and L-E-V residency at Bold Tendencies]
3 | NÄSS (Les Gens) | Compagnie Massala | Riley Theatre, Leeds | February
4 | Mixed Bill [Grey Matter | E2 7SD | Killer Pig] | Rambert2 | Cast, Doncaster | March
5 | Romeo + Juliet | Matthew Bourne's New Adventures | The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] | June
6 | Triple Bill (Wayne McGregor | Marion Motin | Hofesh Shechter) | Rambert | The Lowry [Lyric Theatre] | October/November
7 | Used To Be Blonde | National Youth Dance Company | Bold Tendencies, Peckham Rye, London | August [part of: Sharon Eyal, Gai Behar and L-E-V residency at Bold Tendencies]
8 | Invisible Cities | Rambert | Mayfield, Manchester | July [part of: MIF19]
9 | Awakening (Afterimage/Revellers' Mass/Tundra) | National Dance Company Wales | Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield | April
10 | BEAT | Igor + Moreno | The Lowry [Compass Room] | October
|The dancers of L-E-V in Parts of Love at Bold Tendencies|
About the WhatsOnStage Awards
Each year thousands of theatregoers up and down the country nominate their favourite performers and shows in a number of categories. Nominations open on Tuesday 29 October and close on Wednesday 27 November 2019.
When the nominations close the top five nominees in each of those categories are put forward for the final vote along with the short-listed nominees in the technical categories*.
The full shortlist of nominees will be announced on Thursday 5 December 2019 when voting then opens and runs until Monday 27 January 2020.
*The shortlist for the technical categories (Choreography, Costume Design, Direction, Graphic Design, Lighting Design, Musical Direction, Set Design, Sound Design and Video Design) will be decided by an independent panel of industry experts appointed by WhatsOnStage. Their shortlist will then be voted on by the general public.
There are only two dance nominations: Choreography for Matthew Bourne for Romeo & Juliet and Best Costume Design for Lez Brotherston for Romeo & Juliet. As deemed to be technical categories Joe Public doesn't get to vote on either of these.
But if you like musicals there are lots of nominations you can vote for.
Manchester will never develop a stronger dance audience or community without a dedicated dance venue or centre and a robust regional dance development agency and a strong commitment, supported by funding obviously, to make a significant change.
So far as I can tell, Manchester City Council has been very resistant to acknowledging this truth, relying on The Lowry to magically provide some kind of dance infrastructure in the city - sorry, the adjacent city.
Dance Manchester lost its funding and passed its mantle on to the city's only dance company of anything resembling national significance, Company Chameleon, which is no solution, maybe actually a bad solution.
Salford University offers dance training programmes but MMU have not only closed their Crewe campus but closed the dance training they provided there. They are building a new theatre in the heart of the city to replace the Capitol but dance will not have a home there. A robust dance culture works better with a community of dance, performance and movement students of all ages from GCE to postgraduate.
The Dancehouse is a dancehouse in name only, home to a mediocre dance school providing dance training for whatever the opposite of the cream of dance students is, and bolstering the dance ranks of regional musical theatre touring and cruise ships entertainment.
In the past ten years I have seen Manchester's once reasonably well-established but weirdly invisible and isolationist dance ecology become even more invisible or increasingly work away from the city. The face that CONTACT's closure has seen TURN - which was the annual opportunity to see what on earth these people you mostly never see at any other time - are doing and working on disappear for two years. The attempt to build and encourage dance in Manchester - Manchester Dance Consortium - starved in face of lack of oxygen or enthusiasm from more than a literal handful of individuals.
Greenroom closed due to funding cuts; despite best efforts audiences seem unwilling or incapable of travelling to Z-Arts or other 'out-of-town'; venues; Waterside , Sale programmes dance but doesn't attract big audiences in my experience, not helped by the occasionally poor quality of their programming; CONTACT left dance high and dry with its potentially risky capital infrastructure plan that has closed it for two years; HOME has largely failed as a self-programming theatre thus far -symptomatic of something of a crisis in creative, less-commercial theatre nationally - and has never supported dance as it promised to; commercial pressures and some incomprehensible programming - not to mention terrifyingly conservative audiences - have knocked much of the dance puff out of The Lowry's sails.
I believe the picture is national to an extent, and I do believe that dance is in some serious trouble caused by a complex matrix of funding cuts, community engagement that only is of interest to the participants; educational strangulation and a failure to feed or stimulate a dance audience at a national level. Dance on TV only translates to support for ballroom styles, cabaret fluff and flashily empty street dance. And people are more interested in dancing in the aisles than watching dancing on the stage.
The only bright spots are (in Manchester) the Factory - if MIF and the artistic and programming team that will run it continue to support dance - and the considerable talent and innovation in this country that continues to thrive in the face of all the forces that suck the life out of dance infrastructure - and the impact of Brexit on this is still hard to fully assess. Brexit could seriously compromise the internationalism and international creative collaboration that makes dance so richly and culturally vibrant.
So, what is the answer? And what are the questions?
An interesting article in The Guardian on race, culture and context in classical ballet.
'Dance is not a museum': how ballet is reimagining problematic classics [the Guardian]
Historical ballets are rife with offensive colonial politics but choreographers and dancers are finding creative ways to change them for today’s audiencesAnd in November 2019
Blackface and Fu Manchu moustaches: does ballet have a race problem? [the Guardian]
Jane McCloskey, Chair of the NDCWales Board, said:
“Fearghus is stepping down with regret to get a better work-life balance. He is deputy chair of Arts Council Ireland, while his family life is in London, and it’s proved really tough to balance all of this with the demands of being artistic director of a major company in a third capital city.
“After two years of getting to know Fearghus and working with him as our Artistic Director, I know how hard this decision has been for him personally. However, the relationship between Fearghus and the Company remains very warm. We’re very proud of the direction that the Company has set, and he’s been a key part of that. We’re sorry that this year will be his last as artistic director, but we all intend that he will return in future to work with us on various projects.”
Fearghus’s work will continue with NDCWales, both in the Rygbi project that continues to grow and the 2020-22 programme he played such a significant part in developing.
The Royal Ballet’s top choreographer has been suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct involving his students.
The independent disciplinary investigation was opened immediately, and is continuing.
No findings have been made against Scarlett, the Times [has] reported, but it is thought that the claims may span a decade, and involve current and former dancers under Scarlett’s instruction at the time of the alleged misconduct.
Siobhan Davies Studios is looking for an experienced Artistic Director/s to lead the organisation, bringing the wealth of independent dance practice to the widest and most diverse community of audiences.
UK based Siobhan Davies Dance was founded in 1988 by pioneering choreographer Siobhan Davies CBE. Under her auspices Siobhan Davies Dance evolved from being a national and international touring dance company into Siobhan Davies Studios: an investigative contemporary art organisation, widely regarded as the UK leader of investigative and interdisciplinary work in dance and choreography. The organisation is especially respected for evolving relationships between dance and visual arts through the UK and internationally.
|Photo by Felix Clay|
While she will continue to work artistically, Siobhan Davies will step down as Artistic Director of SDS this year. Among other projects for 2020 and 2021, she is producing a film with long time collaborator David Hinton to celebrate her seventieth birthday and the seventy works she has made so far. Based on her Transparencies practice, this film looks at a collection of images significant to her thinking and doing throughout her career. The premiere is planned for 2021.
In the current political and economic context of increasing challenge and rapid change a clear approach is essential. Siobhan Davies Studios believes that the resources of choreography are invaluable in navigating this moment. Siobhan Davies Studios is rooted in a community of creators and audiences who experiment and collaborate to investigate and create: in order to meet the demands of their community both now and in the future, Siobhan Davies Studios is currently working to reimagine the way in which they work in order to give artists the freedom and autonomy that they need. Most specifically Siobhan Davies Studios is considering a shift in their producing and programming processes to allow for a more flexible approach.
This is a fantastic opportunity for somebody. Even I have done workshops at Siobhan Davies Studios in my capacity as a volunteer performer.
As Siobhan Davies is stepping back as a director and Richard Alston retires his company and departs The Place, 2020 perhaps marks the year that British contemporary dance reaches full maturity, as both are pioneers and original founders.
Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) is delighted to announce Sharon Watson as its new Chief Executive and Principal.
Watson, who is currently the longest standing Artistic Director of Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre, will begin her tenure as CEO and Principal of NSCD in May 2020.
Sharon Watson said: “I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to be appointed CEO and Principal of Northern School of Contemporary Dance. My relationship with the school has spanned 35 years and to be able to continue the legacy of Nadine Senior MBE is incredibly rewarding. I cannot wait to join the team and to work with the exceptional teaching staff who understand the importance of creativity and talent development. Students of NSCD are renowned worldwide, this is certainly something to be proud of and to continue to build on.”
Watson grew up in Leeds and was one of Nadine Senior’s pupils at Harehills Middle School before going on to study at London Contemporary Dance School in 1983. On leaving the school she was one of the first female dancers to join all-male Phoenix Dance Theatre, and in 1996 she attended NSCD to complete a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Dance) degree. Watson returned to Phoenix Dance Theatre in 2009 to take up the role of Artistic Director.
Categories of Dance
1. Essential Modern: the kind of dance I want to be watching now and at this time: edgy contemporary in theme and style, cutting edge, progressive, exciting. Likely to be choreographer or artist driven rather than company-led.
Examples: L-E-V (Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar), Hofesh Shechter
2. Quality Contemporary: companies and choreographers that are producing/continuing to produce high quality contemporary dance that reflects the best the genre has to offer.
Examples: Wayne McGregor; Rambert; Russell Maliphant Dance Company, Michael Clark Company
3. The Mainstream: companies that are still producing the kind of work that UK dance companies produce but without consistently achieving transcendent quality, innovation or excitement. Sometimes great, sometimes blah.
Examples: Phoenix Dance Theatre, Ballet Black, National Dance Company Wales; Scottish Dance Theatre, BalletBoyz; CanDoCo
4. Mavericks, Upstarts and Innovators: companies that are punching above their weight, hard to categorise, interesting. Will either remain as mavericks or progress to another category over time.
Examples: DeNada Dance Theatre, Humanhood, Igor + Moreno, Clod Ensemble, Holly Blakey; Teac Damsa; Lost Dog Dance, Gary Clarke Company
5. International Modern: Companies that combine the qualities of Essential Modern and Quality Contemporary but in an international context. Rarely seen in the UK outside London (next best options: Edinburgh International Festival, Birmingham International Dance Festival)
Examples: NDT, NDT2, Carte Blanche, Göteborgs Operans Danskompani, Danish Dance Theatre, Iceland Dance Company, Ballet National de Marseille
6. The Midstream: companies that are managing to produce and tour work that is neither especially interesting or remarkable or progressive.
7. Solo Operators: individual dance artists (or duos) pursuing their own 'lonely' furrow, sometimes older. Can be amazing.
Examples: Claire Cunningham, Wendy Houstoun, Liz Aggiss, Jo Fong
8. Family favourites: companies that are hugely commercially successful (sometimes but not always deservedly) and those that are happy (or wise enough) to just make work that has a broad family appeal, accessible (or specifically) for kids.
Examples: New Adventures (Matthew Bourne), BalletLorent, Arthur Pita
A brand new ballet based on a trilogy of Margaret Atwood's novels will come to London.
Acclaimed choreographer Wayne McGregor will be staging the show in a collaboration with the Royal Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada.
The three-act ballet, titled MaddAddam, will reach London in 2022, after having its world premiere in Canada this November.
Atwood’s trilogy is set in a near post-apocalyptic future, beset with plague, pandemic and the threat of extinction for humanity.
Featuring a specially composed score by Max Richter, the ballet will reunite the creative team from McGregor’s Olivier Award-winning ballet Woolf Works, which united three of Virginia Woolf’s masterworks.
Director of the Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare said: “Wayne’s genius in bringing together some of the most exciting creative forces in art today reveals itself again with this latest venture. Collaborating with Margaret Atwood, author of some of the most haunting and potent writing in contemporary literature, is a wonderful prospect for our next co-production with The National Ballet of Canada.”
London National Dance Awards, run by the dance branch of the Critics’ Circle, celebrate their 20th anniversary this year.
The awards were held on February 19 in London.
The winners in full
Best male dancer
Marcelino Sambé, Royal Ballet
Best female dancer
Francesca Hayward, Royal Ballet
San Francisco Ballet
Best independent company
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance
Best classical choreography
Alexei Ratmansky for Shostakovich Trilogy, San Francisco Ballet
Best modern choreography
William Forsythe for A Quiet Evening of Dance, Sadler’s Wells
Stina Quagebeur, choreographer, English National Ballet
Outstanding female performance (classical)
Katja Khaniukova as Frida in Broken Wings, English National Ballet
Outstanding male performance (classical)
Gary Avis as Kulygin in Winter Dreams, Royal Ballet
Outstanding female performance (modern)
Solène Weinachter as Juliet in Juliet and Romeo, Lost Dog
Outstanding male performance (modern)
Jonathan Goddard for The Mother, Alexandra Markvo/Bird and Carrot
Outstanding creative contribution
Gavin Sutherland, conductor and music director, English National Ballet
De Valois award for outstanding achievement
Obviously these awards have a massive London focus with much of the work rewarded never having been shown outside of the capital. However it is good to see the marvellous Marion Tait recognised, and Gavin Sutherland continues to do sterling work for the English National Ballet.
The nominations for this year's Olivier Awards have been announced, with musical theatre productions leading the charge (obviously).
The nominations for dance are below:
BEST NEW DANCE PRODUCTION
La Fiesta by Israel Galvan at Sadler’s Wells
Ingoma by Mthuthezeli November for Ballet Black at the Royal Opera House - Linbury Theatre
Mám by Michael Keegan-Dolan
Vessel by Damien Jalet & Kohei Nawa at Sadler's Wells
The only one of these I have seen is Michael Keegan-Dolan's Mám for his own company Teaċ Daṁsa: and it was magnificent. I've yet to see any of Michael's work and not feel exhilarated, moved and inspired.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE
Sara Baras for her choreography and performance in Ballet Flamenco - Sombras at Sadler’s Wells
Anne Teres de Keersmaeker for her performance in Mitten Wir Im Leben Sind/Bach6Cellosuiten at Sadler's Wells
Gisele Vienne for her choreography of Crowd, presented by Dance Umbrella at Sadler's Wells
I wanted to see Crowd. It was one of those shows with a trailer that looked like it could be amazing - or terrible. Reviews and this nomination suggest it was the former.
BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER
Fabian Aloise for Evita at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear for Mary Poppins at Prince Edward Theatre
Jerome Robbins and Matt Cole for Fiddler on the Roof at Playhouse Theatre
Jennifer Weber for & Juliet at Shaftesbury Theatre
I include this category only because there is a nomination for Matthew Bourne - who is undoubtedly a fantastic theatre choreographer; and because there is a nomination for Jerome Robbins, who died more than 20 years ago but is seemingly still producing outstanding work.
How quickly the world changed.
Now - as we face the global pandemic that always seemed more like science fiction until it actually happened - the world has completely changed and it's hard to see how some of these changes will not permanently alter the world we live in.
There is little to be gained by complaining or speculating but I am heartbroken and I mourn the loss of my normal life, of my cultural life and feel desperately sad and fearful for my theatres and dance companies and performers.
Dance and other kinds performance have given me such incredible joy and pleasure and meaning since I fully embraced their importance within my life, something that started around fifteen years ago when my own life changed forever, and that has grown in impetus and importance as I approach the later years of my own life, aware of what I have missed, hungrily trying not to miss more in the years that are left.
I will maintain this blog, in the hope that things will start to improve in a very few months - although the damage now is taking out events that would have happened in the late-spring and summer and later and eradicated the possibility of creating the work that would have taken us into 2021 and beyond.
But for now, I mourn.
I have no idea who reads this blog but much love to the dance venues, the dance companies - large and small, regional, national and international - the dance makers and performers and my fellow audience makers. Let us stay strong, hold on to what we have and have had and help wherever we can - financially if possible.
Don't claim refunds on those missed shows if you can afford not to!
Liam Scarlett, one of the UK's leading choreographers, will no longer be working with London's Royal Ballet, the company has announced.
The move follows a disciplinary investigation over alleged incidents of sexual misconduct with students.
However the ballet said the inquiry had found "no matters to pursue" in regard to claims involving its students.
The choreographer, a former dancer with the Royal Ballet, has not commented on the allegations.
He had been artist-in-residence at the company since 2012 but was suspended from his post last August.
Scarlett was responsible for creating some of the Royal Baller's major recent shows, including a new production of Swan Lake in 2018.
This coming summer, the ballet was due to stage Scarlett's Symphonic Dances but the production has now been cancelled, the company confirmed.
A statement from the Royal Opera House, ballet's parent company, said: "Liam Scarlett's position with The Royal Ballet ended on 23 March, 2020.
"We can confirm that the independent investigation has concluded and found there were no matters to pursue in relation to alleged contact with students of The Royal Ballet School."
The Royal Opera House in central London, where the ballet company is based, is currently closed until at least 19 April following the government's directive that all theatres should close during the coronavirus outbreak.