Big Dance 2012 South East England
Thursday, 13 December 2012 12:32
It has been announced that hundreds of volunteers who generously gave their time to supporting Big Dance 2012 activities across the country this summer, including in South East England, have been honoured through the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012.
At South East Dance we are thrilled to hear that the committment and endeavour of the volunteers has been recognised in this way and extend hearty congratulations to all involved. You can read the full press release from Big Dance 2012 National Office here.
Well done one and all!
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 08:28
Big Dance finished over two weeks ago now, but we thought we'd keep the blog posts coming as we continue to receive more videos and images capturing the fantastic activity from across the region.
On 14 July in Margate, in the face of bad weather, a group of dedicated Big Dancers gave the boat Collective Spirit from 'Margate hosts The Boat Project' an enthusiastic and colourful welcome. Led by Karavan Ensemble, they brought the language of semaphore and Morse code to life on the harbour arm in a fitting tribute to this Cultural Olympiad project. Click the link below to watch some footage from the project. The image above are from Message in a Bottle, choreographed and performed by Yael Karavan and Karavan Ensemble.
Images by Peter Fry.
Thursday, 19 July 2012 14:45
Phew! What a week of dance! As Big Dance Week in South East England reached its climax, our cameras were in Brighton on 14 July - capturing the action in all its rain soaked glory. With a jam-packed ‘Big Outdoor Baby Boogie’ session, retro routines with Ragroof Theatre Company, a workshop and performance from dancers of Hofesh Shechter Company, and a fantastic performance of ‘Taxi!’ by Avant Garde Dance (in torrential rain!), the residents of Brighton and Hove donned their rain coats and had a ball. Have a look at just a few of the images from the day.
Images above by Rick Senley. Image below by Zoe Manders.
The ‘Croctopus’ goes down a storm at the launch of Big Dance Week. By Monika Richards and Jenny Williams
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 14:19
We are go! Big Dance week has arrived and we wish all the hubs lots of participation, sunshine and happy audiences. Most of all, do have fun and dance while you can. On Thursday 5 July, we went to the Big Dance launch at St Pancras International Station. The Arch of Starch have created a real spectacle with audiences looking on totally baffled, hypnotised and in awe. They provided such a different and innovative way of experiencing dance that we would not be surprised to see much more of them in the future. Huge thanks to The Arch of Starch for representing the South East big stylie, their outrageous costumes (Croctopus, Potatoes and Beef Eaters all twinned in one costume each!) their well-executed performances on the platforms and staying with it in the commotion of it all.
At the finale of the launch we also had a bit of fun - as you would expect - and took part in the flash mob for the finish, totally out of step and rhythm, hands and feet all over the place and laughing all the way through it!
Friday, 29 June 2012 09:21
Never before has so much energy come out of a dance studio! It’s a bold statement I know, but Most Wanted Crew just seem to bounce everywhere and this is just the rehearsal! I can’t wait to see the live performance, of which there are two (Hampshire you’re being spoiled!), the first is on 7 July at the Hat Fair, Winchester and the big one is on 15 July for Hampshire Torch Relay on Southsea Common.
I went into the studio on the final day of creation back in June, where Cathy Waller was choreographing an explosive and constantly changing urban routine. The dancers filtered seamlessly on and off stage to create an ever expanding and shrinking dance force; a truly living, breathing choreography!
Check out this video, where Cathy has managed the most extraordinary of feats – getting Most Wanted Crew to slow down!
Other videos from the day:
Group interview and impromptu solo!
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 09:50
This was my first ever visit to Milton Keynes and I had no idea there was so much talent there and so many creative events going on!
Urja Desai Thakore is on a mission to showcase the city’s finest with Milton Keynes’ first ever dance festival as part of Big Dance 2012 and linking in with Milton Keynes Festival Fringe.
There are loads of dance styles featuring in workshops and performances in the three day festival including: Street Dance, B-Boying, Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Bollywood, Tap, Ballet and Contemporary Musical Theatre.
I joined them on a rehearsal day, which was back to back with different styles. Not that everyone stuck to their own genre, everyone got involved with each others’ work and there was a real community vibe going on.
I’ve taken loads of videos, including a great B-Boy battle between Courtney Knight and Marlon Van Eden, and the very excitable Year 5's from Summerfield School in rehearsal, so check out the links below. But to get you started here's the Artistic Director of Milton Keynes Dance Festival, Urja Desai Thakore, showing her beautiful choreography to be performed at the festival:
- B-Boy battle between Courtney Knight and Marlon Van Eden
- Year 5 from Summerfield School give an excerpt from their performance
- Flash mob rehearsal with Summerfield School
- Interview with B-Boy JMC aka Courtney Knight about his workshops and performances
- The Year 5's from Summerfield invite you to their performance
- What's going on in Milton Keynes Dance Festival - Urja gives an overview
Sunday, 24 June 2012 09:31
The grand finale of The Arc’s Big Dance month of activity was so packed with performances, I ended up charging my video camera three times just to film it!
They kicked off with Orpheus Dance Company, a group from a residential care home for young disabled adults with a passion for the performing arts. They performed their own original choreography, which ranged from a high energy group number to a really touching and romantic duet.
The Arc youth dance groups managed to pack in several performances across the day, including one with live piano, rapping and singing as well as dance. How people so young manage to rack up that many talents is beyond me, I got tired just watching them!
The dance studio held a further four performances: two solos from Matt Harding and Isla Selley; a hypnotising performance from StopGAP Youth Dance Company; and an electric jive from the former world level professional duo Damian Evans and Clara Guzzardi of Caterham Dance School.
And it doesn’t end there!... We moved out of the dance studio into the gallery for a quirky performance by Tailor-Made Dance which went from a kind of enchanted toy box to a living room made of people (lamp shade included)!
And last but not least Paper Solo, a delicate and beautiful installation piece choreographed by Rosie Heafford and inspired by artwork from Josie Davis. Paper Solo’s tour of Big Dance will continue round various Surrey libraries, starting with Redhill Library on 12 July.
Caterham, I think you win the prize for the biggest Big Dance day so far! Although looking at the activity to come in Big Dance week 7-15 July, you’ll soon have some stiff competition!
Here’s an excerpt from Paper Solo and check out the links below for interviews and a selection from the day:
Saturday, 23 June 2012 10:03
When it comes to choosing a dancer, group or company to represent the eccentric ways of the South East, we didn't have to look much further than Arch of Starch. The quirky duo will be flying the flag for the South East at the national launch of Big Dance 2012 on 5 July at St Pancras Station, London. We've asked Rebecca Walker, from The Arch of Starch, a few questions ahead of the event to give you a sneak peak into the work of the company.
Croctopus by Arch of Starch. Photograph by Marco Berardi
Tell us about the work you will be showing at St Pancras?
'You have landed on The Floating Potato Island and been plopped into The Gungey Swamp of Mushy Mash. Hot fermented milky dirge oozes out of the pulsating core of the potato. Beneath the surface of the bubbling swamp floats a Croctopus, like a green yolk inside a giant jelly egg.'
At St Pancras we will predominately be performing our new work Croctopus. The characters of Spork will also be present, and there is defiantly room for extended surprises!
How did you come about forming the company Arch of Starch?
Hollie and I met and trained together at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance. After graduating we began creating and working together as The Arch of Starch.
Two of our key focuses have been: Looking at how we use movement and dance within performance. Developing how visual costume and rhythmical text can be integral to movement.
Using movement, costume and text has allowed us to build a surreal environment. It offers us the ability to construct our own world where we can comment on our inner desires and ideals. The two characters we have realized so far are just a small part of the story we are writing, and the world we are beginning to create.
The Arch of Starch is growing, and we look forward to involving more people in our world. We are interested in working with more performers, musicians, philosophers, architects, scientists, artists, potato farmers, giant veg growers, hologram makers, astrologers, psychologists, robot makers, botanists, butchers, inventors, set designers, antiques dealers, and humans from varying shapes of amphibious life.
Nothing is obvious. Nothing is ever finished. Everything is surreal.
Spork by Arch of Starch. Photography by Nel Dyer.
What inspired you to use costume so instrumentally in your work?
Costume, text and movement are one and the same to us in their importance. They do however have differing benefits; Costumes allows us to create strong visual metaphors. It can also completely change our natural aesthetical forms. This allows us to visually create characters, whilst offering new possibility's to emerge from movement. Working together as a duo has been key to the physical construction of our costumes. With Spork and Croctopus we have been building on the idea that with out the other person the whole structure would collapse. This strengthens our importance and relationship as we work and perform together in a duo. This in turn tackles an issue of pretense that we feel towards 'contact work' within dance. Something that we are keen to develop further in the future. We are interested in how costume can become a physical extension of our bodies.
Finally, what do you think The Arch of Starch and the South East region have in common (apart from the tentacles!)?
Apart form the tentacles...
We both grew up in the South East therefore the region has played a huge part in shaping who we are. In the creation of Spork and Croctopus, the countryside and differing landscapes available in the South East is something that we have used and drawn a lot from. We very deliberately filmed our work in Brighton on the pier and in a wonderful muddy field. Making the films in these locations also helped enormously in the progression of the work.
A huge thanks to all the support from the people in the South East and Hampshire Dance.
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 13:14
Check out this fantastic picture taken at a performance by Hofesh Shechter Company as part of our Big Dance Hastings hub’s saturday entertaiment programme, Stade Saturdays… look carefully to spot the special audience member watching from the wings!
The performance was the final chapter in an amazing two weeks in local schools in the Hastings area, where Hofesh Shechter Company's dancers have been doing workshops and performances for local schools and community centres to raise aspirations as part of Big Dance South East England. You can find out more about our recent visit to Helenswood School in Hastings by reading the blog below.
Thank you to Cat Denning from Hastings Borough Council for sending in the image!
Image © Donna Howell.
Monday, 18 June 2012 15:53
Drums banging, kids dancing and did I mention internationally renowned Hofesh Shechter Company giving your class a private performance?.. all school days should be like this!
I went along to film the day at Helenswood School, organised by Hastings Borough Council, on 29 May, which kicked off with a high energy performance from Hofesh Shechter Company, fusing extracts from their touring pieces and including live drumming from Music Collaborator, Yaron Engler.
After that electric start, Melanie Precious, Participation Producer for Hofesh Shechter Company led a Q&A with the full company, delving us into their inner workings, from sound and lighting; to tour booking and funding; to the all important partnership of music and dance!
Then, as Maëva Berthelot, a dancer with Hofesh Shechter Company, put it... "it's time for some action!"
The students split into two groups; one to take part in a drumming workshop and the other to learn extracts of the Company's choreography, only to come together in the afternoon to reignite the beautiful relationship that is music and dance!
Maëva Berthelot said: "We are a company that has different ways of working and linking music and dance and we really want to show and share that with the students. It's going to be a real day like we have in the company."
And the students seemed to love it. Hannah, a participant in the dance workshop, said: "We study contemporary but this is totally different to what we're used to, it's a really good experience for the future."
It was a great day, but don't take my word for it, have a look at the grand finale!
More videos from the day:
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- • Kent Dance Mix is all over... can't wait 'till next year! By Louise Costelloe
- • 'An excellent display of dance moves left everyone amazed' - By Gary Carter Miskin Radio
- • Family fun for all at the Studios…By Freya Finnerty
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- • Rehearsals in full swing at Milton Keynes. By Kathryn Evans
- • Big Dance Day at The Arc, Caterham. By Kathryn Evans
- • Cathy Waller choreographs for Most Wanted Crew for the Hampshire Torch Relay. By Kathryn Evans
- • The Arch of Starch interview - Big Dance launch. By Kathryn Evans
- • The Caucus Race rehearsals in Oxford. By Kathryn Evans
- • A familiar face is a new audience member at Big Dance 2012 events in Hastings. By Rowena Price
- • Hofesh Shechter at Helenswood School in Hastings for Big Dance 2012. By Kathryn Evans
- • Brighton Dance Collective rehearse with Jason Keenan-Smith for the BBC big dance Exchange. By Kathryn Evans
- • Big Dance 2012 South East England