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Probe in rehearsal for Running On Empty. Image © Zoe Manders

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Circus Street - An Urban Playground in Brighton by Jo Pitman

Thursday, 24 April 2014 13:53

Last Week Urban Playground claimed the site destined to become The Dance Space in Circus Street to carry out a series of free workshops and performances over three days. Performance Parkour is a unique blend of the French art of Parkour with urban and contemporary dance, the workshops were open to a wide age range from eight year olds to adults, with no experience just pure enthusiasm which was apparent as soon as the participants entered the space.

Urban Playground at Circus Street

There was scaffold set up in the vast abandoned market site, music playing quietly and the Urban Playground team practicing their moves on the scaffold.  A sense of anticipation developed amongst the participants, it was clear they wanted to join in the fun and as soon as the session began adults and children were immediately engaged; practicing roly-polys, balances and moving fluidly through the set being constantly encouraged by the Urban Playground team.

Urban Playground at Circus Street

Urban Playground at Circus Street

There was a wonderful atmosphere during the three workshops, perhaps due to the fact that there was no wrong way of moving, every person’s contribution was valid, and the team really nurtured the natural differences and creativity of each of the attendees. This supportive and creative environment led to some fantastic results.

Urban Playground at Circus Street

The workshops were thoroughly enjoyed by participants, many asking where they could take part in weekly lessons, and some participants came back the very next day to participate again! The Urban Playground team also invited an audience to Circus Street for two free performances of Inner City to which many of the workshop attendees were present.  The excitement and enthusiasm which was generated through workshops and performance is hopefully something which enrich and inspire the attendees to get more involved with dance in the future.

Images by Benji Anker

 

An Audience Insight... by Sheila Sanderson

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 11:54

Reviewing 'Insight' by Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh - South East Dance Studios 5 April 2014

I wasn't sure what to expect but I wasn't disappointed. I very much enjoyed the performance which was funny, clever and in places very emotional. The story the dancers told through dance was so true. I feel many of us have been through that initial meeting with someone unsure how to greet them - do we shake hands, do we hug, give a kiss?  I particularly enjoyed the way the group worked together as duets and in a quartet which was seamless and very beautiful. The use and inclusion into the dance of the floor markings was brilliant.

How lucky we are to have shows like this on our doorstep.

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Images by Pari Naderi

 

More Insight… by Louise Costelloe

Monday, 14 April 2014 16:18

In response to 'Insight' by Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh - South East Dance Studios 5 April 2014

“Have no expectations; forget everything you know about contemporary dance”. With these words and the ghost of a twinkle, Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh, the choreographer and artistic director of Le Phare, Centre Choreographique National Du Havre Haute-Normandie, invited the dance community at South East Dance Studios into the performance of Insight.

Four dancers, a space defined by tape on the floor, the architectural lighting design and the rising soundscape of human interaction, this is where our expectations began and were confounded. Beginning with the hugs and kisses of greeting, the dancers mumbled and mwahed their way into ever more complex patterns and relationships with tantalising hints of narrative, gender anxiety, and missed connections. There were aching stillnesses that kept us hanging for the catharsis of the compositions of wild laughter. Although we only had a glimpse into their convoluted world, the characters kept us with them until the end. This was a work that connected with our diverse audience of young and old, amateur and professional alike, with its warmth and humanity and an impressive cast, whose command of movement, subtle gesture and focus, and ability to be present in the room captured our attention and imagination.

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 “It’s very French”, “Is it dance?” were two comments I heard as we left the auditorium. We had a quick review session with our Hextable Youth Dance dancers afterwards who decided that it was dance after all, but not like anything they had seen before and they hadn’t realised you could use emotions for dance like that. It turns out that this and being French were very positive aspects to the evening!

It was a wonderful way to begin our Outdoor Lab and connect our Dansce Dialogues 2 partners with our artistic and local dance community here in Kent. I’ll leave my last word as a response to one of the dancers from the piece who said that perhaps French people kiss too much. More I say, more kissing, more dance, more opportunities like this…

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Images by Pari Naderi 

 

Growing old gracefully: Three Score Dance Company deliver high quality dance by the over sixties – by Emily Brown, bachtrack.com

Thursday, 10 April 2014 11:22

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When watching a professional dance company perform, it is often impressive to witness dancers at the peak of physical fitness. Choreographers make the most of the young, pliable bodies on offer, and constantly push boundaries of what a dancer should be able to do. Jump higher, bend further, spin faster. Because of this, it is rare to see a dancer performing very far past the age of about forty, when opportunities start to become increasingly limited.

What happens, then, when an older person still wants to be involved in dance performance? Read more in bachtrack.com’s blog.

Visit the Three Score Dance Company Website.

Images by Zoe Manders.

 

This month on twitter, March 2014 – by Benji Anker

Friday, 28 March 2014 11:02

We had some great feedback from our Spring/Summer Season Brochure. It is always such an exciting time for us when the Brochures start hitting the door mats and the first season brochure of 2014 is no exception, it is bigger and more packed then ever!



@CharelleG gave us some great feedback about our new infographic and @CeydaTancDance spotted one of their dancers on the Circus Street Market page.



U.Dance 2014 South East was a huge success and we had a great twitter stream going on the day. Here is a behind the scenes look at @cascadedance’s tech rehearsal on the day.



And finally our new ‘guest review’ blogs have been popular reads. Both blogs written for Weightless by Flexer & Sandiland and Journey by Koen De Preter have had great feedback.




This month on twitter is a new monthly blog by South East Dance. Follow us on twitter and let us know your thoughts.

 

Creativity is Ageless - by Sally Anker

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 15:34

On the 14th of March I watched a contemporary dance performance; Journey by Koen De Preter, at The Old Market. Having watched Parkin'Son by Giulio D'Anna during last year's Sick Festival my expectations were high. When watching the performance I could draw parallels between the two, themes of fragility and weakness, deterioration and virility, both pieces however displaying an air of playfulness alongside these themes.

Journey is a beautifully told story featuring two people; a young male dancer-fresh and keen, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. And a woman aged 88 and showing the signs of time and the bodies tendency to stiffen, stoop, and shake, but none the less she is a passionate, and able dancer. This relationship at first alien as a dancing duo, grew to display a mother/son respect and affection, and also a playful sense of "winding up" one another! The spectrum of music ranged through the decades-often light heartedly, reminding the audience of the performer's contrasting tastes and techniques in dance and their gap of 55 years.

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Image by Thanh Beels

I felt the professional respect the two characters felt for for each other during the piece, was particularly moving to witness. The ultimate union of the two bodies after beginning so starkly, seemingly aimlessly meandering in various routes across the stage was emotionally satisfying. It also reiterated the Journey our two characters were taking within their dancing lives. Visually the space itself-white and void of all distractions, made me feel almost as if we were looking into the subconscious minds of the two performers, with all other mess and drama of daily life hidden in the wings.

A piece between a man and a woman that involves movement and strength, naturally leads the viewer to confront typical themes: Man versus woman, strong versus weak, and the timeless portrayal of feminism and womanhood within the history of art. The whole piece from start to finish was honestly a pleasure to watch and draw my own comparisons and conclusions from.

In summary Journey is an honest, bare and beautiful portrayal of the subject of ageing and the human will to defy the inevitable process the body is destined to go through. Journey displays the power of dance, creativity and expression and its magic ability to keep the mind young.

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Images by Bart Grietens

 

 

Weightless - by Richard Manders

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 11:54

Weightless illustration by Richard Manders

A single, round speaker, lit-from-the-inside occupies the stage floor. The speaker is the constant throughout the piece: the bodiless choreographer, biographer and dictator. “Can you pick me up?” The piece goes on to create separate, rigid spaces mapped out with bursts of light and hissing industrial electro music. As Yael Flexer interjects with monologues that attempt to map out her past, her journey, how she got from A to B, what it means to be 40, what it means to be 41, how all things have brevity and levity. I am left pondering how it is that perspective dictates the weight of a moment, and how all things occupy the space of contradiction.

Weightless Illustration by Richard Manders

Images by Richard Manders

 

Performing at U.Dance South East by Ruby Phelan, Ceyda Tanc Youth Dance

Friday, 14 March 2014 15:51

We started off the beautiful sunny day when the whole of Ceyda Tanc Youth Dance met at Brighton station and we separated into three cars. Driving through Redhill was beautiful and we all admired the very pretty town. However we did get desperately lost while trying to find our way to The Harlequin. Finally we found it, thank goodness. We were greeted by very friendly staff and taken to our changing room that we shared with other performance groups which was nice because we got to talk to them about their pieces they were also showcasing that night.

We were taken into the theatre to have an introductory talk, which gave us an opportunity to see the really spacious stage we were going to be performing on. We all said it reminded us of the Corn Exchange theatre in Brighton that some of us do our annual college show at, so we felt right at home.

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Image by Zoe Manders

The huge group of performers was then split into a few companies in each class to do the workshop. We all love taking part in workshops with people that we are not usually taught by, it gives us all such a good opportunity to learn new choreographic techniques and a chance to work with a wide range of performers, choreographers and teachers. This workshop was so engaging and taught us all how to make a very well-constructed and advanced piece of choreography with loads, and I mean loads, of people in a really short amount of time. The way that the teacher had so many unique ideas and got the maximum out of each and every student was very inspiring. We were asked to choreograph our own small solo and then we got back into our companies and put our solos together to make a contact group dance. Ceyda and the company members that were with her were very impressed with the completed work and me and the rest of the company were very honoured and thoroughly enjoyed taking part in it.

After our tech rehearsal which had gone very smoothly due to very helpful members of staff we had a few points to go over in our dance. As the show approached in next to no time we ate and did our hair and makeup and nervously practiced in the corridors trying to perfect our parts in the dance. When we had completed the group dance we had the pleasure of being able to watch the other performances which were amazing!! It just made us see how truly talented up and coming dancers in the South East are. We thoroughly enjoyed all the pieces and we were so excited to show everybody our dance that we and Ceyda had been working so hard on. When our chance to perform finally came we all loved it so much. We not only got to perform our piece that day but we also learnt so many new skills in the workshop, from watching others dance and from each other. We had a truly wonderful day thank you for letting Ceyda Tanc Youth Company be a part of this experience.

 

U.Dance – by Louise Costelloe, Public Programme Manager

Thursday, 13 March 2014 14:20

It is a pleasure and a privilege to host U.Dance South East again. It never fails to inspire me to see the creativity, commitment and sheer physical energy of the performers. It is a day to renew friendships, make new connections and share our passion for dance!

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This year we were in residence at the Harlequin Theatre in Redhill, Surrey and played host to 110 dancers and 9 young people’s dance companies.  A particular thank you to our panel member and curtain raiser choreographer Helen Parlor and all the dancers for a wonderful opening piece, whose touching moments and powerful movement were created in just three hours on the day. The quality and creativity of the work made our judges’ decision difficult, but we are now pleased to announce that The L&S Youth (Angmering School) and Overground Fusion (Barton College) are our South East regional winners. We wish them luck for the National U.Dance finals, which will take place in Nottingham, 26-28 June 2014.

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Thanks again to our panel Liz Moran (The Gulbenkian), Helen Parlor (Choreographer) and Rebecca Moss (National Young Dance Ambassador) and to Linda Jasper, Director of Youth Dance England.

Here is what our groups and leaders had to say:

“A really enjoyable and exciting day, the dancers really appreciated the opportunity to share their work and feel proud of what they have achieved.”
Tory East- Overground Fusion

“The dancers really enjoyed the workshop and also the experience of performing at a different venue. Loved seeing other groups work.”
Hannah Batley- Zambesi Dance Company

“The group enjoyed very much the freedom of creating their own choreography for the intro”
Melanie Ward- Ravens Wood

“A MASSIVE thank you for today, it has been an incredible experience and the dancers loved every minute of the day: the workshops, performing, making new friends and watching the other groups. On top of that it is so nice to see them all having fun doing something they love so much. Thank you so much again- lots of love from Katie and all the girls at Kobika”
Katie Cobie- Kobika

“I liked seeing all the other dancers- great choreographies and ideas to steal!!”

“I enjoyed working with all the other groups in the workshop. It was an inspiration”

“I loved today. It was my first show at U.Dance and I want to come again! Thank you- and I loved the workshop”

“I loved the workshops! And I loved dancing in the show and watching everyone else dances”

“Inspirational day watching others ideas and hard work”
Dancers from Kobika Dance

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Images by Zoe Manders.

 

Flexer & Sandiland, celebrating 20 years – by Yael Flexer

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 11:29

How was the work created and how did you find the process?
Making Weightless has been quite a journey; I had no intention of being in the show until of course it transpired that if I was going to seriously delve into our history, I had to perform. I am that history, well at least the 20 years span of it.

Working with Wendy was fantastic, like being on an intense/ive two day creative writing course. I loved my writing tasks and was amazed how Wendy could just produce writing that was so clearly my voice but through the filter of her wit and dark humour. Her prodding was difficult at times, but essential. I particularly remember one surreal afternoon, Wendy, George and I cooped up in GDA studio 3 (an old office space) sounding out only the consonants in our dialogue, whr, r, w, I am, ere, and, u, r wit, me….

Working with Nic of course a pleasure but the lack of black out spaces proved a real challenge, trying to use projection but never quite being able to see it… I just had to trust he knows what he’s doing, which he always does. In the end I’m really pleased it feels like our best collaboration for live work so far.

Composing the music across continents was another interesting challenge, two composers mostly communicating via ‘wetransfer’ and ‘youtube’ with a very short time frame of being in the same space at the same time. Again a real pleasure having Karni be part of this, her incredible cello playing and voice both live and recorded but also as she is so much of the history, my very first collaborator in 1992 (whilst still a student at The Place) and a key one ever since.

The dancers are phenomenal, it’s such a joy when we get together we have such a good time in the studio. They make the work sing, they really do. Some have shared a long stretch of history with me- Lyndsey McConville better known as Duck, Aya, Luke and Hannah as well as great having KJ and George join this production.

Weightless by Yale Flexer - Dancer Luke Birch - Image by Chrish Nash
Weightless by Yale Flexer - Dancer Luke Birch - Image by Chrish Nash

How has the tour been?
The work has really evolved and changed on tour, certainly we got more to grips with the technical demands of the show. Especially me… jumping from running video cues, speaking, dancing, than passing cables and microphones in the wings…. Some touring highlights include the shows in Jerusalem and Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel-Aviv. Really interesting to see how the work is read in Israel especially its questioning of history personal/aesthetic, roots and destabilisation as well as the small element of Hebrew content reflecting the experience of hybrid identities and migration. The Place, Swindon Dance, LICA in Lancaster, The Showroom in Chichester have also been very moving experiences as they were landmark places in terms of the company history and also as some included reconstructions of old works as curtain raisers. The Place was especially exciting with C.A.T students and Cando2 youth doing Shrink’d (2005), EDge doing The Living Room (2010) and having installations in the Founders studio and foyer. It really felt like a celebration and a closure of a certain chapter of our making. It also really held the grain or ethos of our work sharing it with others, youth, students, professionals and the public.

You are closing the tour in Brighton, your home town, how do you feel about this?
It’s fantastic to be ending the tour in Brighton as our home town. Great to share both the show and installation with all the people we know, the dance community, our friends, neighbours and people we bump to on street as well as the Jewish and Israeli community. A real mixed audience which is exactly what we like as the work, we believe, speaks to all regardless of any knowledge of dance. Importantly it is still complex and challenging, accessible without having to resort to flash mobs!

You have been working with Three Score Dance company, has working with local people impacted on the show?
It’s also a real treat to be working with Three Score, Brighton’s over 60s dance company. What a lovely, interested and interesting group of people. I feel South East Dance have very sensitively considered the work as Weightless muses on ageing or arriving at middle age. It’s great to have that added layer or dimension of people at a whole other point in their lives and I’m curious to see how it changes the reading of the work by audiences. It’s also been a great opportunity to work with Alan Duffield as collaborator/dramaturge as he’s writing on our work to date has been insightful.

Weightless by Yael Flexer - Image by Chris Nash - Dancer Aya Kobayashi
Weightless by Yael Flexer - Image by Chris Nash - Dancer Aya Kobayashi

What are your future plans?
The future, yes getting a little tingling in the belly about a new project. I’m not revealing any ideas as yet but Nic and I are currently in research mode for the next year and expect to produce a new and wondrous ‘thing’ probably both show and installation or installation show, in 2015. It feels like a true collaboration starting from a very shared premise and so it feels like we are really finding our co-voice or middle-voiceness as sometimes referred to in Contact Impro.

Weightless will be at Brighton Dome on the 5 March. For more information and to book tickets to the show please visit http://brightondome.org/event/3886/weightless/

 

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