Magazine

Dance in Brighton: 2017

At some point in the last few years, Brighton's Festival and Fringe have evolved from "something that's happening over there" to an unmissable event to catch some truly amazing and otherwise-sold-out shows. Last year, Complicite's The Encounter was on: solidly sold out for its run at London's Barbican Centre, this was a unique opportunity to see it in a comparatively intimate venue. This year, it's Michael Keegan-Dolan's Swan Lake: I don't care how far you have to travel to see it, make sure you see it. And also Liz Aggiss's Slap and Tickle, while you're at it. And then there's the premiere of Theo Clinkard's new work, so I hope you have your credit card at the ready.

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What Price A Dancer?

After publishing the original version of this article a few days ago, I discussed it with Rosie Kay, one of the main contributors, and she made some very valid arguments about rewriting this article to reframe and refocus it. In response to one of her questions, I replied that we have far too many people who have been training in dance from an extremely young age and yet are still expected to settle for minimum wage or slightly above, and so that’s my new starting point.

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Avâtara Ayuso - What's Next?

I don't remember how or when I first heard about Avatâra Ayuso, however it was Donald Hutera who first introduced me to her at a post-show party at Sadler's Wells in 2011. I spent the next several years with her in mind when trying to find a suitable venue for Cloud Dance Festival, and the first thing I did after meeting with Bernie Grant Arts Centre in 2013 was to email her excitedly to say that I'd finally found a venue large enough to show her work.

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Ode To A Website

Over five years ago, Arts Professional magazine approached me about "the sites I wouldn't be without". Five years later, those have been distilled down to two websites, both in their own states of flux: Article19 tweeting today to announce "future changes", and last week's impromptu and unanticipated announcement that Carmel Smith, the erstwhile editor of London Dance for over 15 years, being made redundant with immediate effect.

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Blue Cloud Scratch: 28 July

Blue Cloud Scratch is back for its third bimonthly edition, and we have an extra-special treat for you, as we'll be showcasing artists from around the country and not just London and the South East this time! 

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Blue Cloud Scratch: 31 May

We're very pleased to announce the lineup for the second edition of Blue Cloud Scratch, our bi-monthly scratch night which is run in partnership with Blue Elephant Theatre, and we'll be presenting a mixture of contemporary dance, tanztheater, contemporary dance/tango fusion, ballet and dance theatre. Tickets are £3 (£2.50 for Southwark residents) and can be bought on the door, or online here: blueelephanttheatre.co.uk/blue-cloud-scratch-0 

We will be showing new works by Piedad Albarracin Seiquer, Julia Gleich, Masha Gurina, Adrian Look, Camille Jetzer and Zuzanna Pilat. We'd like you to join us to support these artists and to offer them constructive feedback on their presented works.

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Blue Cloud Scratch

webwritersatworkBlue Cloud Scratch is a new scratch night for the independent dance sector curated by Blue Elephant Theatre and Cloud Dance Festival. Blue Cloud Scratch aims to provide UK-based dance artists with opportunities to present their works in progress and receive feedback from their peers and audiences alike.

Currently bimonthly, our scratch night provides artists with a friendly space in which to show their work, with facilitated Q&A sessions, full technical and marketing support, documentation (photography and filming) and a box office split (with a bit extra chucked in).

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#cdfgend: The Summary

cat hunting mouse croppedOn Sunday 10 January, I held an open space event on gender and (in)equality in the dance industry, organised through Cloud Dance Festival and with the partnership and collaboration of Donald Hutera, Sally Marie, the Female Choreographers' Collective, Kaleidoscopic Arts, Technique Exchange and others. 

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Crowdfunds Ahoy!

15755645790 b70afcb8b9 zNow that the Christmas season is over and we no longer have that excuse to splurge excessively on Prosecco, chocolate and whatever else people splurge excessively on this time of year, why not use those funds instead to support any number of dance-related crowdfunding campaigns? If you actually have any money left over, that is - but as you know with crowdfunds, every penny counts. Once you deduct the website's and Paypal's fees, that is...

Crowdfunding sites are generally very painful to wade through - dispelling the myth that countless random strangers will stumble across your campaign and be compelled to donate generously (despite a weird glitch this evening which converted the category links on Crowdfunder to Autin Dance Theatre's expired 2014 campaign), so here are the key campaigns in need of your support right now.

There are probably many other crowdfunding campaigns, but I didn't come across them, and I'll aim to keep this page updated as crowdfunds come and go.

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Best of 2015

jump cat 1Many websites and publications have been posting their dance highlights of 2015, which are exclusively of shows. But in our industry, how much of our work actually involves performing our work? 365* GFA grants have been awarded in dance this year (amounting to £7,383,626), and we can only guess how many more have been turned down, which goes to show how very active our industry is, even if all the weeks and months and years of slog and work and admin-ad-nauseam which go into each project and production generally goes overlooked.

Also, (no) thanks to a very large pulmonary embolism earlier this year, and deciding to live 300 miles away from London (which was fine until Virgin Trains took over and put all the train fares on steroids), I've had to settle for secondhand "viewing" of many shows, largely through Twitter. Not quite the same as the real thing, but thanks to Virgin Trains, a hell of a lot cheaper.

So my 2015 list of highlights is of the moments of our industry which have taken place off stage. I could list my favourite shows from this year, but where's the fun in that? Here goes.

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You're Invited to an Open Space Event about the Gender Debate

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We've been talking about gender inequalities in dance for a long time now. Most of the conversations we've had and the articles which have been written have focussed on the plight of female choreographers, leading to initiatives such as the Female Choreographers' Collective, founded by Jane Coulston and Holly Noble, Kaleidoscopic Arts, founded by Lucia Schweigert and Konstantina Skalionta, Tamsin Fitzgerald's The Bench and Charlotte Vincent's The Table.

But after all these years of panel debates, panel discussions, conferences, articles and conversations, how have things changed across the independent dance sector for the people working in it? While debates etc are great at stimulating post-debate conversations, in time, the conversations fade away and little changes, however people's frustration at the ongoing situation and at not being heard remains.

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Cloud Dance Friends

 DSC0690In what seems to be a new Cloud Dance Festival tradition, once again we bring you Cloud Dance Friends, an adhoc show celebrating some of the most highly-praised work of the past year and new work by friends of Cloud Dance Festival - as well as lots of cake, apparently.

The show will be held on Sunday 29 November at 7.30pm at New Diorama Theatre, 15 - 16 Triton Street, 
Regent's Place, London, NW1 3BF.

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The Gender Debate At Rambert

rambertdebateThe gender debate in contemporary dance is hardly new and has not really explored in depth, but when Rambert offered their programme for their #RambertLive events, including a debate on not only female choreographers, but on how to provide opportunities and commissions for them, that seemed worth travelling 600 miles roundtrip for. In one day, no less. With blood clots.

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The Cohan Collective

World-renowned choreographer Robert Cohan CBE and his long-time collaborator and composer Eleanor Alberga have been mentoring three choreographers and composers, all at various stages of their careers. They have been passing on their indispensable knowledge to continue their legacy of creating intuitive contemporary dance and music.

“How do we make dances better? How do we continue to both refine and challenge our methods? How can we encourage more fully-realised and deeply-considered dance-making from ourselves and from our colleagues?” - Robert Cohan, May 2015

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Wendy Houstoun: Pact With Pointlessness

wendy houstoun 10143{extravote 5} Wendy Houstoun's Pact With Pointlessness was the final Edinburgh Fringe show I saw, and it was a wonderful show to finish with, effortlessly summing up the mania, hilarity, sincerity, theatricality, tongue-in-cheek dancing and whimsy of the attention-deficit Fringe.

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Sweetshop Revolution: I Loved You And I Loved You

sweetshop{extravote 5} The advance publicity for Sweetshop Revolution's I Loved You And I Loved You stated that it explored the extremely talented Welsh composer Morfydd Owen and her love triangle with the man she married and the man she loved; someone later pointed out that the promotional photo was reminiscent of that for Dangerous Liaisons.

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James Wilton Dance: Last Man Standing

james wilton{extravote 4} For some time, every prize and award in contemporary dance seemed to be earmarked for James Wilton, until he relocated to Austria to work with Oper Graz, and since then, he has been developing his practice with commissions and teaching and continuing to create work for his company of which Last Man Standing, commissioned by Dance City, is the most recent.

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Vera Tussing: T-Dance

vera tussing chris nashT-Dance is a piece which explores touch and connection, and how to touch and connect with others when they are that little bit too far away to reach. Vera Tussing has been creating experimental work in a wide range of nontraditional spaces over the past years, and while the dancers' friendliness and informality are refreshing in the setting of a black box theatre setting, it's easy to imagine this piece being transformed by moving it to a nontraditional space, where the audience can't lurk behind the fourth wall.

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Gwyn Emberton Dance: My People

km my people rachele rapisardi rope girl 1000 Keith Morris{extravote 4} At many of the shows I've seen at this year's Edinburgh Fringe, the programmes aren't handed out till after the show has ended, and Gwyn Emberton's My People definitely benefits from having access to the programme notes beforehand. My People is inspired by a collection of stories from Wales's 'best-hated man', Caradoc Evans, and despite the very rich imagery of the stories Emberton uses, they depict such levels of pathos and cruelty, it can be hard to follow the specifics of each story: for example, the programme notes for 'Be This Her Memorial' tells us that 'Nanni sacrifices herself, for the respected Minister, Joshua Bryan Bevan, and is left to have her face eaten by rats.'

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