Went to see Siro-A at the weekend at the Leicester Square Theatre. They are Japan’s answer to the Blue Man group. It was truly a “technodelic” experience. It started with a man dressed up as a white stub who shook hands with the audience…
Here’s their blurb:
Spectacular entertainment fusing video mapping, mime, breath-taking optical illusions and movement all set to a pulsating electro beat by on stage DJs.
My favourite bit has to be the Toshinori Abe sequence: it has it all – comedy, catchy tune and impressive moves! Here’s a trailer:
Check out times and dates you can catch this group perform in London. It all ends April 22.
For choreographer Rosie Kay, her latest ensemble production There is Hope was a journey of self-discovery during the research and creation part of the piece.
There is Hope begins in the real world, with an evangelical preacher who reigns over his flock with an iron grip. Rebelling, they are plunged into a world of chaos, where evil has the space to thrive and they are led through a dark world of dictators, perversion and almost alien-like fear. Breaking through these worlds of childlike terror and hell, they enter a world of purgatory, suspended in stasis, in an endless cycle of birth, life and death. A new world transforms with the scent of incense in the air.
The path to enlightenment can be hard work and various means are used to portray the baroque ideals of beauty including meditation, gospel singing and trance states. In the end the material world is stripped away and ultimately offers up a message of hope and redemption.
Both challenging and thought provoking, this new piece of Kay’s embraces her multi-disciplinary style of choreography, diverse collaborations and eclectic mix of visual media. Featuring five dancers and three musicians – performing on a visually arresting set.
There is Hope weaves elements of black comedy, live music, film, song and occasional nudity to deliver its message of hope and redemption. This new work follows the International success of 5 SOLDIERS.
I saw the show at Laban recently and for those of you who are yet to see it, you can catch the show on the following dates and venues:
Ticket prices and start times vary, so please check the websites for more information.
Finally they are back in the UK and if you have never seen Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, you simply MUST if you are up for a bit of culture and a laugh.
Can’t really sum them up any better than this:
…be amused and amazed as the all-male divas of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (or “The Trocks” to their friends) return to the UK following their last sell-out visit. With one foot in farce and the other in classical ballet, their dedicated tootsies shoe-horned into size 10 pink satin pointe-shoes the Trocks return return with a fabulous new programme, a lorry load of costume changes and lashings of diva attitude.
Watch a dancer transform into their ballet-diva alter-ego:
The Trocks plays at Birmingham Hippodrome Friday, 1 & Saturday, 2 February 2013. Performance times: Eves 7:30pm, Sat Mat 2.30pm. Tickets are between £15 and £34.50. There is a free post-show talk on Friday, 1 February. Call 0844 338 5000 or choose your own seat online at www.birminghamhippodrome.com (5% booking fee applies, calls cost from 5p per min). The programme during their Birmingham performances, which is subject to alteration, will be Les Sylphides/Pas de Deux/La Vivandière/Walpurgis Night.
Make sure to join in on this exclusive and LIVE look at one of the world’s most beloved comedy-dance troupes from 4:15pm on Friday, 1 February for the live open rehearsal live stream available on Birmingham Hippodrome’s social networks as well as on its live streaming account.
Candoco Dance Company and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance have joined forces to achieve greater access for disabled people into the dance profession and to advocate for the importance of inclusive practice in enhancing creative endeavour, it was announced today by Candoco Executive Director Rebecca Dawson and Trinity Laban Director of Dance Mirella Bartrip.
The partnership, which will formally launch on Wednesday, 17 October prior to Candoco’s performance at Laban Theatre, aims to embed inclusive practice into the culture of dance, integrating disabled dancers, makers, teachers and leaders into the profession. Candoco and Trinity Laban will promote inclusive practice in vocational training, developing progression routes for disabled dancers into pre-vocational and vocational training and providing leadership in establishing the UK as internationally significant for the advancement of inclusive dance practice.
In pursuit of these ambitious aims, Candoco and Trinity Laban are embarking on a comprehensive programme of activity to include providing mutual advisory roles for programme and curriculum developments, and audition processes; developing structured professional development programmes; providing regular placements with Candoco for Trinity Laban students; collaborating on youth projects and company and student performance projects; and Candoco repertory production and performances at the Laban Theatre in Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Dance.
Rebecca Dawson said: “Trinity Laban’s innovative philosophy and diverse community have been instrumental in resourcing Candoco’s groundbreaking workforce and we are very excited to be working together in a formal capacity to harness that history and commitment in order to drive a step change in dance training, performance and making.”
Mirella Bartrip endorsed Rebecca’s view. She said: “I am delighted that the close collaboration of Trinity Laban and Candoco over the years has resulted in consolidation of our association as a formal partnership. As two forward looking and entrepreneurial organisations, our dance artists and educators will collaborate to realize new horizons for dance art in the 21st century.”
Candoco return to Laban Theatre on Wednesday 17 & Thursday 18 October for two performances of Three Acts of Play, a triple bill featuring the London theatre premiere of Javier de Frutos’ new duet Studies for C.
Inspired by the poetry of Tennessee Williams and set to traditional Mexican Ranchera music, the duet is a celebration of difference and rebellion.
Richard Raymond has teamed up with internationally renowned dancer and choreographer Akram Khan to bring his directorial debut DESERT DANCER to the big screen. The British film stars Slumdog Millionaire’s Frieda Pinto as well as Reece Ritchie and Tom Cullen.
Set in Iran, where dance is illegal and punishable by prison – DESERT DANCER is the incredible true story of Afshin Ghaffarian who risks everything to fight for his dreams.
The story follows Afshin as he hacks into YouTube (also banned in Iran) and teaches himself how to dance by watching music videos – everything from Michael Jackson and Bob Fosse to Pina Bausch, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. With YouTube as his teacher, Afshin starts an underground dance company at university with his friends. As their skills develop the group put on a secret dance performance deep in the desert. Their story plays out against the 2009 protests, when the passion and defiance of a young generation lit the flame of revolution still sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
Director Richard Raymond said: “When I first discovered this story, I immediately connected with it and felt compelled to share it with the widest audience. It’s a story that provokes unity and reminds us of the hope to be found in human resilience and in the simple determination to fight for what is right.
“This film reflects a belief that we should all have the same rights and basic freedoms, no matter where we come from. And most importantly, we should all have the opportunity to realise our dreams.”
He added: “It has been a privilege and a great experience to collaborate with Akram, whose interpretation of dance is not just visually mesmerising but also beautifully spiritual and it is a testament to the passion and love surrounding this film that such a talented and dedicated cast have worked so hard in training with us.”
Choreographer Akram Khan said: “This film is the beginning of the end of a tradition of trying to capture dance… Because this film is not just about dance, but about the very purpose and reason why dance is so important in our lives.
“I am extremely excited to be working alongside the vision and passion of Richard, where at once, he sees and captures the true essence of the body. Not only is the story an inspiring one about the struggle to free oneself from a political regime through dance, but it is also the very freedom we all have a right to have, regardless of what country, what nationality, or what culture we come from. Dance transcends these boundaries, and film allows us to witness the fleeting moments of the soul in action. I feel this film reveals just that.”
DESERT DANCER also stars Nazanin Boniadi, who is an official spokesperson for Amnesty International USA and has campaigned against the unjust conviction and treatment of Iranian youth, women and prisoners of conscience.
The film will start Principal Photography in Casablanca on October 17th 2012, before moving to London and then finally Paris. DESERT DANCER will be released in the UK in 2013.
So lucky that I’m able to see ZooNation’s brilliant production of Some Like It Hip Hop again. Enjoyed it the first time around and enjoyed it even more with the tweaks they have done with the show. We see the return of the loveable characters of Lizzie Gough and Tommy Franzen…
Here’s a video to give you an idea of what it is:
Had the opportunity to join the cast during their technical rehearsal and managed to catch up with Tommy Franzen (Simeon Sun) and Andry Oporia (Chadwell Chichester III). I filmed a mini interview with them on my iPhone…
The show runs until 14 October at the Peacock Theatre, London and the tour kicks off in Manchester on 18 October. For a full tour line up, check out the Some Like It Hip Hop page
Join in the conversation and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Three brilliant pieces from English National Ballet were put on show at the awe-inspiring St Paul’s Cathedral. The company returned to St Paul’s as part of the City of London Festival‘s golden jubilee year with an excerpt from Ballet Russes Suite en Blanc created by the legendary Ukranian-born Serge Lifar as well as the world premeieres of two new dance works Of a Rose (choreographed by Antony Dowson) and Van Le Ngoc‘s The Four Seasons.
The dancers were ever so graceful and were accompanied by fantastic music by the Orchestra of English National Ballet featuring City Chamber Choir. one of the highlights was during Of A Rose where it featured a solo soprano voice and the 15th century English poem Of a Rose, a Lovely Rose against the backdrop of St Paul’s magnificent altar.
What a brilliant evening set in such an historic place with beautiful dance, music and a celebration of art. Thank you City of London Festival for having an array of interesting events in your festival programme. The festival ends on July 27.
So I went to see ZooNation Dance Company‘s Some Like It Hip Hop at the Peacock Theatre earlier this month and I was just completely blown away by the moves and the singing. This is how Sadler’s describes the show:
Some Like it Hip Hop, written by ZooNation founder Kate Prince and Felix Harrison, is the company’s first full-length production since the award-winning West End smash hit, Into the Hoods.
With a nod to Billy Wilder’s much loved film and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Some Like it Hip Hop is a comical tale of love, mistaken identity, cross-dressing and revolution; all played out in ZooNation’s trademark style of hip hop, comedy and physical theatre.
Directed by Kate Prince, with original music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde, the all star cast includes Tommy Franzén (So You Think You Can Dance, Blaze, Goldberg) Lizzie Gough (So You Think You Can Dance, Blaze) and Teneisha Bonner (Into the Hoods, Insane in the Brain, StreetDance 3D, Shoes).
ZooNation Dance Company was founded in 2002 by Kate Prince. In 2006, the company premiered Into the Hoods, which went on to become the longest running dance show the West End has ever seen. In 2010 ZooNation became a Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells, and Kate Prince became an Associate Artist.
Here’s a video to give you a flavour of what the show is about:
Having seen Blaze The Streetdance Sensation, there are a few familiar faces in there including Carlos Neto and Tommy Franzen. Check out some behind the scenes footage:
It’s the last week of Some Like It Hip Hop, so there’s still time to catch it at the Peacock Theatre. It’s on until Saturday 19 November.
Renowned performer and choreographer Akram Khan presents his new full length solo, DESH at Curve Theatre, Leicester, which started last night until Saturday, 17th September. DESH, which means homeland, sees Khan reconnect with his Bangladeshi roots.
Here’s what Khan has to say about DESH:
This production, according to the show’s producer, Farooq Chaudhry, is possibly the biggest collaborative project Akram Khan Company has done so far. For this solo performance, Khan has teamed up with Oscar-winning Chinese visual artist Tim Yip, who is production designer for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist and lighting designer Michael Hulls; dramaturg Ruth Little; Indian writer and poet Karthika Nair and Olivier Award-winning composer Jocelyn Pook, whose impressive credit list includes Brick Lane and Eyes Wide Shut.
Check out Khan on his DESH collaborators:
Sneak preview during rehearsal:
It’s all about Osamu Tezuka, who is regarded as the Godfather of Manga. The show heavily features two of his most popular works – Astroboy (which I used to watch on TV as a child) and Buddha. Watch the video below to get an idea of the thinking behind the show, which is part of Sadler’s Wells Out of Asia season:
Here’s how Sadler’s describes the production:
Visionary Japanese manga artist and animator Osamu Tezuka provides the inspiration for internationally renowned choreographer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s brand new work – TeZukA.
Working with an international cast of 10 performers including Daniel Proietto (AfterLight) and long time collaborator Damien Jalet (Babel (words)), three musicians and a calligrapher, Cherkaoui explores Tezuka’s fascinating world – a blend of tradition, science fiction and contemporary reality. Two of Tezuka’s manga stories which are well known in Japanese popular culture – Astro Boy and Buddha – have particularly captured Cherkaoui’s imagination in creating this new work.
TeZukA will feature a specially commissioned score from award-winning composer Nitin Sawhney with lighting and visual design by Willy Cessa and costumes by fashion designer Sasa Kovacevic. Tezuka’s original illustrations will be projected alongside work by video artist Taiki Ueda and calligraphy by Tosui Suzuki. Using the dancers’ movements to trace the physical evolution of Tezuka’s drawings – from a line on a blank page to a single Japanese kanji (letter) to a fully-formed manga character – Cherkaoui will bring the “God of Manga’s” philosophy, drawings and characters to life.
For me the highlights were the music and projections. Needless to say, the dancers had very impressive stamina and were mesmerising to watch. The only thing that I found quite heavy was them talking about bacterial theory… but all in all loved the cross-cultural mix and great to see two of the Shaolin monks from Sutra involved in this production.