Long time, no write. Life just gets in the way (and my other blog). I have tonnes of ideas for posts for What about Dance, I just need to get writing. If you’ve got something you’d like to get off your chest (dance based!) then I’m happy to have guest posts, anonymous or not. Just get in contact.
I’m always on the lookout for dance shows, because I’m a great believer in seeing and experiencing as many styles as possible to grow my own dancing. The latest I saw a couple of weeks ago was the latest show by the Yorke Dance Project at The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury. I had a couple of press tickets, so took along my old dancing friend, so we could reminisce as well as watch the show.
Yorke Dance Project is a charity, and perform across the UK and this show included 3 dances: MacMillan’s Sea of Troubles, the premier of Self, and Untethered Part 1, all modern ballets, with a cast of 6 sharing the roles.
The set for all 3 pieces are simple, and quite dark, but kept you hooked from the start.
Sea of Troubles
The rework of Kenneth MacMillan’s Sea of Troubles was developed working with Susie Crow, a dancer in the original work, and Jane Elliot who notated the choreographer. With different sizes of dancer to the original, the dance was reconstructed to suit, which was interesting to hear about in the post-performance discussion with Yolande Yorke-Edgell, and Susie.
Not having read the leaflet we were given beforehand, we were still able to deduce that Sea of Troubles is inspired by Hamlet. Sensitive in places, emotional, and fraught with angst, the dancers really brought to life the story in short segments. I find it a little awkward at first with all the pauses and change of scene, but it didn’t detract too much from the story and flow of the dance.
The dancers all bring their own qualities to the dance, and the audience were certainly gripped throughout.
Created by young choreographer Charlotte Edmonds, Self was inspired by the famous pas de trois from Manon, but with the man as the central character rather than the woman. It’s a demonstration of faith and passion for a partner – a theme that worked well in the dance, with conflict a big part of it.
The dancing was beautiful and lyrical in Self. I found it inspiring how strong all the dancers were, while remaining graceful throughout. The costumes were simple which worked really well – I find dancing in a long dress is hard and I don’t even get off the floor, so that made it more impressive.
I felt really emotionally connected with the dancers in this piece, something I don’t usually feel if not dancing myself.
It was an interesting piece and surprisingly mature for such a young choreographer, and used original music which worked really well
We saw Part 1 of Untethered, choreographed by Yolande Yorke-Edgell. This was a more audience friendly piece – if you’re excited by props, then watching the complexity of bands tethering dancers before they’re freed is a bit of a show stopper.
I have to admit I’m not really one for looking deep into the meaning of dance pieces, I prefer to just watch, be absorbed and enjoy, then maybe question afterwards. With Untethered I didn’t have to wonder what was happening, I could watch it for what it was. 6 dancers, the complexity of the dance, the moves and lifts, and how it worked with the music.
I found that even after the 3rd work, I still wanted to see more. Something I never thought I’d say about contemporary ballet as I’m usually more of a classicist. Obviously as I get older, I’m growing more open to new dance styles and appreciate the different artistry of dancers.
The evening ended with a short discussion session where you could ask the artistic director Yolande, choreography Charlotte Edmonds and Susie Crow.
If you get the chance to watch Yorke Dance Project, I’d definitely recommend it. Rewind Forward brings together a little bit of history reworked to contrast against new works. It’s also been great to see the quality of dance performances being shown at The Mill Centre.
Have you ever seen them? Do you watch dance styles other than the one you dance?