REVIEW: Cloud Dance Festival: “Showtime” – Bernie Grant Arts Centre, London, Friday 15th November 2013

 

SHOWTIME: AN INSPIRING EVENING SHOWCASING EMERGING CHOREOGRAPHERS.

 

Fresh. New. Talented. Evolving. Emerging. Whatever buzzword you opt for, Cloud Dance Festival’s opening Showtime line-up encompassed the most innovative up-and-coming new works from the world of contemporary dance.

Cloud Dance Festival (CDF) was founded in 2007 by Chantal Guevara to provide a platform for the ground-breaking choreographers and dance companies of the future. Showtime, held at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, North London, is CDF’s first festival funded by Arts Council England.

Themes of the festival centred on striving to improve, finding your own path and being true to yourself. All while also developing as a young creative (whether a dancer, choreographer, dance writer, photographer or videographer).

 

Cloud Dance Festival: Showtime. Jo Meredith photographed by Mikah Smillie.

Choreographer Jo Meredith (publicity shot by Mikah Smillie).

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FEATURE: Cloud Dance Festival: “Showtime” – Bernie Grant Arts Centre, London, November 2013 – Milton Keynes angle

 

Milton Keynes-based writer, journalist and dance reviewer Georgina Butler was selected as an emerging dance writer for Cloud Dance Festival: Showtime in London.

Here, she reviews choreographer Jo Meredith’s newest work, Chimera

 

Having carved out a niche role reviewing the dance productions at Milton Keynes Theatre, a writing opportunity at choreographic showcase, Cloud Dance Festival: Showtime, was too good to miss.

I have been a dancer and a writer for as long as I can remember. Ballet classes are a necessity in my week (not forgetting jazz, contemporary – any excuse to have a bop) and writing has always been my ‘thing’ – from excelling at essays to reporting for Milton Keynes’ favourite newspaper.

Hopefully, regular readers enjoy my reviews but I am always keen to improve and broaden my understanding of both dance and writing. Imagine this journalist’s excitement, then, to be selected as an emerging dance writer for Cloud Dance Festival: Showtime, held in London over three days (Friday 15th to Sunday 17th November). This thrice-yearly gathering allows groundbreaking choreographers to share their work. As part of this latest festival, Cloud Dance held professional development workshops in dance writing, dance photography and dance filming, led by industry experts.

So, on Friday, I joined four fellow wordsmiths with a keen interest and background in dance at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in North London for a four-hour writing workshop.

 

Rehearsal picture for the new work from choreographer Jo Meredith, Chimera. Part of Cloud Dance Festival: Showtime.

CREATIVE VISION: Dancers rehearse Jo Meredith’s Chimera (Photo by Chantal Guevara)

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FEATURE: Writing about Contemporary Dance at Cloud Dance Festival: “Showtime” – Bernie Grant Arts Centre, London, November 2013

 

Cloud Dance Festival #writingdancingwriting #dancingwritingdancing

 

As an enthusiastic writer, journalist and dance reviewer, I am always seeking out opportunities to write about dance, theatre and the arts, participate in dance classes and learn more about my favourite things (unsurprisingly, dancing and writing!). So, upon discovering Cloud Dance Festival and seeing that organisers were offering selected dance writers the chance to attend a professional development workshop, I applied.

Cloud Dance Festival is a thrice-yearly platform showcasing the best in new and emerging contemporary dance. It was founded in 2007 by Chantal Guevara, a freelance dance producer, manager and photographer. She is passionate about helping artists to raise their profile and build the connections they need to further their careers.

For the first time, this month’s event – Cloud Dance Festival: Showtime (15th – 17th November 2013) – included the opportunity for promising dance writers, photographers and videographers to attend masterclasses led by industry experts. I was thrilled to be invited to participate in a half-day workshop on dance criticism before watching the mixed-bill evening performance.

 

 

"Dance with the pen": #writingdancingwriting #dancingwritingdancing

“Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education. Dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?” – Nietzsche.

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REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, January 2013

 

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is at Milton Keynes Theatre this week and the innovative choreographer has added some bite to the ballet classic.

Matthew Bourne made his name with bold re-imaginings of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (his was set in an orphanage and titled Nutcracker!) and Swan Lake (complete with a mesmerising ensemble of male swans). Seventeen years after the premiere of Swan Lake, Bourne’s company, New Adventures, is completing the Tchaikovsky trilogy with Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, a gothic interpretation of the Charles Perrault fairytale.

Storytellers and choreographers have adapted the potent plot before. Versions of the story explore the themes of good versus evil, the beauty of youth and transformation, the power of evil curses and the all-pervading idea of love conquering all. Walt Disney’s 1959 film sharpened the original narrative to create more of an ongoing love story. Somewhat more controversially, in 1985, avant-garde Swedish choreographer Mats Ek cast Aurora as a junkie, with a syringe being the cause of a pricked finger.

In Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, we still encounter the poisoned rose thorn that audiences expect – but the love story turns supernatural as vampires feature in the scenario.

 

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty.

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