Monday, 29 November 2010

Dancing in the Snow

Today I created my own version of Singing in the Rain....Dancing in the Snow! Nothing makes me feel happier to be alive than dancing along the street singing and listening to the crunch of the untouched snow under my feet!

I stopped occasionally to take a breath of the cool fresh air and let a snow flake fall onto my tongue.

I LOVE winter, I hope everyone is keeping safe and warm in the snow. Try dancing along the pavement next time you're out, I promise you, it will make you feel free and fall back in love with the white stuff!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Everybody cut FOOTLOOSE!

Pantheon is a club I have been eager to join for years after being a member of the other big Glasgow am-dram club, The Apollo Players. They always deliver a great show and footloose didn't disappoint!

I have to say I could be bias here as my boyfriend was playing guitar in the band and one of my best girls Faye Wiggins was a comedy character and dancer.

Faye belted out "Been working so hard!" to open the show and already won me over! I loved every minute of her performance and was so happy to be genuinely ecstatic about a friend's performance! She was full of enthusiasm, her facial expressions, attention to detail and strong dance ability making her easily one of the strongest cast members.

Donna Douglas, playing the character of Urleen shone out from the others in the main dance sequences, her accuracy of footwork coupled by natural charisma drew my attention to her everytime she came on stage.

The cast were overall really professional, the odd technical hitch with microphones hardly affected the powerful voice of Ariel and every one of the young male singers were matched in ability to the lead. As is usual for an amateur group, there is always one male lead that sticks out by having little dance ability. This was a little awkward to start but once he got into the show a bit more, his character took over and the movement flowed better.

I was so energised by Pantheon's production I left feeling really excited and desperate to get back into musicals myself! The club is going from strength to strength and I am seriously considering auditioning for their next production, High School Musical.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


Wow! After seeing Strictly Tap Dance Fever, Tap Dogs and now Stomp, I really have had the best year at the theatre!

Stomp was a fast=paced, energetic 1 hour 40 minute straight-through show. The musicality of each performer was used to the highest level and the characters developed during each section were intriguing and funny.

My favourite sequence was the newspapers. The ways they were used to create sound and rhythm was inventive and original, each new sequence delivered with astounding accuracy.

The cast looked at all time like they were having the time of their lives, and so they should! I would kill to perform in this show!

This is definitely a show for all the family and I'm not one to use that phrase! Usually it describes shows for me that are for couples with children but Stomp was honestly the most fun performance I have seen in a long time, enjoyed by the small child in front of me as much as the elderly couple behind.

I am feeling very spoiled after a very rhythmical 2010 so far!

Friday, 5 November 2010

My rejection...

I got a wonderful rejection letter from a theatre company today. The man said that he prefers to work alone due to the current financial climate (not due to the fact that he cleary has social problems!) and along with many other narrow-minded statements about dance came out with this:

"The world doesn't need another dancer"

I wonder how he thinks he knows what the world needs. Moving on.... :)

Friday, 29 October 2010

Document 8 and Maryhill Integration Network

Document 8, a forward-thinking film and performance festival took place this week at the CCA in Glasgow. My interest lay in the story of Iranian dancers, who were exiled for their passion, dance treated as a crime.

This real-life Footloose story affected me deeply, even imagining dance and the arts being illegal leaves me feeling empty and restricted. After seeing the documentary film, I really appreciated how dance can be free and uplifting, bringing people together in a community, much more than a technique or performance art.

The performance by Maryhill Integration Network was colourful, energetic and to the point. I struggled to forgive the poor attempts at Highland dancing until the younger members of the cast began their freestyle section, showing individual character, expression and freedom. The cast communicated the highs and lows of living in their home nations and their journeys since living in Glasgow. It is hard to fault this group, as technical performers they may be lacking in experience but they are so much more than performers. These are real people, telling a story through movement which we can all relate to. The integration network brings these people together and gives them a common goal where their creativity can blossom.

Language barriers are never an issue when conversing through movement. This performance shed light on the differing cultures living in the city of Glasgow, beautiful interactions, free choreography and engaging personalities. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Cirque de Glace-Theatre Royal Glasgow

The Russian Ice Stars are a favourite of mine, with their skill on the ice and wealth of talent in dance and circus, their shows always make for a great night of entertainment.

Cirque de Glace Evolution followed the story of the beginning of time, from the earth being formed right up to a present day metropolis. Parts of the story didn't fit but it honestly didn't matter, the spetacle of the production was enough on its own.

The silks work was particularly well presented, the three female aerialists showing beautiful poise and technical accuracy. It was a shame that the contortionist lost her balance near the start but she made up for it nearer the end by repeating the position that had knocked her off initially. Indeed, it was still very impressive as she performed on top of a globe!

I will definitley be buying a ticket for the next tour and I'm looking forward to what other performance arts the cast can turn their hand to!

Monday, 4 October 2010

My dad dances like...

a 70s punk rocker, "boonin aboot" to the music and playing guitar on his leg. He once performed such an enthusiastic rockstar jump that he smashed the ceiling light in my Auntie's house!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Tap Dance Fever, Theatre Royal

When my mum bought me tickets for this show for my birthday I was over the moon! Let’s just get one thing straight before I tell you about this show, I LOVE TAP DANCING!!!

Tap Dance Fever took me through the art of rhythmic dance from the era of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers right up to the newer body-percussive styles of Stomp and Tap Dogs.

Due to my dance experience and slightly crazy obsession with tap I was going to be a fairly difficult audience member to please! Initially I struggled to ignore the dodgy click tracks and unconvincing miming from the chorus and not least the terrible combinations of jazz-style tap shoes and skirts (very unflattering on the legs)! I felt disappointed in the costumes for scenes from 42nd Street where they didn’t always co-ordinate through the chorus members and just didn’t have quite enough sparkle!!!

By the end of the first half, all of my criticisms for costumes and backing tracks were well and truly forgotten and I was totally won over by the abilities of each and every member of the cast. When they performed in unison, it sounded like there was only one dancer on the stage, a tell-tale sign of perfect timing and spot-on rhythms.

The main female singer in the cast bared an uncanny vocal resemblance to Christina Aguilera, which was shown off when the girls of the company performed a fabulous cover of “Candy Man”. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a programme available for this show so I can’t name all of my favourites!

The interaction between the dancers was amazing, it was clear that they were having the time of their lives and so was the audience. The energy and spirit held right to the very end of what must have been an exhausting performance!

The standing ovation during the final piece summed up the performance. Tap Dance Fever was an outstanding, fast paced and invigorating show.

They had rhythm, who could ask for anything more?!!!

Richard Alston, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

I was so excited to have got a 2 for 1 offer on tickets plus free pre-show talk with Richard Alston at the Theatre Royal. I hadn’t seen any of his work before but had heard really good things and knew he was the artistic director at The Place in London too, so he must be good?!!!

I took my boyfriend and we went to the pre-show talk which was very educational for me in terms of Alston’s choreographic processes. He appealed to my other half too as a musician due to most of his ideas and decisions for movement being influenced by music.

When it came to the performance itself, however, I have to admit I was slightly disappointed and don’t really have much to say. One more mature female dancer stood out as excellent amongst a fairly un-expressive company. I just didn’t “feel” the pieces shown, maybe I wasn’t in the right move or maybe the pre-show talk left me with too high expectations.

The second piece I found highly enjoyable in terms of movement and the lighting effects to create the “light through a window” were magical. Unfortunately, the lighting was more convincing than what Alston had described earlier as an intense emotional connection between man and woman. The dancers faces were still and I didn’t feel connected to the movement, although the choreography was beautifully subtle with bursts of light in amongst modest shade.

I will go and see more pieces by Richard Alston as I believe that he must have more in his repertoire that would suit my tastes more. Would I go to another pre-show talk? I’m not sure; I think that this one made me enjoy the performance less, what do you think?

Friday, 25 June 2010

Birth Control

What gives a woman an identity? I think that identity is something that most of us seek, and though it can at times make us the same it more often than not drives us apart. Are we restricted by culture, fashion and outside opinions?
What all women can share, if they choose to, is the natural experience of childbirth. According to Kate E Deeming, performer and choreographer of “Birth Control”, it is during labour when a woman finds her true voice.

The pre-show discussion gave me an idea of what I might expect from this work and the audience were chatty and enthusiastic about the issues she had raised concerning identity. Without warning other than “this could get a bit weird”, Kate E’s screaming and groaning silenced me as her piece took form. Initially unaccompanied, I felt a little uneasy watching what looked to be someone giving birth. Perhaps this is because I am not a mother myself, but neither is Kate E, which ironically intrigued me and held my attention. I couldn’t understand why someone could have such a fascination with something they hadn’t experienced themselves but I was soon engrossed.

After an initial feeling of discomfort, the piece transformed into an unidentifiable moving figure, having been re-born and moving freely and fluently. I was struck by the way the suitably-coloured blue scarf hid Kate E’s face, a colour in the past reserved for royalty. My attention was drawn to the movement of the body, the body seeming to move unconnected to the person, exactly as Kate E intended.
I feel that women enjoying their bodies and feeling comfortable and free in the way they move is rare. I left this work-in-progress feeling lifted, free and inspired as a woman.

I am interested to see how this piece develops and into what type of performance. My feeling is that as a theatre/cabaret piece, it doesn’t work in its current form. I feel that more movement by way of an introduction before the birth would be necessary to engage the audience from the start. This way, I think that the audience feel more comfortable in witnessing the intimate and vulnerable movements of the birth. As Kate E said herself, the piece would be suited to film and she will be continuing to work on this piece well into 2011.

Overall, the piece was free and inspiring, once I got over the shock of the initial material! By collaborating with musician Simone Welsh and communicating through instrumental and body percussion, I feel that the piece would appeal to music, dance and art enthusiasts alike. I hope that Kate E continues to develop “Birth Control” with Simone and further investigates how to communicate using the body of the unidentifiable mover.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Journey Dance Company "Prey" Work in Progress

Laura Forbes, artistic director of Journey Dance Company dances in and presents her latest choreographic piece, “Prey” as a work in progress. This sharing, at Dance House was developed further from a previous residency at Dance Base and involves BA dancers from LIPA and Edinburgh’s Telford College, where Laura herself graduated in 2008.

Laura’s ideas developed from natural relationships between predators and prey, her dancers revealing something about themselves in their movements. “Prey” was, to me, a vivid and exciting piece, bringing to the audience the personalities of four individually powerful dancers, who together produced an alluring performance.

With open windows in the Glasgow City Centre Studio, my concern lay with my attention span with so much background noise. I need not have worried. From the moment Jo Jeffries began to slowly explore the space in front of me, I was captured by “Prey”. Laura Forbes’ choreography is mesmerising, she has considered every part of the dancer’s body during each careful choreographic step. Agnes Bell’s light fingers traced the ground with an intricate path along which her body then followed. This style of movement lent itself well to the intimate nature of a studio sharing and I am interested to see how Laura develops such expression for the stage.

Joined by Laura herself and Sophia McGregor, the dancers related beautifully by means of a web-like elastic. This brought another dimension to the piece when Jo entrusted her with the care of this material. My reaction to this was natural, as if we had all been part of the idea in the beginning, a hugely successful outcome to the sharing, whether or not it was a choreographic intention!

I felt each dancer brought their personality to the piece and created four very different characters that could be further developed. Satya Dunning of Dance House discussed development with Laura and suggested that she continue to develop this piece, even after she tours in June. My feelings reflect those of Satya as I think that Laura would enjoy having more time to look into the themes of the piece and continue to develop solo material for her dancers.

Journey Dance Company created, for me, a special bond between the dancers and audience. This is an enchanting piece of contemporary dance, on which I must commend Laura Forbes and her company dancers for putting across so beautifully. I am looking forward to watching this piece grow and adapt to new spaces on its tour.
See “Prey” this month with Foundations Dance Collectives’ tour, “Founding Roots”.