Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Barrowlands Project- 8th September 2012

I went to see Michael Clark's Barrowlands Project as I knew I few people in the community cast and I'd heard wonderful things about the choreography.

I wasn't disappointed. The performance was stunning, shocking, technically brilliant and visually spectacular. The community cast were a highlight for me, I'm not sure if it was because I knew people in it or not, though I do love mass choreography. Just seeing everyone moving together, crossing patterns, making geometric shapes and coming on and off the ballroom floor with speed and accuracy was really really exciting! The Barrowland ballroom made for an atmospheric back drop, perfect for Michael Clark's work as it has a sort of dark, slightly dingy-vintage appeal.

The music really suited the choreography, and the company made use of the space, creating depth and height to otherwise simple but effective movements. Female dancer Kate was a favourite of mine, her feminine strength and height (ok, I'm bias as a fellow tall person) were mesmerising, and she performed with such ferocity and control. All of the company had amazing strength, particularly core strength which was obvious from Michael's use of floor work and suspension. The hanged man had me holding my breath while the community section had me out of breath, trying to keep a track of what was coming next.

Wonderful setting, wonderful choreography, wonderful dancers....just wonderful!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Casus' "Knee Deep"- Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Casus are an Australian circus company, specialising in work containing acrobalance, aerial, dance and physical theatre. I had been recommended their Fringe show "Knee Deep"by my Dad who had read a 5* review a few weeks previous.

The venue was the Spiegeltent Teatro in Assembly George Square. A combination between a big top and a cabaret club, it had a great atmosphere for this intimate show. The venue was packed and although Casus were nearing the end of a sold out run, they seemd anything but tired.

I was overwhelmed by the delicate strenght of the sole female performer (Emma Serjeant), who stood out as a strong technical artist. I was excited to see such a powerful female presence in Casus' work as it contrasted with the over-use of females in circus as the elegant, vulnerable assistant, spending her time on the top of balances or being passed between male performers. The male cast members were equally as powerful (and elegant!) making Casus' performance refreshingly genderless, showing each performer for their individual strengths without stereotyping or making the obvious choices according to gender or looks.

"Knee Deep" lasted an hour, but not one second was wasted, with the highlights for me including the head balance on the static trapeze and delicate work on top of eggs. The range of skills mastered by these 4 performers seemed unlimited, and it is definitely one of the most captivating performances I have seen. I will definitely buy a ticket for a Casus show again if they return to Scotland in the future.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Great Scottish Run for Ruth and 'It's Good 2 Give'

The first time I met Ruth Sandison I knew we were going to be great friends. She is kind, considerate, generous, intelligent and most importantly, completely nuts. When I found out she had cancer as a teenager it really put a whole new perspective on my own life. Ruth is an inspiration. She embraces life, works hard and helps everyone around her. She is a normal girl, doing extraordinary fundraising and campaigning after a significant life-altering illness. She never looks for sympathy and always puts others first. She is the perfect ambassador for the survival of cancer which sadly affects so many of us.

When she told me she'd signed up to climb Mount Kilimanjaro I wasn't surprised. Ruth does so much great work for charity, I knew it was only a matter of time before she chose to do something BIG! She told me about 'It's Good 2 Give', how she found out about them and how she wants to raise as much as she can for them. This tiny but ambitious charity (direct quote from founder Lynne) aims to raise money  to support young people affected by cancer and their families, and in the long term for a purpose-built respite house. Based in the east of Scotland and being a small friendly charity, Ruth has chosen well for her spectacular challenge. I really wish her, and the rest of the team from It's Good 2 Give, all the very best in October 2013!

As Ruth and I know each other form University, we both know how difficult it can be to find money to support a charity. Because of this, we both enjoy helping charities in other ways through volunteering, campaigning and sponsored events. When I decided to enter the Great Scottish Run 10k, I knew that I wanted to raise money to help Ruth in her Kilimanjaro challenge, and support 'It's Good 2 Give'. Training for the 10k was tough at times but the steady flow of sponsors and supportive texts from Ruth kept me on track and I felt good (but nervous) when I headed into Glasgow city centre this morning.

The run went really really well. The crowd were fantastic and the runners all looked out for each other. A member of the public actually caught me when I tripped on an uneven section of pavement saving me from a fall close to the 9k mark! I was buzzing from the atmosphere and loved having my parents, boyfriend, Ruth and her mum Shirley at the end to celebrate with. I can't thank them all enough for coming out this morning to support me. Seeing Ruth to share my excitement for the event and the money I had raised for 'It's Good 2 Give' made all the sweat, blisters and aching muscles worth it!

So far (I still have a few donations to collect), I have raised just over £300 which is way more than I could have donated to Ruth's hike on my own so I am very grateful for all my friends and family for their donations. It has been an honour to run for my brave and wonderful friend Ruth and I am so thankful that I have been able to help 'It's Good 2 Give'.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Smallpetitklein Kick Start

Last week I attend SPK's Kick Start summer intensive at The Space in Dundee. It was a 4day intensive with fundamental technique and dynamic work in the mornings followed by rep and creative work in the afternoon.

My body went into shock after the first day! I started running this summer and haven't been in the studio for months so my body wasn't best pleased by the range of movement I was expecting it to attempt. I am sure I looked anything but elegant but wow I felt like an angel dancing on clouds. That is the fantastic thing about dance, it can make you really FEEL. I can't describe how dance does it, but I feel alive as I move, and nothing else matters.

Ruth Mills took the first day and the first class (Graham-based and a dash of Beyonce) of each following day. I know Ruth's classes though I haven't been for a long time so it was wonderful to be back in the studio with her, her wit and fantastically encouraging way of giving corrections. Never have I known a dance teacher to inspire strength and energy like she does. Her classes are truly invigorating.

Tommy's Cunningham-based  classes were dynamic, challenging, exhausting but wonderful! Cunningham has a way of making me feel like I am moving freely, giving into gravity and letting my body take me where it wants to naturally. Even though I don't think have ever felt so much discomfort in my quads, moving felt amazing. Tommy's music choices really helped bring out my energy too, I couldn't stop smiling.

After I seized up and attempted to eat through the tiredness over lunchtime, creative work at times felt like a chore. The initial challenges of working with someone you don't know anything about dance-wise (or otherwise) were soon put aside and I found myself moving with and against my partner and creating work reflecting characters from SPK's production 'CUT'. I won't tell you much about it, you have to go and see it at the 2013 Fringe! I worked alone on character choreography and involved voice and physical theatre elements which I enjoyed too. Bringing everyone together to share their material was great as some pieces had similarities where others couldn't have been more different. Everyone I worked with this week was encouraging, friendly and very talented, I couldn't have asked for a better group of students to share in the intensive.

The finale of the week was our sharing, which members of the company, friends and staff from The Space attended. I wasn't sure at first how it would all look to them, and I am still none the wiser, however I look forward to seeing the film footage! It felt great getting so close to the audience and making direct eye contact, ensuring that they were sucked into the atmosphere we had created inside the studio. They seemed really engaged and joined in with the sections of the piece where we wanted some interaction and audience participation. The addition of props, pigs, cellophane and a huge red dress made the piece exciting, complex and (now I've lost all modesty), a bit of a spectacle for a studio sharing!

I now proudly wear my 'I love SPK ' t-shirt knowing I worked hard for it, and really do love the company! I can't wait until next year, but in the meantime, I'll be back at Graham in 2weeks.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Cats- A Dollar Academy Production

Dollar Academy took on one of my favourite shows and I will admit, I was worried! I knew that the school had some fantastic vocalists but, as a dance show, I had the suspicion that Cats would be too big a challenge.

I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did those amazing vocals find their way perfectly though Lloyd Webber's score, there was some beautiful pieces of movement too.

On the whole I felt that it needed more dance as there was too many moments of stillness on stage during the big songs, but there were a few girls in particular who absolutely nailed it. They moved like felines, whether waiting at the side of the stage, sitting posed, walking or dancing, every muscle movement was thought out. It was a pleasure to watch these few girls who had clearly looked for inspiration from their nearest pussy cat.

I had hoped to see more choreography from Cats, which is so famous as a dance show. The school has the talent, it just needs to be nurtured, polished up and choreographed.....if these things had been done this show could have been outstanding.

I can't believe some of the kids were only in 4th year....what a magical show. This school delivers once again with stunning scenery and costumes.... I went to the dress rehearsal so that really says something! The sound was spot on and the band sounded great....all done by school pupils. I heard the rest of the show week was a great success- congratulations!

Dance Moms

So I've discovered the TV show 'Dance Moms' online and all I can say is WOW-those kids can dance! The girls in the competition team have lovely technique, great poise and the fighting spirit that will help them make it in the dance world. As for the teacher.....well apparantly she produces 'employable' dancers but she needs to be more professional and stop starting arguments with the mums in front of the children. It's horrible to see adults behaving in this way and they should be setting an example for these young girls so that they grow up to be polite but confident in their dance careers.

I love watching this for the dance as the girls do a competition every week. The rest of the chat and drama-rama that goes on with the mums is irritating and at times I skip to the dances and put my laptop on mute.

Try's addictive!