Monday, 16 September 2013

London Trip May 2013: Viva Forever, Top Hat and A Chorus Line

My mum and I had our annual trip to London at the end of May this year and, as usual, we spent most of our time inside theatres watching musicals!

The first show we went to see was the much-discussed 'Viva Forever!'. A lazy script full of characters based on ones from television comedy shows, poorly constructed story-lines and deseprate attempts to make fun of popular culture. My point of view on these elements of the show agree with that of critics, however, what the critics have failed to appreciate is the cast, set, music, acting, singing and dancing. A Spice Girls fan at heart, this show was very enjoyable, included many of the Spice Girls' big hits and the singers and musicians made them sound show-stopping. The acting and dancing were energetic and exciting and the whole show was really good fun. We were dancing in the aisles, spicing up our lives girl power-style. Magic.

The second show we went to see was the Olivier award-winning 'Top Hat'. Stunning, traditional musical comedy poured from the stage from curtain up. The band were terrific and dancing energetic, characterised and typically 30s. The costumes and set were wonderful, and all of the elements of a fantastic musical theatre show fitted together perfectly. It had the 'feel good' factor and filled the gap within the theatre world at the moment where there are only a few old-style musicals with traditional charm and humour. I was so sad to hear that this show is to close as it was truly the best show I've seen in years.

Our final theatre-trip of the London holiday was to see 'A Chorus Line'. I had heard a lot about this show, including the fact that there was no interval! My mum was quite tired that night but managed through the one-act show due to it's engaging content, fantastic score and well-scripted characters. This show had thought-provoking content, taking each character as an individual including great songs, striking monologues and, at times, quite crazy dancing! The ending was so fitting to the role of a chorine and, although it was set in the 70s (or 80s?), so many of the stories are so relevant to people today. I was laughing, crying, stunned to silence and energised beyond belief all in the one show. I hope I get the chance to go and see this show again...really soon!

Bring on London 2014 Mum :)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Scottish Ballet's Highland Fling- Matthew Bourne

My mum and I went to see Matthew Bourne's Highland Fling performed by the Scottish Ballet in the Theatre Royal, Glasgow. I am still very excited when Scottish Ballet do contemporary ballets as I think it has really brought the company on in the past few years and attracted more people back to the theatre which is great!

Highland Fling was a lovely "wee ballet" with a plot to rival an episode of Jeremy Kyle, set in the east end of Glasgow. Beautifully danced, particularly by the lead male on the night we went, Owen Thorne, who seemed completely natural as the part of James. When dancing with The Sylph (Bethany Kingsley-Garner), they drew me into their weird, sometimes grotty world and transformed the classical ballet expected from this company into Bourne's vision of La Sylphide, Scottish style.

At times it was gory, inelegant, truthful, dirty and rough...but wow it was striking. Go see it if you have the chance. A great job done by Scottish Ballet, bring on the next one!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Ruth Mills Dance Spring Intensive

This wasn't my first experience of dancing with Ruth, but it was my first time at one of her intensives...and my girls weren't telling me was everything I needed and more!

The technique classes were exhilarating  exhausting, inspiring, energising, demon-butt-building, side-stretching hours of bliss. Starting with Mills' own technique and then moving onto release gave a great start to each day, my body soon remembered where those muscles were that I only use when I dance.

The afternoons were themed on duets and partnering, and this is where I felt out of my depth. I have danced my whole life, but apart from rock n roll, I have always been alone. Working with someone else, with my eyes closed, feeling them move with and against me was a strange but amazing experience. At times it really didn't feel like we were dancing at all, I worried that I was moving awkwardly and nothing felt like it flowed. I believe that the satisfaction of contact will come with time, I just need to relax into it and respond creatively as I feel.

At the end of the intensive, Ruth gave a lecture on some things that have been interesting her, one being the Fibonacci sequence of numbers. My two worlds felt like they were colliding...finally someone who was living in dance was also saying they were fascinated by maths and physics. I get fed up defending myself to people who don't understand how you can be creative and scientific all in the one brain. So now I won't...if they don't find both intriguing and don't want to believe that they are interconnected then it is their loss.

The dance/science lecture set me up for the sharing which followed. Having missed the final morning, I didn't have a lot to share, but everything I had learned technically and mentally during the intensive allowed me to enjoy every second. I felt connected to the material myself and my partner had created and I felt confident that if one of us forgot what came next that we had each other to explore and figure out where to go next. I have never had that feeling before, in any previous sharing or performance.

The final icing on the cake was that a friend actually came to see the performance. None of the friends I have known for years seem interested in dance, so when my lovely artist friend Sarah said she would love to come I was so so excited. Having her there was amazing, and I learned about how she can work as an artist while I danced, using gesture drawing as her focus. The drawings were nothing like anything I've seen before. They were dynamic and intricate and I felt like they radiated the energy we gave when dancing.

This intensive opened my eyes to a new way of moving, thinking and feeling. I can't wait for more.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Class with Errol White

This morning and yesterday morning I attended class with Errol White. Both involved 2 hours of technique, with a solid focus on alignment, clarity of movement, space and moving with the music. The technique was somewhat based in Cunningham with a Graham-esque feel too (my spine hurts... A LOT!). It was so lovely to focus on technique and moving each part of my body both in isolation and as one. Never have I ever concentrated so hard on knitting my rib cage to my abdominal muscles and dropping my pelvis. I feel that I danced with more power than I thought I was capable of, and developed trust in my body that I could relax and throw myself into the space whilst being safe and held by my centre.

Sadly, I can't make it tomorrow morning, so thank you very very much to Errol White, you have really inspired me to work hard at my core strength, now that I really see how it feels when everything is engaged. Tortured fun......