Friday, December 18, 2009

Dance can be dangerous

Interesting opinion piece from Alistair Spalding, Artistic Director of Sadler's Wells theatre (London's dance house) about the BBC removing Javier de Frutos' controversial piece from tonight's broadcast of In the Spirit of Diaghilev.
And for once on an article about dance - lots of comments! yes!

Do read.
And do watch BBC4 tonight (or on the iplayer for a week after broadcast)

The Guardian also has a Step by Step guide to Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Thank you The Guardian.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

List time!

OK it's the end of the year and even the decade so the List season is even crazier than usual this December. The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and the Guardian have all compiled lists for 2009 or written reviews of the decade.

Telegraph - Dance highlights of 2009
Telegraph - Dance: review of the decade
Sunday Times - Best dance of the decade
Guardian - review of the decade: dance

Bloggers are at it too, including Libby Costello, who writes for the London Dance website.

Here are my dance moments of the noughties, as Cloud Dance Festival says. This is very very subjective, mainly because I only moved to London in the middle of the decade, and didn't go to dance performances before. And then, I am not a critic, so I really don't see enough and I am sure some shows I have missed would deserve a mention! The thinking behind this very short list is to pick the shows where I went 'Wow, my friends have to see this', shows that I really felt were important and deserved to be seen, shows that opened my eyes to new things.

Royal Ballet of Flanders - Impressing the Czar.
I didn't know what to expect. The first part felt all over the place, there was so much stuff going on. Then In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated - it was like drinking a cold glass of water, it felt so pure and like watching ballet with a new eye. The third part, where all the dancers were dressed in school girls uniforms,made me want to stand up and shout out how great I was feeling.

Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal - Cafe Muller / Rite of Spring double-bill.
My first experience of Pina Bausch. The Rite of Spring, with its pile of earth on the stage, was so impactful - you really felt a drama was happening: a sacrifice was happening in front of your eyes.
Beyonce's Single Ladies video.
OK that's not a show, but what a dance moment, right? Watched millions of time on Youtube, copied and parodied ad finitum. The routine of the noughties. I think it will be as important as the Thriller dance routine.

Romeo Castellucci - Purgatorio
Not strictly dance, but what a piece of theatre. I was in shock after it.

Zero Degrees.
The London piece of the decade?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Preserving modern dance

A few weeks ago on Twitter, Martha Graham Dance Company asked how modern dance could be preserved. And a simple thought came to my mind: by being performed more! It feels obvious to me that if you want to create modern dance classics, you need to give people the chance to see them and enjoy them. I think Sadler's Wells in London has got it right, regularly bringing back real favourites like Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Sutra or Matthew Bourne productions.

Modern dance is a pretty young artform, and it feels like companies are always focused on presenting new works every year. They're always selling us premieres of new works with new choreographers, new music, the whole lot. But when do the previous works get restaged? And therefore, when do people get to see them and really know and understand them? I am sure there are some contemporary dance pieces that have the importance of Petipa's Swan Lake, but what are they, and how easy is it to see them?

Obviously now there is video and some companies and choreographers, like Siobhan Davies, are creating really useful digital archives. But others are more protective (see the whole palava about Balanchine ballets on youtube) - let's hope they embrace it soon or get their pieces performed more.