52 Portraits: a year of solos capturing dancers' fears and freedom

The choreographed portraits in a video series featuring Zenaida Yanowsky, Robert Cohan and Jonzi D create an impressionistic portrait of the profession

Two years ago, the choreographer Jonathan Burrows and composer Matteo Fargion created The Elders Project, a small gem of a work that celebrated the experience, wisdom and grace encapsulated in the bodies and the memories of older dancers. With a cast ranging in age from 54 to 70, The Elders Project revolved around a series of solos in which each dancer performed a highly personal and concentrated sequence of movements, accompanied by songs whose lyrics had been taken from the performers’ stories about their lives and careers.

The success of those idiosyncratic snapshots has inspired Burrows and Fargion to expand the concept into 52 Portraits, a series of brief solos filmed by Hugo Glendinning and produced by Sadler’s Wells, which are being posted weekly online throughout 2016. Two of the original subjects, Betsy Gregory and Namron, return to the project; the others range from the 29-year-old dance-maker Alexandrina Hemsley to the 91-year-old choreographer Robert Cohan, and from performance artist Hetain Patel to Royal Ballet principal Zenaida Yanowsky.

Deeply poignant is the way Yanowsky introduces a vestigial rippling of ‘swan wings’ into her outspread arms

Clinkard dances with a recording of his mother’s last-ever phone message playing through his earphones

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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