Milton Keynes international festival
A thrilling collaboration between a circus and dance company full of daring leaps and bounds, and a giant Jenga set

Block is one of five circus-inspired events at the Milton Keynes international festival, which celebrates Circus250 (the anniversary of the founding of the world’s first circus by Philip Astley in 1768). The festival also celebrates the diverse ways people react to one another and to their environments. It does this in diverse and interesting ways: For the Birds, for instance, is a moonlit wonder-walk through Linford Manor park (soundscapes, projections, music, mechanical surprises), while Block explores the high energy (and occasional near-brutality) of city life under an afternoon sun in the town’s main shopping centre.

An expression of almost perpetual movement, Block is built on the collaboration of NoFit State Circus and Motionhouse (created and directed by Kevin Finnan; concept and design by Ali Williams). Superhumanly pliant dancer-acrobats connect, disconnect and reconnect as they construct, deconstruct and reconstruct simple and complex patterns and structures using large grey blocks (at a guess, 6ft by 2ft by 2ft). The blocks look to be made of concrete, but no concrete could be lifted, stacked, toppled and thrown around the playing area the way these are. Also frequently lifted, toppled and thrown around the playing area is the only woman (Giorgia Setaro) in the show. Her slight build partially justifies this, but when she’s carried upside-down, screaming around the blocks, now formed into a tower, a Fay Wray-era connection is inescapable. To note is not to condemn. Small changes could diminish – even eradicate – the impression.

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Source: Guardian Dance News

‘Murga troupes travel around Argentina in knackered old school buses, performing on makeshift stages in closed-down streets. These two are making ham and cheese sandwiches for the road’

Murga is Argentinian street theatre that combines dance with percussion. The first time I heard the hypnotic drumbeat of a performance was in a park in Buenos Aires. I walked towards it and watched the dancers as they moved from the first simple steps to the intense high kicks the performances culminate in. I was hooked. I wanted to know everything about it.

For ordinary, working class people, murga plays an important role. Austerity means it’s becoming much harder to live in Argentina. Murga gives them something to look forward to, an escape.

I liked how this quiet, fleeting moment stood in contrast to the flurry of activity all around

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Source: Guardian Dance News

Sadler’s Wells, London
Extreme precision and general mystification coexist in Eyal’s resonant follow-up to OCD Love

Sharon Eyal is one of the most startlingly inventive choreographers working today. In 2016, London audiences saw her strange and intense OCD Love, an exploration of the obsessive compulsive state, and in March this year Ballet British Columbia brought us Eyal’s weird, mesmerising Bill. Love Chapter 2 is a continuation of OCD Love, and like that work is presented by L-E-V, the Israeli dance company of which Eyal was one of the co-founders in 2013 (her partners in the venture are co-artistic director Gai Behar and sound artist Ori Lichtik).

Love Chapter 2 is, Eyal informs us, “post illness, after all was lost”. Love has died, but the memory of love, and its physical impression, linger. L-E-V’s six dancers, oddly costumed in grey leotards and black mid-calf socks, are wraith-like in the dim, smoky light. They seem trapped in some other-dimensional interzone, condemned to whirl through time and space for all eternity, possessed by the fraying vestiges of rapture. We see fragments of formal dances: a foxtrot sway here, a tango glide there. The dancers preen, roll their hips, ripple their backs, strut like flamingos, and essay quirky, off-classical motifs. They’re at once the tautest of ensembles, and a collection of utterly alienated and isolated beings.

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Source: Guardian Dance News

The choreographer on struggling with fatherhood, why dancers are like football fans, and taking hip-hop to Sadler’s Wells

Choreographer Botis Seva was born in south London in 1991 and raised in Dagenham. After training with hip-hop dance company Avant Garde, he set up his own company, Far from the Norm, whose work blends hip-hop with experimental theatre and dance. Seva has just been appointed guest artistic director of National Youth Dance Company. His short film Reach will be screened this summer in Channel 4’s Random Acts short film strand, while his new dance work, Reckonings, will be performed at Sadler’s Wells, London, 11-13 October.

Your film Reach is on TV soon. Tell us about that…
It just came about because of my son – he’s a year and four months old now. I wanted to make something about what I went through over the past year, as a father, and I wanted to be as vulnerable as possible. Everyone struggles through, and I think my struggle was trying to cope with the idea of being a dad. I still can’t understand it… I think it might be 10 or 11 years before I get it!

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Source: Guardian Dance News

New Term Orders

Make sure you place your orders early so that there is plenty of time to get ready for the exciting new September term ahead. Please message us if you can’t find an item you’re looking for and we will try to add it. Alternatively, call us on 01376 323667 to place the order over the phone, remember to quote the Discount code!

Special Discount Code Available to use until August 31st 2017. Just enter at the check out to claim the 10% Discount & free postage when you spend £25: DANCESUMMER17

New terms always bring lots to look forward to, with new classes, lovely new uniforms and many if you will begin to learn your new dances for the year of festivals and shows ahead – exciting!!

Enjoy the summer break!

Love the Instep team x

The story of Russia’s flagship dance company, from the patronage of the tsars to surveillance by the KGB, mirrors the country’s tempestuous recent history

This massive survey of the 240-year history of Russia’s most famous theatre begins on the night of 17 January 2013 when Sergei Filin, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, had acid thrown in his face. The crime, instigated by a member of the company whose ballerina girlfriend had been denied promotion, left Filin half-blind and the Bolshoi’s reputation in tatters. How could an institution that existed to celebrate beauty and exalted emotion be riven by such anger, jealousy and violence? Quite easily, suggests Simon Morrison, Princeton professor of music. “Rather than an awful aberration, the attack had precedents of sorts in the Bolshoi’s rich and complicated past,” he writes. “That past is one of remarkable achievements interrupted, and even fuelled, by periodic bouts of madness.”

Indeed, the assault on Filin pales alongside the treatment meted out to a forgotten teenage ballerina, Avdotya Arshinina, who on 5 January 1847 was “dumped at the door of a hospital experiencing ‘fits of madness’ and ‘constant delirium’. Pale and emaciated, she had severe injuries on her head and body as well as bruised, infected, ‘blackened’ genitalia.” She died of her injuries 13 days later.

Related: ‘​If the Bolshoi is sick, it’s because Russia is too’: the ballet company’s backstage dramas

Maya Plisetskaya had to write grovelling letters to Khrushchev apologising for not respecting the KGB surveillance

In February 1917, the rehearsal schedule simply announced “no rehearsal on account of revolution”

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Source: Guardian Dance News

The Place, London
Charlotte Vincent’s brave exploration of our hypersexualised world takes an unflinching look at when adults ‘follow’ and ‘like’ vulnerable children

We’re seated around all sides of an onstage lawn on which eight performers – four adults, four young teenagers – romp like puppies. Cute. One of the grownups (male) ends up bantering into a microphone; another (female) teeters silently by in stilettos, blonde wig and babydoll dress. Cute? Virgin Territory is Charlotte Vincent’s brave, uneven and unnerving exploration of the sexualised imagery mobilised by smartphones and circulated inside classrooms and across continents, of the gendered currents of power beneath them, and the effect this has on children entering adulthood.

Related: No false moves: 21 years of Vincent Dance Theatre

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Source: Guardian Dance News