While we may not have had a hosepipe ban after all this summer, we have had a bit of a cultural drought as the theatres shut down and, I don’t know, all the dancers of the world went to Bognor Regis for their holidays. But the new season has been announced, and I’m excited. So I’m going to give you a rundown of what’s hot, and you’re just going to have to wait for the what’s not.
I was recently asked by the Critics’ Circle to nominate for the Centenary Awards next year, and I noticed how contemporary my list was. I tried desperately to chuck a few musical theatre names in there, so that I could fulfil the criteria of two genres, but I was definitely in the modern dance camp. I think this is because in the early days of reviewing, I said yes to everything, which meant I got farmed out to see the weirdest of the weird dance shows, and ended up developing a penchant for the more physical theatre/live art aspects of the artform.
The masochists among you may enjoy Evo Dimchev’s Lili Handel, whose shaven pallid body (decorated with ‘owt but a string of pearls), self-spanking and operatic wailing will give you nightmares for months to come.
People taking their clothes off and rolling around in paint? Yes please! Watching someone stand with their back to the audience in the dark for an hour? Splendid! A performance that starts at 7pm and ends at 7am? Where’s my sleeping bag? You get the idea. But I do love a good old fashioned ballet and there are some incredible ballerinas on the scene at the moment. So here goes, my totally varied, totally idiosyncratic top 5 shows for the forthcoming season:
1. Electric Midwife by Beth Gill
Tuesday October 9 @ the Platform Theatre, Central St Martins College of Art and Design, for Dance Umbrella
Think less robot-baby-catchers, more Big Apple minimalism. I love these pieces where you go into an auditorium space and every part of you rebels against the traditional setup – from your buttocks, who place themselves, no! Not on the seats! But on the floor! – to the enjoyment of human beings who, rather than merely jollying around to music, are placed with precision and detailed thought processes in the space to represent kinesthetic architectural ideas. Check out www.danceumbrella.co.uk for the rest of the programme. The masochists among you may enjoy Evo Dimchev’s Lili Handel, whose shaven pallid body (decorated with ‘owt but a string of pearls), self-spanking and operatic wailing will give you nightmares for months to come.
2. Mixed Bill by Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
October 11-13 at Sadler’s Wells
What’s exciting about this New York based company is its unveiling of a new work by Hofesh Shechter. While his movement material for Violet Kid seems to be treading the same ground as his previous works, In Your Rooms and Uprising, which also dabbled in examining “man’s struggle for harmony within a complex and often horrifying universe”, his intense and brooding choreography of hunched and rhythmical grace never fails to give me the shivers. Someone else who’s flailing around in metaphorical darkness (although apparently, the lighting is really rather good) is Crystal Pite, who has created a similarly severe group piece for Cedar Lake.
3. Michael Clark Company – New Work 2012
October 17-27 at Barbican Theatre
He is an icon. That is all.
4. Lyrikal Fearta – Redux by Jonzi D
October 18-20 and 25-27 at Lilian Baylis, Sadler’s Wells
Because he says shit the way I wish I could. I am particularly looking forward to Silence The Bitchin’ and shall mostly be heard quoting the following: “I saw this cat, who tried to come chat, I took a step back, ‘cos he sounded whack.” Mr D blends two of my favourite things into a sweet fusion he calls choreo-poetry, and hear me when I say that the man is a lyrical lion. Redux is made up of old and new hip-hop flava’d theatre works, and will be bringing the Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist back to the stage after an absence of ten years. It’s about frikkin’ time Jonzi, “yeah man, yeah man”.[http://www.myspace.com/video/jonzid/aeroplane-man/4352831]
Read Natasha Tripney’s interview with Jonzi D in this week’s issue of The Stage
November 15-16 at Sadler’s Wells
Contains some nudity. Need I say more? (You KNOW you want to embrace your inner perv).
Just kidding, I am so much more highbrow than that. What I actually meant to say was:
November 5-10 at Theatre Royal Plymouth, then touring
There was a time when, in the cool circles of contemporary dance, to admit to liking Matthew Bourne was tantamount to treason. His crime? Being a “sell out” – clearly, dancers must wear hand-me-down ripped leotards, live off grid and grow their own mung beans in order to fully appreciate the artform, not make (gasp!) actual money from their work and schmooze with the likes of Johnny Depp. Well, haters, I abso-love him. He makes amazing, large scale physical dance theatre, his cast of performers are hawt and his lighting and design associates off the scale. Completing the Tchaikovsky Triptych (alongside his versions of Nutcracker and Swan Lake), his world premiere of Sleeping Beauty bookends the 25th year of his company, New Adventures.
Wait, what? I forgot to mention any ballet? Well Hoover Damn. I didn’t mean to – I am telling you, things are happening in tights and tutus and next week I shall do nothing but talk pointe shoes at you.
Katie Colombus’ En Pointe dance column will be appearing every Tuesday.