Groundbreaking triple bill at DanceEast
- Credit: Photo by Mark Douet
One of the nation’s greatest dance companies is coming to Ipswich to unveil a triple bill of new work. Arts editor Andrew Clarke takes a look at what is in store when the National Dance Company Wales takes to the stage
Three innovative, groundbreaking works by exciting, young talents will be dazzling audiences at the Jerwood DanceHouse this weekend as DanceEast plays host to the National Dance Company Wales.
The company’s director Caroline Finn angled for an invitation to perform there after she was dazzled by the building and the performance space.
“I am a bit of a fan of your lovely building,” she says with a laugh. “I have been twice now. Once when i was on the jury of the BBC’s Young Dancer competition and again when I attended one of the rural retreats that DanceEast hosts and I fell in love with the intimacy of the performance space and thought it would be wonderful to stage something there.”
The National Dance Company Wales will be unveiling three very different contemporary dance pieces: Profundis, by Israeli-born Roy Assaf, which Caroline describes as a provocative and sensual ensemble piece, featuring whimsical wordplay, vintage bathing costumes and an exotic soundtrack.
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Then Lee Johnston’s They Seek to Find the Happiness They Seem is a heart-wrenching duet, set to music by Max Richter. A jigsaw puzzle of reconfigured snippets from classic love stories and famous dance partnerships like Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, this piece focuses on the theme of dislocation and separation within a relationship. Its title is inspired by a lyric in Irving Berlin’s Cheek to Cheek.
Finally, there is Caroline Finn’s darkly comic expression of life, in her piece Folk, which, using her quirky and highly engaging choreographic style, explores themes of social dynamics, surreal scenes and characters come alive to an eclectic and enchanting musical landscape.
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Caroline Finn said: “We’re thrilled to be presenting three such contrasting works. All three have themes which are rooted in humanity, relationships, and the things that we put into question on a daily basis. Each one creates its own unique universe for audiences to dive into, and I believe the combination of all three works in an evening not only shows the versatility of the company but also how diverse and engaging contemporary dance can be.”
The company is also providing a strong programme of community engagement work aimed at people of all ages.
Watch Dance Class is an open house session in which anyone and everyone is invited to watch, sketch, film and photograph a ballet or contemporary class on stage, giving a unique glimpse into how NDCWales dancers prepare hours before a show. Perfect for dance students, artists, bloggers, photographers and anyone interested in peeking behind the scenes. Watch Dance Class is free to attend, but booking is required.
The Post-Show Talk is for those of us who sometimes leave the theatre with burning questions, brimming ideas or inspiring thoughts on what we’ve just seen; a free opportunity for an informal chat and Q&A with artistic staff and dancers.
Dance fans will also have the chance to connect with Caroline Finn NDCWales’ award-winning artistic director, in a special workshop for those aged over 55. The workshop will focus on a warm-up and contemporary technique work, followed by the chance to learn an excerpt from dance piece Folk.
Triple Bill from the National Dance Company Wales will be staged at DanceEast’s Jerwood DanceHouse in Ipswich, from September 22 – 23.