U.Dance NorthWest 2015

U.Dance 2015 logosAt the end of last month (21st & 22nd March) The Lowry welcomed 300 young dancers to it’s building for the annual U.Dance NorthWest festival. It was a jam-packed weekend filled with workshops, icebreakers, challenges and of course the final performances where all 22 youth dance companies presented the choreographies they had been working on for over 3 months to friends, families, schools, dance professionals and the National selection panel.

For the Youth Dance Ambassadors it was a 9am Saturday morning start to set up for the long and exciting weekend ahead! There was already a buzz of anticipation for the young dancers to arrive as the #udanceanywhere challenges were placed around The Lowry, the schedules distributed between the volunteers and the badges/ leaflets laid out for the participants.


Each day kicked off with the U.Dance Festival Opening and Welcome talk in the auditorium hosted by YDA’s Emma Liu and Jade Aitchison. After a round of rubber chicken to wake everyone up and a quick talk through all the housekeeping, three students from The Lowry CAT (Centre For Advanced Training in Dance) gave a personal insight in to their prevocational dance training and gave a small performance for the U.Dance particpants. A moment that stood out was when CAT student Olivia spoke about her first knowledge of The Lowry CAT being when she came as a participant to U.Dance NW festival and sat right where all the young dancers were sat in the auditorium. She had been amazed by the CAT students in her opening talk, which then encouraged her to go to an Open Day and she then continued to audition and gain a place on the CAT scheme. A big Thank you! to Olivia, Alegra and Jake for coming to the festival.

After a slightly hectic filming of the curtain call which looked amazing on film at the end of the show, the entire auditorium took part in a ‘Getting to Know You Session’. The auditorium erupted in to a roar of creative chant choreography and it resulted in some incredible chants which included split jumps, sassy arm movements and company lettering.

Capoeira Group Photo

Theo Fapohunda, NEW Dance, Swati Youth Dance & YDAs

A quick lunch break and then on to the workshops/ teching. There was a range of workshop styles to take part in from Bollywood to Mind & Movement, Capoeira/ Breaking to Pilates. In every studio there was an environment of enjoyment and motivation to learn new ways of moving.

On Saturday Sheetal Maru and Dr Swati Raut taught a Bharatanatyam workshop introducing the dancers to the grounded movement and classical Bharatanatyam rhythms implemented by Swati Dance Company. It was beautiful to see the young dancers travel across the space as a collective with a newly found stylistic quality. In another studio Bridget Fiske gave the students an insight in to The Lowry CATs recent project led by Random Dance using the ‘Mind and Movement’ resource by Wayne McGregor to teach the participants new creative tools and new ways of finding movement vocabulary through exploring your own body. The dancers were engaged in searching out the places to take the body in order to create unique and


Swati Dance Company Workshop

Over both days the young dancers had the opportunity to learn Capoeira/ Breaking, on Saturday with Malachi Simmons, on Sunday with Theo Fapohunda. These workshops introduced the dancers to the idea of fusing styles together to find universal connections in movement and explore new physical possibilities within themselves as individuals. They learnt how to face the fear of tipping upside down, how to easily incorporate capoeira styles fuidly in to their movement and how to have fun moving whilst exploring new styles.


Capoeira/ Breakdance Workshop

In studio 2 on Sunday the energy was brought back down with a health enriching Pilates class taught by Alexandra Lamb a teacher at The Lowry CAT. The students were encourage to engage with their mind-body connection and Alex reminded them that looking after their health as a dancer was vital to their performance. This workshop may not have been as energetic as the others but it was definitely engaging!


Alexndra Lamb Pilates Workshop

Lastly but by far not the least was Rohan Shah & Anupam Hinge with the Bollywood workshop from Shiamak Dance Education. The sound of pumping music could be heard eachoing down the corridors, the heat of dancers being worked hard radiating out of the walls and the most impressive grins on every single students face shined through the room. Rohan and Anupam made learning this new and energetic style a fun and exhilirating experience for all of the dancers.


Shiamak Dance Education Bollywood Workshop

This year the festival saw the return of YDA’s #udanceanywhere. Throughout the weekend the youth dance companies were challenged to find the U.Dance 2015 logo hidden around The Lowry and complete the photo challenges that were hidden with each logo with a chance to win tickets to see ‘Opus’ at The Lowry in May. Every company threw themselves in to the challenges and got creative with their photos for each challenge. Below are just a few of the NorthWest Dance and Youth Dance Ambassador Team photos for #udanceanywhere. To check out all the photos from over the weekend follow us on Twitter @lowryyouthdance or visit our UDanceAnywhere Storify>>>


Alongside the workshops the groups continuously tech’d their pieces and then all of a sudden it was 7:45pm SHOWTIME!

The excitement backstage combined with the anticipation in the auditorium created a buzz through The Lowry from the Quays Theatre. The lights went down and the auditorium fell silent and U.Dance NW 2015 presented two nights of innovative, diverse and talented performances by youth dance groups from the North West of England.

Well done to everyone who performed and took part in the weekend and a massive thank you to all the Youth Dance Ambassadors who volunteered at the event.

Congratulations to Ludus Youth Dance Company and Commotions Girls Youth Dance Company who will be performing at the national event U.Dance 2015 in Plymouth. We wish you the best of luck!

For information about the National U.Dance 2015 Plymouth Festival visit the Youth Dance England website >>> www.yde.org.uk/

You can also check out our U.Dance NW 2015 Promo Video below:


A Night at the Lowry with Jasmin Vardimon’s ‘Park’

A review by Miriam Bowyer


On Tuesday night the 3rd of March at The Lowry, Quays theatre, the Jasmin Vardimon Company welcomed us to an evening of the production ‘Park’.

The company was first was founded in 1997 where it made its first stamp on the British dance theatre scene. Renowned for its theatrical and direct style it incorporates physical theatre, characterisation, the body and text and observing human behaviour.

The scene is set on a European street where the homeless live. Simple but yet effective the set holds an environment where these different types of people live, eat and breathe.

The opening holds a lot of characterisation as we are greeted by 8 different characters. The first character that took me by surprise was the bag lady performed by Nevena Jovanovic hiding on the bench she is made up of bags and you can’t quite work out where her body is. She slowly emerges and performs a repetitive motif swinging her arms around her head, isolating her hips and slowly walking on the insides of her feet. We as an audience can sympathise with the characters as they are all stereotyped.


The production runs on individuality each dancer as his or her own moment to show their personalities. It is extremely humorous and will have you laughing off your seat but also holds a strong political message. There are moments where you question society and our beliefs with the patriotic flag flying dancer Uros Petronijevic screeches at the top of his voice ‘ I believe in…..’ The stage at times can become hysterical with short, fast, upbeat motifs performed as a whole following different shapely patterns making it visually pleasing to the eye.

The music compliments the piece as a whole using modern day songs and incorporating old classics such as “singin’ in the rain”. Silks Muys is not only a dancer but uses her voice to create humor and compose the scene. Her girly like charm and childish voice distinguishes the characteristics of a lady of the night. She also at the very end surprises us but I won’t tell you why!


Photo Credit: Danilo Moroni

The costumes and props yet again are key items to help highlight the characters. Uros Petronijevic is highly energetic and fast on his feet using a basketball to balance on his middle finger he uses it as an intimidation game to threaten and ward off the others. Jumping off the walls and performing street dance steps we know as an audience he is edgy and dangerous.

Jasmin Vardimon’s Park is thought provoking and highly intelligent. Playing on societies values you end up questioning what would I do in that situation, how would I react? Within this park there are no limits or ideal promises everyone is to fend for themselves. With creative pathways and energetic footwork the piece becomes edgy and enticing.


I would recommend seeing this again! Truly imaginative and incredible choreography!
I throughly enjoyed the show and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the theatre. It holds all elements of singing, dancing and acting it’s almost like a musical production!!!

For more information about the Jasmin Vardimon Company and their production of ‘Park’ check out their website >>>

OR take a look at their Vimeo ‘Park/ In The Studio’ >>>

Birmigham Royal Ballet’s ‘Coppélia’

A Review by Alex Speake As the only dancer in a large group of friends, when I say I am going to watch a Ballet I am often made the laughing point of their jokes – and this time was no different. On top of the jokes about the stereotypical attendees of such a performance and the ‘old fashioned’ dance moves it will consist of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of ‘Coppélia’ was also met with quizzical looks in terms of its storyline. This is why I chose one of them to accompany me to the performance, for what I chose to call ‘An education in classical dance’.

Photo Credit: Andrew Ross

Photo Credit: Andrew Ross

Arriving at The Lowry, we received our tickets and headed to our seats, programmes in hand, and were met by the immense purple curtain, hiding the stage from prying eyes. As we took our seats, my accomplice made her first confession of the night; ‘‘So many different people are here, I thought it would just be little girls and elderly couples’’. In fact, she couldn’t be more wrong, within the audience was a vast mix of people of all ages, genders and – I can only assume – experiences with dance. The music started up, and the ballet began, the audience shushed into silence by the captivating orchestra. The first of a trilogy acts begins by telling the setting to the story, the engaged couple Franz and Swanhilda are humorously pushed apart by what –unknown to them- is a very beautiful doll, Coppélia. Which ends up has caused quite a stir in their quiet little village, resulting in both Franz and Swanhilda breaking into Dr Coppelius’ workshop to visit the ‘beautiful girl’ that is located within…

20 Years on: Posters from Birmingham Royal Ballet’s first performance of Coppélia  in March 1995, and the current performances, March 2015.

20 Years on: Poster from Birmingham Royal Ballet’s first performance of Coppélia
in March 1995.

20 Years on: Posters from Birmingham Royal Ballet’s first performance of Coppélia  in March 1995, and the current performances, March 2015.

20 Years on: Poster from Birmingham Royal Ballet’s current performances, March 2015.

Upon interviewing my friend after act two (which is my personal favourite section of the piece), I asked her if the performance was as she expected; ‘‘ To be honest I didn’t expect to understand any of it, but just watching it now I can tell exactly what is going on onstage, without the need to read up on the story afterwards’’. As someone who has seen many dance pieces in the past (and plan to see many more in the future!) I understand that people can sometimes think they will struggle understanding the dancers without words, but with Birmingham Royal Ballet this is never an issue. This company in particular go out of their way to ensure their audience understand the story, and aren’t left behind during this performance – they even go to the lengths of offering a child-friendly shorter and fully explanatory version of this ballet, allowing children from the ages of 3-7 full access to a beautiful art form they can fully enjoy. ‘Coppélia’ is a must-see classical ballet that, entering its 20th year with the company, will never get old, it’s dazzlingly beautiful costumes, extremely detailed set and perfect comedic timing have the whole audience giggling in their seats. When the curtains close, the whole audience want more.

‘Coppélia’ is at the Lowry for two more performances, to book your ticket for this afternoon or this evening >>> click here

Backstage with Birmingham Royal Ballet

By Jade Aitchison

The sound of costume steamers and an air of preparation fills the production corridors of the Birmingham Hippodrome as fellow dance ambassadors Joanna and Kelly and I, are taken on a tour by Kasia Kraus (Community and Schools Engagement Officer), round the newly-refurbished home of Birmingham Royal Ballet. Coppélia may not be a new production for the company but this year marks the 25th anniversary of Birmingham Royal Ballet making their move to the Hippodrome. The building seemed filled with celebration of their journey and the refurbishment breathes new life in to the centre of Birmingham.


Upon arrival we were surprised to find out that we would be involved in a walk around the stage and interview with Diana Childs, filmed by an Arts Reporter from BBC Midlands Today. (Click here to see the Youth Dance Ambassadors having a backstage tour on BBC Midlands Today >>>) Naturally all our thoughts immediately jumped to assessing our appearances after having sat on a train for an hour and a half, but having the chance to meet Diana was one of the highlights of my day. Diana Childs, Senior Stage Manager of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, has been with the company since before their move from Sadler’s Wells in 1990 and her passion regarding the company is inspiring so we were all excited at the opportunity to be personally shown around backstage.


Photo Credit: BBC Midlands Today 24.02.2015

As Diana walked us across the stage through the hand painted wooden door of Swanilda’s house, we came across a steep set of steps up to the balcony of the house. Diana explained to us, so as not to miss her entrance through the front door the lead ballerina did not have enough time to run down the stairs safely, so would jump from the top steps in to the arms of a male dancer and then appear as if by magic through the door on to the stage ready for her solo. This backstage insight in to the production had me anticipating a small section in Coppélia that I had never considered much before and as we sat and watched Swanilda disappear from the top balcony in the orchestral rehearsal, the thrill of whether she would appear through the door in time was ignited and left me in awe of the ballerinas unnerved agility as she reappeared two seconds later on to the stage.


This wasn’t the only hidden secret backstage! After having a look through all the props and stage pieces for the Second Act, that created Dr Coppélius’ spooky toyshop, we came across a black cat! No… unfortunately not a living cat but a stuffed bear perched within all the scenery. Diana explained to us that the cat had just appeared backstage when they first moved to the Hippodrome and so now they hide it within set pieces of each show as a tradition. A prime example that not all the fun happens on the stage. I must admit I did try to see if I could spot it in the afternoon rehearsal from the first circle, however the cat is hidden very well and you find yourself distracted by the captivating performance of the dancers and the beauty of the set transformations. This black cat crossing their path definitely has not lived up to the bad superstition and has provided Birmingham Royal Ballet with years of good luck as they continue to expand and grow as a company.


The orchestral rehearsal shed new light on the ballet Coppélia. Seeing the performers in their rehearsal/ warm up clothes made them appear more real but did not make the ballet any less magical. Instead of escaping in to the story of Coppélia, as you usually would when watching a production, I found a new appreciation for the dancers dedication, interpretation and exploration of their characters. They weren’t just characters in a story they were highly skilled performers exploring the stage, reacting to the live orchestra and mentally/ physically preparing for the opening show. Having the chance to see them change the set between acts exposed the hard work and commitment of the backstage crew in creating a flawless production. The changing of the backdrop, rigged set and prop pieces was an agile choreography in itself and highlighted the preperation that goes on behind the scenes, to result in such an outstanding ballet production.

Birmingham Royal Ballet have reignited my love for a traditional, childhood favourite. Coppélia with it’s beautiful score, intricate set design, flawless performance and comic nature grasps your attention from the very first note played to the final bows. I would recommend any budding ballerinas, families, or even just anyone wanting to escape the regularities of everyday life to go watch Coppélia and have a night off to experience the beauty and talent of Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Coppélia is at The Lowry this week! (Wed 4th – Sat 7th March) For more information and to book your tickets, click here >>>

Part 3 – Physical Theatre entering mainstream

Welcome back to the Physical Theatre Series! In our last feature (part 2) we looked at the different elements of physical theatre and the characteristics that make a piece fall into this particular genre. This week we take it a step further and look at physical theatre as a whole in the ever growing world of dance.

WTB©DannyWillems-5829Photo Credit: Danny Willems – What The Body Does Not Remember’

A significant physical theatre performance that has made a pioneering mark on the dance scene is undoubtedly, ‘What The Body Does Not Remember’ by Ultima Vez. Described as ‘tough, brutal, playful, ironic and terrific’ by the New York Times, this adrenaline-fuelled physical performance is fast-approaching at The Lowry, and is one of many physical theatre performances featured this season. What makes this performance different however, is that it debuted 25 year ago and today, with a new cast it is once again on a remarkable world tour.

With the revival of ‘What The Body Does Not Remember’ it makes you wonder, where does physical theatre lie in the world of dance today? Has the audience for this particular genre evolved and grown over time? Is it perceived differently today? How mainstream is physical theatre exactly? This week, Emma Liu explores and unravels these questions.

WTB©DannyWillems-longerPhoto Credit: Danny Willems – ‘What The Body Does Not Remember’

When ‘What The Body Does Not Remember’ first took to the stage in 1987 it stunned the dance world. It wowed audiences so much that founder and director Wim Vandekeybus along with composers Thierry de Mey and Peter Vermeersch received the prestigious Bessie Award. Described in 1987 as an innovative and extraordinary piece of work it is undeniable that ‘What The Body Does Not Remember’ certainly pushed the boundaries and helped shape physical theatre in the dance world.

 Tough, brutal, playful, ironic and terrific. Adjectives seem unduly passive in describing What the Body Does Not Remember, an extraordinarily innovative dance piece.” The New York Times, November 22nd, 1987.

The advancement and growth of physical theatre is definitely owed to critically-acclaimed dance companies such as Ultima Vez and DV8 Physical Theatre. Companies such as these help put physical theatre in the spotlight as they continue to revive or create new compelling work were no topic is off limit. With this, it attracts ever growing audiences and expanding media attention that thrive off the challenging themes and complex issues explored in these contexts. These internationally recognised companies tour the UK, Europe, America and beyond bringing physical theatre to the doorsteps of thousands from around the world.


Photo Credit: Danny Willems – ‘What The Body Does Not Remember’

When it comes to artists and dancers of the future, you could look at the national curriculum and say it is helping create a new generation of performers influenced by physical theatre that has evolved over time and is still continuing to grow through young people studying GCSE, A-Level and BTEC dance – so who knows where physical theatre will lie in ten years to come? But what I do know is that today, physical theatre is more accessible than ever and is a key part of the national curriculum and this is making it more mainstream. Plus why shouldn’t it be a part of the curriculum? It has many advantages for instance, you can merge and integrate various performing arts styles together such as drama and dance as part of a physical theatre performance just like dance pioneer Rudolf Von Laban explored. Laban played a major role in making physical theatre mainstream by exploring the relationship between three different disciplines of the performing arts together through physical performance. Looking at dance, drama and music Laban made it accessible for artists from different backgrounds to engage with physical theatre ultimately making it more acceptable.

3Photo Credit: ‘Day Eight, Bourgeon’ Rudolf Laban with some of his students – Dance pioneer who made physical theatre more acceptable.

So the idea of physical theatre becoming mainstream is clear – it is one of the most physically expressive styles used today, its popularity is increasingly growing, it is becoming more and more accessible and there is certainly no sign of it stopping yet!

You can catch Ultima Vez’s ‘What The Body Does Not Remember’ (14+) at The Lowry on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th March. (Highly recommended for GCSE, A-Level & BTEC Dance students.)

Don’t forget to use the promocode YDA, to access your £5 tickets offer (limited to YDA’s ONLY and a max of 2 tickets per person) use the promotional code YDA and go to ‘What The Body Does Not Remember’. Alternatively book your tickets over the phone by contacting the box office 0843 208 6000.

Find out more about ‘What The Body Does Not Remember’

Ask A Dancer… with Richard Alston Dance Company

Last Tuesday saw the return of Richard Alston Dance Company to The Lowry, celebrating their twentieth year with a knock out performance of Rejoice in the Lamb. Two hours before the company took to the stage to vibrantly perform alongside the music of Benjamin Britten, Youth Dance Ambassador Jade Aitchison had the opportunity to meet two of the dancers from the company, James Muller and Simon Donnellon.

From Left to Right: Simon Donnellon, Jade Aitchison and James Muller.

From Left to Right: Simon Donnellon, Jade Aitchison and James Muller.

A brief introduction to the dancers:

James Muller, 2013 (Hugo Glendinning)

James Muller, 2013 (Hugo Glendinning)

James Muller: Performed with Richard Alston Dance Company since 2013. Previously worked with Northern Ballet, Peter Schaufuss Ballet in Denmark, Ballet Ireland and Theater Ulm in Germany. Studied at the Royal Ballet School and Central School of Ballet.

Simon Donnellon (Hugo Glendinning)

Simon Donnellon (Hugo Glendinning)

Simon Donnellon: Joined Richard Alston Dance Company as an apprentice dancer in 2014. Previously worked with Mark Baldwin, Alexander Whitley and collaborated with Rosemary Millbank for Design for Dance 2014. Studied at Bird College and Rambert School.

Ask A Dancer: James Muller & Simon Donnellon

What’s your first memory of dancing?

JM – I guess my first memories were from my local dance school. Probably when I went to see an end of term showing. My sister danced before me. Seeing them and wondering if that was also something I could do.

JM – I was a big fan of Michael Jackson when I was younger, so I was kind of inspired to dance in some way. I was about 8 years old yes seven or eight.

What dancers inspire you?

SD – Dancers!? There’s quite a few. I think for me… I don’t know their names… If I personally go and see a dance company perform and it would just maybe be one movement that someone does or the way in which it is different from someone else. I would be like ‘oh wow their amazing!’ I remember, I went to see Cedar Lake and more so than the choreography, it was just the dancers that impressed me themselves. In contemporary there’s just so many dancers around. There’s a guy that I really really like I can’t remember his name he was just the lead in Punch Drunk.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve come across in your career so far?

JM – A challenge for me? Would that be choreographic or anything? Probably for me it would have been when I was in school and I was 18 and I had a prolapsed disk. I had an injury and that was from a young age it was quite hard to deal with at that age knowing you hadn’t even started on your professional career yet having to go through a rehab so much pressure.

JA – I presume that would give you more strive?

JM – Yes I think every time you get an injury of some sort or a setback it gives you the opportunity to assess how you dance and sort of analyse things more and hopefully you’ll come back stronger… you know each time so yeh.

SD – Yes no definitely, I think that’s one thing I never really realise because I didn’t really get injured at all until my final year of vocational training so I sailed through being like I’m injury free. And then everybody will get injured at some point and it’s just learning how to deal with it and not let it drag you down, you have just got to use it as James said as a positive thing. How you can build to be better from it.

Illuminations 7 Dancers Liam Riddick, Nancy Nerantzi, Oihana Vesga Bujan, Nicholas Bodych, Marianna Krempeniou and Jennifer Hayes. Image by Nikolay Krusser

What is your pre-performance ritual?

SD – I feel… I do a very similar warm up every time but then I always have my  iPod but it depends so… normally I would just play sort of whatever music I’ve got on it at the minute. But sometimes… I think it was the second show at Sadler’s Wells, we had all these rehearsals leading up to it, I was really tired. So I put some really cheesy chart music on. Which I don’t even really particularly like because that’s going so you’re like ok that’s getting you going, music really yeh…

That leads nicely in to the next question… do you have a go to song for dance inspiration?

JM – Like a go to, a piece of music that gets you inspired? I used to quite like, I used to listen to a lot of Radiohead when I was younger some of their a bit more you know experimental stuff. Sometimes it used to inspire me to create work, choreography I did a piece actually to a Tommy Alt track A few years ago but yes not necessarily classic music for me it’s more…

SD – Yeh, just more for getting myself in the zone. I tend to listen more to bands rather than something like

JM – You’re in to music

SD – Yeh but calming not too… obviously you want to get pumped up but nothing too outrageous because to be honest when you listen to things that are really, I don’t know, are angry or something like that, it rubs off on you a bit so… it’s nice just to chill out  I tend to lie on the floor before I start and listen to something so yeh…

Rejoice in the Lamb 13 Marianna Krempeniou, Liam Riddick, Oihana Vesga Bujan, Nancy Nerantzi and Elly Braund. Image by Chris Nash

What’s your favourite non dance activity?

JM – Me it’s probably I read a lot and I used to do quite a lot of photography, not so much now, yeh that’s probably my…

SD – For me I just go to a lot of gigs I‘d see a lot of live music because for me I think they go hand in hand… especially Richard he uses so much live music and so I’m just really, really in to it…

If you hadn’t chosen this career, what career do you think you’d be in?

SD – I know, I would I wanted to do A&R for a music record label so that’s like scouting new talent stuff like that. When I sort of moved away to do my 3 year dance training, I also applied to do English at university I feel like I already, definitely had in mind something else I wanted to do If I didn’t get in to the dance school I wanted to go to.

JM – I think my dream job would probably be to own my own book store, possibly a second hand book shop or something like that…

If you could have any words of wisdom for the younger generation (younger dancers) what would they be?

JM – I think probably… you get told a lot of things when you’re in training, when you’re a student and some teachers will be telling you different things to others and some of them contradict each other but I think, I think the most important thing is to take from each person what you think works for you and not necessarily take everything that’s said. I think there’s something to be acquired or learnt from pretty much all teachers, they have something to offer. I think it’s about tailoring it to your specific education, every dancer’s different; has a different body; has a different… probably has a different technique really to suit them. So I think it’s about tailoring it for yourself. Just to keep the enthusiasm. To keep the enthusiasm I suppose, in some way to find that enthusiasm when you sometimes if you lose it a little bit to find something that inspires you to keep going.

SD – I think as well… I got asked this question recently as well, a similar question and I remember when I was in my training someone came in I think It might have been from Sydney Dance Company or a professional company and one of the things they said was it’s just steps… and obviously dance is way more than steps it is!… but when your sort of… it’s really easy to get het up and caught up in doing something wrong or not to be exactly right. But sometimes you’ve got to step back and be like right it is just steps, you can do it, it’s not… you know what I mean!  It’s your body moving and like what James said it’s finding a way of you doing that for yourself. You don’t have to conform to everything to make sure… it’s the same…

JM – I think … yeh another thing that I’d probably say… more important than anything is enjoy… when you actually get in to your career because it is quiet short, and I spent quite a lot of years, my earlier years as a dancer worrying too much and criticising myself too much with performances. I think it’s better to try and enjoy it. No performance is going to be perfection. Dancers strive for perfection but they’re never actually going to get to that point where everything is, so I think it’s just about enjoying the moment and not worrying too much.

SD – Yeh definitely I agree. It’s a fun profession otherwise people wouldn’t do it! So yeh…

JM – Don’t take it too seriously…

Rejoice in the Lamb 12 Ihsaan de Banya, Marianna Krempeniou, Nathan Goodman, Jennifer Hayes, James Muller, Oihana Vesga Bujan. Image by Chris Nash

What’s been your favourite part of this journey, for Rejoice in the Lamb?

SD – For me I only joined the company as an apprentice in August and Rejoice in the Lamb was one of the first pieces I learnt and for me it’s very, it’s very classic Alston, so it takes me back to when before I joined, before I even auditioned it was what you almost expect to see when you see some of Richards work, so for me it was really nice to jump in to that and feel like you’re doing something… because Richards kind of… I can’t think of the word… He’s been around for a long time, he’s really well respected and he’s in the dance world, so to do something that is signature him. It feels like you’re doing something…

JM – Yeh it’s a signature piece so  I think it’s something he’s very inspired by this piece, it’s an odd piece kind of a quirky piece, it’s not a long piece of music but I think it’s a piece he’s always wanted to do so it tells a little bit of a story. For me it probably was… we’ve had a couple of opportunities to perform it to live music and that was very special. Adds another layer

SD – It really brings something else…

JM – Yeh it’s a nice piece

Simon Donnellon & James Muller

Simon Donnellon & James Muller

Describe Dance in 3 Words… Any 3 words…

JM – Joy – Through – Movement

SD – Challenging – Extrovert – Calming

Delve inTWO what makes a dance work Physical Theatre!

If physical theatre is hard to define how do you decide when dance crosses into this genre?

Let’s take two of The Lowry upcoming shows for instance, ‘Park’ by Jasmin Vardimon Company it is clearly labelled as physical theatre, however Matthew Bourne’s ‘The Car Man’ is not officially titled as a physical theatre piece yet it looks at sensitive themes, contains elements of acrobatic movements and is intensely theatrical. These themes and qualities can all be linked to physical theatre companies.

Which begs the questions, so what places a dance piece in the physical theatre genre?


Photo Credit: Ben Harries – ‘Park’ Jasmin Vardimon Company

You could say that the majority of physical theatre pieces look at relevant themes in relation to the time, place and issues. Take ‘Park’ it’s based on 21st Century feminism, capitalist greed and social-political themes immerged in an urban oasis with episodes of fight, play, fall, love and survival. It features heavily on the connections between various people that live in a city from a homeless busker to a rapping bad-boy and an evil property developer. This makes it relatable to the audience giving them a deep insight into the issues Jasmin Vardimon wants to explore and express.


‘Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man’ New Adventures

On the other hand, Matthew Bourne’s ‘The Car Man’ tells a story of greed, lust, betrayal and revenge, in relation to gender themes. However due to ‘The Car Man’ having a story telling style to it, you could say the piece is more of an escapist work than most physical theatre pieces.

‘Park’ has more of an acrobatic style to it and also contains pedestrian movements along with high-energy dynamics to really emphasis the theme and portray the strong and sensitive issues. However, when looking at ‘The Car Man’ you can see it has elements of balletic movements and perhaps the elaborate stage production plays a part in making it more of an escapist piece.

What dance pieces do you think contain elements of physical theatre?


‘Park’ Jasmin Vardimon Company

Jasmin Vardinmon’s ‘Park’ is coming to The Lowry on Tuesday 3rd March and if you can’t wait until ‘Park’ why not catch DV8 Physical Theatre’s ‘JOHN’ on Thursday 26th February and Friday 27th February.



Don’t forget to use the promocode YDA, to access your £5 tickets offer (limited to YDA’s ONLY and a max of 2 tickets per person) use the promotional code YDA and go to ‘Park’ Jasmin Vardimon. Alternatively book your tickets over the phone by contacting the box office 0843 208 6000.