Friday, 12 December 2014

Blog Roll of Fame 2014: The Choreographers

Continuing my commentary on the past year of theatre (now with added dance), I move into more contentious territory. Now and again, the question emerges: what is dance?

And everybody disagrees with the definition. I can imagine my definition of choreography is going to annoy somebody.

I am wondering whether choreography ought to refer only to artists who work with a movement ensemble. I ponder this merely to remind everyone that I studied Greek once upon a time, and am making a smart-ass connection between the choregoi and modern dance.


Credit: Brian Hartley
Let's dive in easy: Natasha Gilmore is hot, and her entry in The Commonwealth Games' jamboree was a splendid example of her specific skills. She works in the sweet spot between community engagement and contemporary dance - which are usually about as sympathetic to each other as Nigel Farage and... anyone on the left, politically. 

She's been working on this fusion for a while - both through her association with the Maryhill Integration Network and Barrowland Ballet (the latter name being a nice mash-up of the legendary venue where people went for 'the dancing' and the high art associations of the dance they do on tip-toes). She got some funding action for the Fringe, too, with the smart and sassy Tiger shows.

Louise Ahl
Since she turned up in Glasgow, Louise has been dynamic,
pursuing an integration of sharp humour, mystical tensions, postmodern allusion and an exploration of art's relationship to education, self and criticism. She is a regular down the Arches, comes up with the unexpected until it is expected to be unexpected...

Whether she defines herself as a choreographer is probably complicated: her ideas come from multiple disciplines and her eclecticism reflects the healthy edge of performance art. Sitting on the edge of many genres, she leaps between them with finesse and a sense of fun. Check out her concept for the NICE institute.

Christopher Hampson
Although I am not that excited about the revival of Nutcracker - I find Peter Darrell's choreography has not aged well, and harks back to a period of rather effete British ballet - I am very excited about a new version of Swan Lake in 2015. He also got Christopher Bruce's Ten Poems into the company's repertoire, and has seriously sorted out the precision of the corps de ballet. 

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