Before the performance of Mourad Merzouki’s brand new, gravity-defying show, ‘Vertikal’, I spoke to two of the performers from Merzouki’s company, Käfig. Vincent ‘Keys’ Lafif is a break dancer, and Pauline Journe originally trained as a jazz dancer, before turning to contemporary age 20. Having also done a lot of gymnastics, she tries to mix different styles of dance and acrobatics, and to take inspiration where she can, to create her own style. I realised during the performance, that this is what many of the ‘Vertikal’ dancers have done – they each have their own distinct, individual style, but come together surprisingly beautifully. Continue reading
In his new production ‘Vertikal’, top French choreographer Mourad Merzouki yet again defies all expectations – he pushes past another set of boundaries and explores a whole new dimension: a world (almost) without gravity. The show is a collaboration with vertical dance company Retouramont, who provided the dancers with rope mechanisms, allowing them to achieve apparent weightlessness. Continue reading
American Patricia Zhou and Axel Ibot, who is French, both have very classical backgrounds. The former has danced with the Royal Ballet and the Staatsballett-Berlin, and the latter was “Sujet” in the Paris Opera Ballet before he left to join Benjamin Millepied – French choreographer, ex-director of the Paris Opera Ballet, and founder of the L.A. Dance Project – in Los Angeles.
I wondered what edged them both towards this new beginning in a smaller-sized contemporary company. Continue reading
Last week, Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project performed three pieces from their repertoire, including Millepied’s brand new creation ‘Bach studies part 1’.
The evening began with Justin Peck’s ‘Murder Ballads’. The curtain opened to six pairs of shoes set out neatly across the stage, ready for the dancers, dressed in typical street wear, to run onstage and put them on. This began a series of cleverly used exits and re-entries through the wings, setting a fast pace, with lots happening simultaneously. Continue reading
In her ‘Romeo and Juliet’, first created in 2013 and starring the Bad Boys of Dance, Adrienne Canterna breaks the rules of traditional ballet. This fresh and exciting version of Shakespeare’s tragedy reaches out to a wide audience, combining classical ballet with modern dance and even hip-hop. Continue reading
It was a pleasure to interview young and ambitious Ailey II dancers Yazzmeen Laidler and Adrien Picaut, who talked to me about their personal experience and being a part of the prestigious Ailey II company.
Yazzmeen graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. After auditioning for the first company, she was invited by artistic director Troy Powell to audition for Ailey II, the second company; she is now in her second and final year there. Continue reading
Alvin Ailey is, I think we can fairly say, one of the most renowned dance institutions in the world. The choreographer, dancer and cultural leader Alvin Ailey founded the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958. Sixteen years later, the second company, Ailey II, was created and is now made up of twelve young and ambitious dancers, bursting with energy, talent and promise.
Before the performance, I watched their class led by artistic director Troy Powell – it was quite an experience. Continue reading
After contemporary ice skating company Le Patin Libre’s incredible performance of ‘Vertical Influences’, founder Alexandre Hamel kindly talked to me about the group’s story, their work and ambitions, and the challenges they face…
Like most people in Canada, Alexandre began ice-skating at a very young age – unusually for a boy, it was figure skating, not ice hockey, he got into. After 17 years of competitions and rigorous training, Alexandre decided to rebel… Continue reading
Forget the glitzy clichés – Le Patin Libre has shattered traditional figure skating’s boundaries, and founded a new genre: welcome to the world of contemporary ice skating.
The Montreal-based company is made up of five ex-figure skaters who have rebelled against the rigid rules of their former discipline and its rampant commercialism (as Alexandre Hamel, founder of Le Patin Libre, explains in my interview with him). This group of mavericks have created their own innovative, liberated skating style that is now delighting audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Continue reading
After successfully portraying the world of artificial intelligence in her 2013 creation ‘Robot’, Blanca Li continues logically on to exploring nature, and its relation with humans, in her new and exciting piece ‘Solstice’.
The curtain opens, and it’s back to the very beginnings of humanity – the rhythm and the movement is primitive, tribal, the basic, nude costumes (designed by Laurent Mercier) accentuate the rawness. Continue reading