The pioneers of contemporary ice skating – an interview with Le Patin Libre’s Alexandre Hamel

Le Patin Libre at Alexandra Palace, part of Dance Umbrella 2014.
Pictured front left: Alexandre Hamel in ‘Vertical Influences’, photograph by Alicia Clarke for Dance Umbrella – taken at the London world premiere in October 2014

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

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Le Patin Libre’s ‘Vertical Influences’ ~ review

Le Patin Libre at Alexandra Palace, part of Dance Umbrella 2014.
Photograph: Alicia Clarke for Dance Umbrella – taken at the London world premiere in October 2014

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

‘Solstice’ by Blanca Li ~ review

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‘Solstice’ – copyright Nico Bustos

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

Interview with Mourad Merzouki ~ English version

Mourad-Merzouki-1-BD©Michel-Cavalca
Mourad Merzouki – copyright Michel Cavalca

Mourad Merzouki is a French hip-hop dancer and choreographer. He is the founder of the Käfig dance company, and the current director of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne, near Paris. During this phone interview I learned about Mourad’s roots, what inspires him, the way he works… But above all, I learned about the beautiful message he strives to convey through his choreography. Continue reading

Interview avec Mourad Merzouki ~ version française

Mourad Merzouki est un danseur et chorégraphe de hip-hop français. Il est fondateur de sa compagnie Käfig, et actuellement à la direction du Centre Chorégraphique National de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne. Dans cet interview téléphonique j’ai pu découvrir ses racines, ses sources d’inspiration, son travail au quotidien… Mais surtout, j’ai pu découvrir le message incroyable qu’il souhaite faire passer à travers ses spectacles et chorégraphies.

Mourad est entré de le hip-hop totalement par hasard. Il a commencé le karaté et la boxe à l’âge de sept ans dans une école d’arts martiaux parce que son père voulait. Continue reading

Interview with Adrienne Canterna

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Adrienne Canterna in ‘Rock the Ballet’

Meeting international dancer and choreographer Adrienne Canterna was something of a dream come true for me – I have adored her work since I first saw ‘Rock the Ballet’ in 2012.

Adrienne started ballet at three years old, and quickly started taking tap, jazz and modern classes – she then got into acrobatics: “Everything just kept coming, one thing after another!” Continue reading

‘Rock the Ballet’ by Adrienne Canterna starring Bad Boys of Dance ~ review

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‘Rock the Ballet’

Last week, I went to see ‘Rock the Ballet’, choreographed by Adrienne Canterna and featuring the Bad Boys of Dance.

As soon as ‘Rock the Ballet’ starts, the theatre is filled with contagious fun and energy. The first scene showcases the six Bad Boys of Dance, before dancing beauty Adrienne comes onto the stage, seducing them all. Continue reading