What’s on in Dance in 2018?

What’s going on in the Dance world in 2018?

In and amongst the mechanical regimen of daily existence, the UK dance scene is vibrating with life. It is a majestic spectacle of visual artistry, glittering with the sublime expertise of accomplished visionaries, creators and performers. Embellished with the zest of undeniable strength, eloquence and beauty, it promises to deliver a compelling parade of artistic finesse time and time again. The year of 2018 is no exception to this; whether you’re enticed by the timeless, the revolutionary, the dangerous, the vulnerable, the whimsical, the minimal or the comical, you’ll be sure to discover a slice of dance mastery to satisfy your tastes wherever you look.

In London, there are numerous venues and programmes staging exhilarating dance works throughout the year. In the West End, Sadler’s Wells’ venue The Peacock plays host to Charge (2017), the electrifying third instalment in Motionhouse and Kevin Finnan’s Earth triptych. It is an explosive collision of dance, acrobatics and multi-media that seeks to examine ‘the human body as an electrical system’ (Finnan, 2016), not only as one entity, but amongst others and in relation to the earth surrounding us. Elaborately laced with extensive scientific research and remarkable use of technology, this is an instalment not to be missed. Showings are from 21st - 24th March 2018.

The season at Sadler’s Wells continues with a tenth anniversary showing of one of their longest running works, the award-winning Sutra (2008). Created by associate choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and sculptor Antony Gormley, and in collaboration with nineteen Buddhist Monks from China’s Shaolin Temple, the piece explores the synthesis of cultural and intercultural tradition, faith, and exchange. It’s a piece bursting with phenomenal physical prowess and unrivalled athleticism, and is a definite must-see if you can make it! Showings are from 26th - 28th March 2018.

Cultural interjections are ripe in other works showing in the Spring/Summer season. Associate company English National Ballet’s bill of four works Voices of America (2017) flirts with dynamic and potent neo-classical American ballet styles, and features both new and reconstructed selections from renowned choreographers Aszure Barton, William Forsythe and Jerome Robbins. The bill will be on stage from 12th - 21st April 2018.

In the following month, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre’s Formosa (2017) takes to the stage. The piece draws direct inspiration from 16th century Portuguese sailors off the coast of Southern China, that upon glimpsing the shores of what would soon be known as Taiwan, cried “Formosa!” (“beautiful!”). The work is embroidered with gesture, script, song and projection, as the ensemble dance nimbly through ‘a playground of love and life, mediated by tragedy, hope and rebirth’ (Cloud Gate, 2017). Dates of the performance run from the 9th - 12th May 2018.

Elsewhere in the capital, The Place will be staging works Terra (2018) and A Night’s Game (2016) in a double bill presented by emerging choreographers James Finnemore and Alleyne Dance. Finnemore examines fear and suspicion through sinuous and evocative choreography executed by four strikingly lithe and agile dancers; sisters Kristina and Sadé Alleyne weave their eclectic physical knowledge through spirited elegance and divine simplicity, in a duet exploring the intricate concepts of incarceration. Both works will be shown on the 24th April 2018, however they are touring separately throughout the year, so keep your eyes peeled for further dates if you’re interested!

The Place also play host to many undergraduate and postgraduate performances, which are an ideal watch if you’re either a current student or considering applying for either university or a conservatoire. London School of Contemporary Dance will be performing a mixed bill of work by Sasha Roubicek from 27th - 28th March, and from June 26th - 28th, Edge Dance Company are showcasing four brand new pieces by award winning choreographers Philippe Blanchard, Tamsin Fitzgerald, Athena Vahla and Ben Wright.

Professional works are not limited to age however; over Easter, Swedish company Räserbyrån will be showcasing their interactive work Rustle (2012) at The Place. The company design performances specifically for little ones up to two years old, where they are encouraged to explore the enchantment of a world where inquisitive play and improvisation become choreography. It’s a little pocket of collaborative dance that invites loved ones and families to indulge in a delightful piece of theatre. The work will be running from 13th - 14th April 2018.

Further in the North West of the UK, The Lowry also have a fascinating season of dance ahead. In April, balletLORENT present the third instalment of their fairytale trilogy Rumpelstiltskin (2018), a wildly animated and comical spin on the classic tale performed exquisitely by an inter-generational cast.  The work is directed by Liv Lorent (MBE), retold by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and features accompaniment, costume and narration by illustrious figures Murray Gold, Michele Clapton and Ben Crompton. Showings are from 20th -21st April 2018.

Later in the season, the romantic novel Jane Eyre (2016) is brought to the stage by Northern Ballet. Director Cathy Marston articulates the infamous tale through elegant choreography to create a sophisticated, esteemed and aesthetically poetic composition of dance that is certainly not to be missed out on. The piece will be staged between 6th - 9th June 2018.

The following week, Singaporean company Apsaras Arts presents Agathi - Plight of the Refugees (2017), a production fusing Bharatanatyam, music and poetry in a notably poignant slice of contemporary dance-theatre that illustrates the detrimental prejudice associated with refugees across the globe, and the profound hostilities they are left facing. The company will be at The Lowry for just one night on April 12th 2018, so if you’re intrigued, this is the time to watch it!

Across the country in the North East, Dance City also have an exciting line up for the upcoming year. In April, they will host Tavaziva Dance’s Izindava (2018), an intimate portrayal of choreographer Barwen Tavaziva’s childhood experiences in his native Zimbabwe. It is an extraordinary amalgamation of African, contemporary and ballet dance that dwells not on fear, but on courage, fortitude and morality. Intoxicatingly provocative and erupting with sensational vigour, Tavaziva’s efforts are quite simply, a triumph. Showing 12th April 2018.

Emerging company Humanhood are then set to perform a re-working of their first full length professional work Zero (2016). Choreographers Rudi Cole and Júlia Robert Parés explore the concepts of physics, human consciousness and Eastern mysticism to bring to the stage an immersive, sensorial exploration that breathes organic fluidity and virtuosic mastery. They’re certainly a company to watch out for! If you can’t catch them on April 28th, fear not; they’re due to perform at other intervals throughout the year, and are currently working on a group venture Torus, due to premiere in 2019.

And there we have it; just a snippet of the incredible dance works that are touring the UK this year. If you can’t make any of them, don’t be disheartened as there will still be opportunities to see other fantastic performances at local venues and larger theatres right through until the end of year. Take every chance to lose yourself in a magical constellation of dance and theatre this year - you will not regret it.  

By Jane Savage

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