Yorke Dance Project’s Connecting to Cohan evening at The Mill Banbury fell into three parts: five solo dances drawn from Robert Cohan’s last work Afternoon Conversations with Dancers; an on-stage discussion between Richard Alston, Yolande Yorke-Edgell and Laurel Dalley Smith, and finally Lockdown Portraits, a film showing seven of the solos, filmed on locations chosen by Cohan.

Cohan’s last dances are intensely moving.  He consulted Alston about his recent work shortly before embarking on the project, and Alston responded that the group dances Cohan was creating were similar to his earlier works, but the solos were completely original and new.  Cohan went on to create Afternoon Conversations with Dancers, a collection of eight solos on which he worked collaboratively in dialogue with each dancer, exchanging ideas in words and movement, initially in the studio and then during lockdown over Zoom.

(more…)

The Grace Project is an interdisciplinary investigation into the concept of ‘grace’ in all its forms, which evolved from the research of Professor Sue Jones on literature and dance.  Grace has been central to the development of dance aesthetics, but it has also been challenged by practitioners of modern and contemporary dance.  These two seminars, which were attended by socially-distanced groups of academics, practitioners and interested local people, interrogated the question of what constitutes grace by examining five contrasting dances performed by, and discussed with, members of the Yorke Dance Project led by Yolande Yorke-Edgell.

The dancers presented works by Robert Cohan, Kenneth MacMillan and Yorke-Edgell, the latter consciously channelling the influences of Richard Alston and Bella Lewitzky (who was herself influenced by the choreographer Lester Horton).

(more…)