Yorke Dance Project’s innovative programme at The Mill Arts Centre was an exceptional and exciting opportunity to see both new work and a rarely performed twentieth century ballet.

Sea of Troubles, inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which Kenneth MacMillan created for Dance Advance in 1988, has been reconstructed by its notator Jane Elliott and rehearsed by Susie Crow, who was one of the original cast. Breaking free from the constraint of strict narrative structure, MacMillan’s barefoot ballet explores the psychological trauma that lies beneath the surface of the play as Hamlet, an embodiment of the ‘outsider’, is tormented by the need for revenge. Dancers must turn on an emotional sixpence as they share roles, representing first one character and then another, to music that, unusually for ballets of the nineteen-eighties, ‘spliced’ together pieces by different composers (Anton Von Webern and Bohuslav Martinu). (more…)

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Yorke Dance Project’s Figure Ground is a glorious evening of pure dance. To see three really good new dance works and a revival of another in one programme was a rare treat.

The evening at Swindon Dance opened with a short original piece by students, that drew on ideas and movement motifs that would be seen later on. The programme proper then began with Charlotte Edmonds’ No Strings Attached to a score by Michael Gordon. It opens to the sound of rainfall with three men (Jonathan Goddard, Benjamin Warbis and Edd Mitton) powerfully dominating the space in full pliés in second with their arms extended, seeming to fill the stage. They are joined by Laurel Dalley Smith, Amy Thake and Hannah Windows, but the dancers work more as a group than as three pairs. Edmonds’ response to the music is subtle, using the underlying pulses and not just the more obvious surface rhythms for her movement patterns. Nothing is predictable, there are hints of narrative or relationships – here, the notion of the group and those outside the group; there, the suggestion of a couple – and she creates balance on stage without resorting to the purely symmetrical in this very satisfying work. (more…)