Hefyd, os oes gennych blant bach, mae’r sioe ‘Yr Hwyaden Fach Hyll’ hefyd yn rhedeg yn y Sherman tan Rhagfyr 31ain.
An eclectic evening of wonder, passion and skill.
What an incredible first experience of the infamous Les Misérables. So much thought and care had been given to each and every part of the evenings’ performance. It was this specific attention to detail that really drew the audience into the world of pre-revolutionary France.
Firstly, the set, Wow! The set used a mixture of visual effects alongside moving structures to create an immersive experience for the audience. The onstage set, predominantly wooden, was etched with details. From small engraved phrases to the layering of different components. The visual effects truly brought the set to life by adding intricacies to things that would otherwise be forgotten. Such as the water rippling and the stars twinkling. But only ever so slightly, just enough for you to question whether it’s really there at all or just your mind playing tricks on you.
The lighting played such a crucial role within the piece. Alongside the projected visual effects, it would bring a sense of realism to what was occurring on stage. An image of the meeting of the revolutionaries comes to mind. The light seeping through the barred windows, reflecting off the faces of the Males whilst they walked through the shadows making small talk with one and another. It was also with moments like the gunshots, where a bright light would suddenly glare, making the plot more accessible to the audience.
Even in the way the actors spoke it was evident the clarity and precision in which they gave out their words. Those deemed more common were usually paired with a Northern accent and those of a higher class with a more queens English. The use of different accents and dialects allowed clarification for the audience but also context as to the stereotypes and opportunities in that era.
The use of detail was also not only evident in the voices of the performers but most predominantly in the ensemble. Each performer held their own character, with their own physicality and own storyline. One could easily get lost watching the ensemble, with so many options to engage with. It was often the more hidden moments happening in the background which would cause me to smile or question things more deeply.
It wasn’t usually the way in which the text was presented as to how your emotions were driven. The text tended to set the pace, which kept a high engagement for the audience throughout the piece. Instead, the orchestra were key to how you responded to what was occurring on stage. At the moments I received goose bumps, I realised it wasn’t from the solos. Instead, from the accompaniment and the resonant quality that it echoed around the theatre creating an atmosphere unlike no other.
Each member of the cast was incredibly talented and without one, the piece wouldn’t be the same. It is truly the fine details which make this piece so magnificent and I predict it’s one of those where regardless of the amount of times you watch the performance, you would be drawn to different characters and their own tales each time. There are limited tickets available for the remainder of the performances but if you do get the chance to go, you are certainly in for a treat.
A storm of the mind as well as in temperament.
The piece opens with the dancers rooted to the floor, in what seems like the foundations of a tree. As tensions build, the tree begins to sway by the wind which causes a ripple through each performer. The storm builds taking hold of the dancers swirling them through the space like leaves drifting through the wind. Thus creating, an autumnal flurry of movement and immersive sound. It’s imagery like this, that forms the development of the storm throughout the piece. The dancers utilise this as well as breath to create the effect of the ever-growing storm around us. It’s their skill and power as performers that really drives the audience with them through the storm that’s created.
The movement used was often self-indulgent allowing us to see the performers not as performers but as people, with their own desires and limitations. Even when taken by the wind and shifted through the space, the performers remained as themselves, not characters. Their own emotions drove them to move and create, with the ensemble often echoing the soloists state of mind in the backdrop of the stage. At times, swirling and spiralling across the space whilst the soloists remained still, reflecting their inner turmoil although their own appearance remained static and unphased. The first half of the piece focuses on simpler values to portray the story of the storm, imagery via use of line and shape within the movement and allowing the knock-on effect from dancer to dancer which creates this ever-building tension.
However, the second half, relies heavily on theatrics and storytelling to get this point across. The timing of movements and the beginning of phrases becomes predictable, which with such fascinating, detailed music (composed by Amarok / Michal Wojtas which I shall be purchasing once released) becomes frustrating. There seems a loss of detail in the realness of these people, which was previously so enchanting. Facial expressions become forced and lose their authenticity, with an absence of realism in their hands and reaches.
Although, with this being said, the theatrical elements really did provide food for thought. Especially the initial solo by Norikazu Aoki. It approached the theme of mental health with self – destructiveness and the desire from those around him to help fight this addiction. These things are extremely important to be visualised in work on stage and such a difficult topic to explore well. By leaving the solo so simple, it allowed the audience to resolve their own interpretation of what was happening. It sparked a real understanding of these issues from the point of those witnessing someone deteriorate and how we can and should assist in those moments of self-harm. This sharing of help was continued throughout the piece with simple, gestural motifs such as that as the unfolding of hands.
The role of the observer stands as its own motif throughout the piece. This played by the choreographer James Wilton. He is present in almost all the scenes providing stillness to the continuing motion on stage. This leads me to question, is this piece the story of one man? Are the performers on stage sharing his own personal experiences to the audience? And was this his journey to self help and how he overcame his own demons?
I feel this track captures the ebbs and flows of Roots, NDCWales specifically Écrit by Nikita Goile. The performance started with a lone female dancer moving fluidly, almost like a crisp packet in a melancholic wind. A muscular male was positioned behind a white screen, mirroring her movements. To me this suggested he may be out of reach in some way; another women perhaps, even though the synchronisation implied an obvious connection. I feel the performance brilliantly portrayed the struggle that every human being must go through: a quest for true love. The company made brilliant use of the space, and the eerie lighting provided an excellent back drop to the performance. The dancers used sweeping movements and emotive body language to visually represent their potential romance, although love must always be reciprocated and sometimes we have to cut off a part of us and let go in order to reach the highest peak.
“Yn Ei Blodau” yw cynhyrchiad cyntaf Criw Brwd a drama gyntaf Elin Phillips. Cwmni newydd mentrus Elin a Gwawr Loader yw’r cwmni ifanc yma ac maent yn awyddus i leisio barn merched sy’n goroesi bywydau anodd yng nghymoedd y De. Mae’r ddrama’n olrhain hanes Fflur, athrawes ifanc sy’n rhy barod i blesio ei mam a’i chariad Scott. Mae’n ceisio byw y bywyd traddodiadol benywaidd – swydd barchus, perthynas, priodas a phlant – ond yn dawel fach, mae’n dyheu i wrthryfela a thorri’n rhydd. Mae ei mam yn dyheu i weld ei merch yn setlo a chael plant, ond yn dawel fach, mae Fflur yn dymuno byw bywyd heb gyfyngiadau, cyfrifoldebau na disgwyliadau.
Mae’r ddrama ar adegau yn llawn hiwmor deifiol a sefyllfaoedd doniol, ond ar y cyfan, mae caethiwed a rhwystredigaeth Fflur yn ein sobri. Mae’r wên deg sydd ar ei hwyneb yn fwgwd i’r tristwch oddi tano. Daw hyn yn amlwg wrth iddi geisio ufuddhau i reolau ei phartner Scott yn ogystal â’r euogrwydd mae’n wynebu wrth iddi wrthryfela.
Portreadodd yr actores Kate Elis y cymhlethdodau hyn yn effeithiol drwy arwain y gynulleidfa drwy amrywiol sefyllfaoedd ac argyfngau ym mywyd Fflur. Roedd ei gwaith corfforol (dan ofal medrus Eddie Ladd) yn dda, ond hwyrach byddai deunydd ehangach o’r llwyfan a’r gwagle wedi ategu at y perfformiad. Defnyddiodd yr actores rhywfaint o’r offer llwyfan mewn modd symbolaidd, er enghraifft, y bêl, ond nid oeddwn yn teimlo bod angen cymaint o’r offer hyn ar hyd y llwyfan. Serch hynny, hoffais y deunydd o olau a sain a oedd yn ychwanegu tipyn at awyrgylch y ddrama.
Er bod cymeriad Fflur yn teimlo ar goll ac yn fregus, yr hyn sy’n rhoi gobaith iddi yw y plentyn mae ar fin geni. Dyma fydd ei ffocws, ei dyfodol newydd gwell mewn byd sydd weithiau’n greulon a ffug.
Llwyddodd y dramodydd i ddefnyddio hanes Blodeuwedd – un o ferched mwyaf arwyddocaol ein chwedloniaeth – fel is-destun i’r ddrama, ac roedd hyn yn gorwedd yn gyfforddus o fewn sgript sy’n trafod yr un themâu, sef nwyd, caethiwed, disgwyliadau ac wrth gwrs rôl merch mewn byd sydd wedi’i reoli gan ddynion. Roedd hon yn noson lwyddiannus arall yn y gyfres “Get it while it’s Hot” ac edrychwn ymlaen at weld cynhyrchiad nesa’r cwmni, ‘Pan Ddaw’r Haf’ ym misoedd cyntaf 2020.
(When we enter a workshop or performance we already carry so much with us, which shapes and resonates perpetually in how we feel, sense, think witness… and determines what we take away.)
Possibly I enter each workshop dressed in degrees of resistance and estimated angles of surrender,
I guess… definitely un-definitive desires.
Desires secretly aflame stashed as best I can for another occasion.
The geometry of these desires has been formed by my habitats of dancing, which have since childhood most predominately been solitary experiences, practices and investigations. Flickering into dancing nights out and occasional classes or workshops.
(Working under or up to a choreographer or even a teacher never quite seems to fit.) The implicit–explicit hierarchies and structures involved in the process of ‘becoming a dancer’ contrast significantly with those of other art forms.
My tendency seems to ‘dip in’ intermittently to social sites of contemporary dance- seeking conversations, connections with other dancing bodies- sources of reorientation rather than reproduction.
There is a lot I keep stashed under wraps in workshop situation.
That I edit out of my dancing in order to be there.
Perhaps everyone there does.
How thread bear can the fleshy garments we wear between life and dance?
I continue to find it distracting being in a room full of dancers ‘doing moves’ -moves which have been shaped by the aesthetics and conduct of contemporary dance class. There is a strong determinative current in the room- in some ways experienced as an opportunist ‘expansive’ and fertile energy- yet also subliminally restrictive, prescriptive and within determining stylistic spectrums.
Ever-present (even in absence) is the omniscient all-knowing mirror in the room- in the held faces.
Sprayed on songs counted in 8.
An inheritance of aesthetics and ideologies.
As such dance classes and workshops are also a site of renouncement.
Resonance and Dissonance have been as much a part of my dance quests and navigations as my desires.
Expectations, prejudices, disappointments, preconceptions. These ebb and flow, merge and submerge, comforts and discomforts, hopes barriers, openings, shields. Somehow I wear them all… as in the misspelling the 2nd hand blue sweater I am wearing as I write this….
Love and Conflict co-inhabit as Survival in the way i wear and experience my body- in dance and life.
My anti Ideologies include paradox and contradiction, which resonate harmonically with dissonance and self undoing.
Everyone has their rules and regulations…to apprehend…however morphic, unrecognisable, displaced from the establishment /status quo.
There is a welcome greeting from Rosalind which extends somehow as a climate, an atmosphere into the first actions of the day.
She is throw away with her words and tasks…as if shooting a tin can with exactitude and disarming laughter. Sending things flying in disarray… arriving with a perturbingly exacting landing. I believe in the moment I shall remember everything she says… yet never seem to.
We are invited to wear in-depth, the fleshy gestures we enact as we ‘Warm UP’.
Somehow there is a dressing and undressing from our needs- practical, physical, emotional. Which elements do we self-consciously edit out or adjust in this social situation?
A few years ago I stripped away Warming UP.
It had always been a synthetic add on. Easy to let go of…and almost made necessary by life’s constraints.
Anyway my real desire was always to begin by dancing without expectation. Perhaps what I identified as ‘warming up’…has been historically identified by what I am not ready, or not yet good enough for.
If any thing I ‘warm down’ – a practical apparatus to be able to carry my dance back into my life- patterns and constructs of my body in day to day survival. A kind of savoury dessert. An elixir of the ordinary.
It is a chorus somehow strangely echoes …down the line from Deborah Hay….
“Getting What You Need”
Not here or now this morning… yet somehow it echoes of its own accord.
When this incantation first resounded in my radar I had to undress it from associations of affirmation. It seems to fit easy when I recognise “what I need” as a cellular unidentifiable, morphic, surprising and self unravelling experience. What I need as a question, rather than an acquisition.
An invitation, direction or gesture of departure as well as arrival.
Somehow Rosalind offered Warming UP as question…. an invitation to reconfigure ‘needs’…moving within easy to reach field of movement.
Perhaps if I rechristen Warming UP as acclimatising.
“Warming UP” could feel like an invitation to include very practical and ordinary elements of my everyday body- needs, fears and desires.
Warming UP deciphers beginnings and endings, invitations, expectations to tuning into tuning out of.
Rosalind describes a musical scale as a metaphor for Warming Up.
A series of portals to experience aspects of feeling and being which appear and disappear.
Warming Up those vital aspects of ourselves, dormant, or attired in getting through life, which can dishabille dancing?
I am aware of how I am tethered by by my own discreetly oppositional anti establishment ideologies…which have their own restrictions within civilised systems.
Rosalind speaks of “Shedding” through the day.
Somehow this Act of Shedding has been the only way anything has ever formed, accumulated, been generated, or encompassed in my the habitat of my dance.
There is a freedom and exactitude to “Shedding”.
She rechristens Warming UP as Noticing.
Like orphaning and rechristening a child of the establishment as an illegitimate out of wedlock love child…tuning the harmonics and melodics of the
…the exchanging interface between life body and dancing body.
*Orienting includes of Disorientating and Reorienting.*
Rosalind lightly describes years of being in the studio alone.
And her fidelity to
“Just One Thing”at a time
…as a Practice.
“Practice” is another word I have orphaned, adopted and rechristened as a Habitat.
After all I always try to untether activities from Justifications.
In a world where justice can only be a fleeting or temporal accommodation.
The End of the World?
…Should it be a question any longer?
…So many worlds are ending.
…Yet the world is not a Mono-theistic Being.
(Even if that is translated into modern silhouette of Atheism or sacrificial altar of Scientific Progress and Salvation. )
…Beyond my fingertips yes but not the nerve endings of my the reality of my imagination.
…Extinction still seems somehow out of reach…like the aspirational vote…on the top shelf of the corner shop.
…No-one ever shops there anymore.
…Warming Up as a mammalian being flickering through other forms of alien earthly life?
…Shedding humanity as a destination.
Perceptually many worlds not one?
“Whoever says salvation exists is a slave, because he keeps weighing each of his and deeds in every moment.’Will I be saved or damned he tremblingly asks…Salvation means deliverance from all saviours…the perfect saviour …who shall deliver mankind from Salvation”
John Gray STRAW DOGS
Possibly sometime ago I would have felt a sense of inadequacy in attempting to commit to Rosalind’s “ Just one Thing.” .
Now I seem to realise I have a tendency towards the inside out.
(My mother who is incredibly superstitious insists its unlucky to change your clothes if you put them on inside out…lately she seems to have extended this in recent years to back to front scenarios.) She is suddenly older.
….I start with a myriad of unnamed constellations and something strangely specific and singular seems to crystallise amongst the sensations.
Rosalind seems to start with some singular, visceral, displacing devotional action- distilling an undefinable, multiplicity of sensation. Somehow her work reconfigures the relationship between the dancers nervous and reflexive systems.
“For polytheists, religion is a matter of practice not belief: and there are many kinds of practice….
Polytheism is too delicate a way of thinking for modern minds.”
John Gray. STRAW DOGS.
In Rosalind’s practice duality and multiplicity to experientially unfold through devotion and surrender through attending a singular perceptual activity.
She speaks of the duality or oppositional friendship between her dancing self and choreographing self.
Her fidelity to being moved by singular responsive action invites a dynamic multiplicity created by possibilities of empathetic polarities…movements between oppositional perceptions, or ways of apprehending experience.
She speaks of resting into/ committing to the specific initiation of one definitive activity – tethering the mind/ brain- keeping it busy- so body can be free to… perhaps not act as its subject.
We begin with SURFACE(s)….interplays of exchange, interfaces- membranes of sensation…She specifies “SURFACE” not located, dislocated identified as skin, clothing, hair, aura, fat, nerves, space.
This definition is perceptually inclusive rather than exclusive.
We begin differentiating the sense of whole body and a body in parts.
We change channel to our VOLUME– Sensations of our how we are contained within our forms.
“What if the depth is on the surface?” An echo from Deborah Hay.
Our Skin an outer brain.
Our Brain an inner skin.
The skin of a thought.
The mind of sensation/ feeling.
I wonder…What if we our whole being is surface?… internally externally a site of exchange/ interface, a multiplicity. Each organ, nerve, vessel, muscle, orifice an intricate accumulation- a series, a family of surfaces. Every cell of our body…an intricate, responsive folding of surfaces, membranes, skins of connective differentiation.
I inhabit my Volume. I feel my Surfaces.
I inhabit my surface. I feel my Volumes.
I feel myself one…I become many.
I feel myself as many…I become one.
“Opposition is true Friendship”
Marriage of Heaven and Hell. William Blake
partial lecture about a partial history
an unfinished dance by a saturated body
an ongoing practice exposed
Rosalind’s meticulous distillation of perpetual actions….materialise in her performance. Framed at once by immediate incremental intervals… and over the history of her dance reaching into other dance worlds and practices.
Films are shown as a windows into different fields of her work- the fluid electrics of her nervous system seems interconnected as other instruments of attentiveness ….perceptual apparatus.
My daughter sits on my lap and laughs as Rosalind enacts a live commentary on her actions- a self reporting journalist. Each moment and action swallowed up by the channelling of next event. The struggle between words and forms shaping and shedding..dressing and undressing of destinies… shedding of destinations.
She speaks about the dancer being carried away by the dance- like a babe in arms. Perhaps she speaks of marriage- of fidelity rather than faithfulness. I feel the meaning… yet I fail to remember the vows….the vowels without consonants…constants. Perhaps she is speaking about different types of love, liberty and dependancy…all intrinsically, synchronistically intertwined.
There is an ending…She speaks of riding through forest, as a girl on horseback…and the revisitation to the devastation of the wilderness she once was carried by and loved. She shows film of herself dancing, moving in the bodies of felled trees- laid waste.
It is stark and hopeless in its endurance and truth.
Her humanity exposed and stranded between animal and machine.
She is a helplessly human visitation in a scene of natural devastation. Yet she is dancing. Dancing somehow feels like an authentic activism- where there is no graspable solution.
I am writing this over hearing a conversation between the waitress at the Old Boys Club and a customer:
It is about animal life and meat.
It is about the value of life in the face of death.
He says to her, “At the end of the day…When the animals are going to die anyway…Whats the point of them being happy and living a good life?”
It is also about ourselves.
My dear friend has given me… hand inked in lovely italics…a sign…
Hope is more convincing in French…because I don’t speak french.
Rosalind’s incantations and dances are untampered by representative justifications. Somehow her work channels with a truthful and disarming delicacy, with apparitions of specificity- a commitment to the beauty and mystery of the world- of existence.
Fidelity to incrementals of uncounted time.
She speaks of hands being at the end of your feet.
Being carried by the contact we have with the earth..
The natural world… Out of sight…Out of mind… Out of our hands
But still resounding through our feet
turning us on the world’s surface/skin- through our animal universals, rather than our human specialisations.
Perhaps we live in an age…where salvation must be reconfigured an act of disarmament…
A shedding of Humanity’s Survival-
A shedding of Humanity’s aesthetics governed by its fears an desires.
Perhaps this is a dance- as much as anything.
It’s mid November, the temperature is dropping, gifts and decorations are out in full force in the shops, Christmas lights are starting to be switched on, what a perfect time to go and see a show. The Nativity the musical, at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff is here. What a start to get into the festive spirit!
We had a fantastic opportunity to go along to experience the smash hit stage musical, from film screen to stage, adapted by Debbie Isitt.
It’s the lead up to Christmas, the children of St Bernadette’s are preparing to appear in their school nativity. Mr Maddens the class teacher, and his new assistant Mr Poppy, a very excitable and energetic teacher, are given the task of organising the school nativity. When out looking for a school Christmas tree, they bump into Mr Shakespeare, a teacher from Oakmoor prep. Mr Madden tells him that Hollywood is coming to their school to film it. The rest of the school hear Hollywood are coming, they are so excited. Mr Madden confides in Mr Poppy telling him it isn’t true, and they embark on a journey to find a way to make it happen!
The cast are incredible, and the talent shining through from the children is commendable. It’s almost impossible not to smile with the humour from Scott Paige ‘Mr Poppy’. I enjoyed the charisma of Charles Brunton on how he portrayed Mr Shakespeare. Polly Parker is played by Dani Dyer (appeared on 2018 Love Island and actor Danny Dyer’s daughter).
My 8 year old son, Cody, came along with me, he found it “enjoyable” and “so fun”. We both liked the projection of the star lights into the audience. It was magical.
On the way down in the lift, Cody asked if we were coming back later in the week to watch it again and said he will take the nativity programme into school with him to show his teachers and friends.
An added bonus to the programme, it had children’s activities inside, colouring, word search, crossword and spot the difference.
Our favourite songs were ‘Hollywood Are Coming”, “Herod The Rock Opera”, “Nazareth” and “Sparkle And Shine”.
Feel good, festive fun for all!
Nativity the Musical is in Cardiff, at the Wales Millennium Centre from Tuesday 19th – Saturday 23rd November.
To Book your tickets and for more information, here is the WMC Wales Millennium Centre website.
They will be in Plymouth next, followed by Southhampton and London.
Tour born of rhythm, attitude, en-pointe collaboration,
Community, shared unity, humanity, emancipation,
Passion for dance promenading relations’ rise and fall,
Sport inspiring art, inspiring sport, performed with balls,
Journeys of life, love, loss, grace and strength of spirit,
Why are people clapping? So we can all hear it!
All – together a common theme, a message for us all
Flowers bloom after rain declares Washington
Inspiring attitudes, lifted to rise after they fall
As across the room Kahlo reflects over shadows on the wall
Fallen but not broken, through the darkness, Roots light still shines on
Sound-tracked by drum beat, crickets chip, traffic hum and tennis play, ‘Love – one!’
The strength of life, common ground, at its essence and as its inspiration
Born of the rhythm, full of hope, showcasing the feet of our nation.
In this review I will be reviewing Écrit from the Roots dance show I went to go and see which was by National Dance Company Wales, it was performed at Theatre Clwyd.
There were four different dance pieces, some of them I preferred over others. The first dance piece was called Ecrit, I found this dance piece really interesting because when i was watching it I couldn’t fully understand the storyline to it and there were many different possibilities to the storyline as well which I really liked because it left a bit of mystery to the piece.
The dance piece was inspired by letters because the dance piece’s title means writing in French. I felt like in this
piece the man behind the sheet was painting his feelings about his love he couldn’t get too because you felt the connection throughout the piece between the two dancers even though they weren’t fully dancing together and you couldn’t really see one of them either. I found that the background music made the piece more emotional and touching to watch and if there wasn’t any music there I feel like it would of looked as good because there wouldn’t be anything there for the dancer to flow to and create the moves to either.
Another storyline I came up with while watching this piece was that the man behind the sheet was losing his mind and I thought this because of the way he was moving and dancing behind the sheet. As I have briefly mentioned before I mainly thought that both dancers where two lovers that couldn’t get to each other because of distance and
the only way they speak is through love letters which tie back
into the inspiration of the piece.
At some point in the performance I did find it a bit creepy especially when the dancer behind the sheet went bigger and smaller and started to control the female dancer in a way. Then once both dancers could be seen it was the most touching for me because the way they both were dancing together so effortlessly really brought the ending of the piece together and it felt the male dancer was caring for the female one. Also something I wasn’t expecting was the singing in the performance which was the singing in the performance which I wasn’t quite sure worked because I felt like the mystery of who these people are was taken away when we started singing in my opinion.
The first piece Ecrit presented by National Dance Company Wales as part of the Roots tour was based on a Mexican relationship. What I took from this was that even though the man was the one who was restricted in prison it seemed to me as though he was getting his freedom through the woman that he loved and he was living his life through her.
The second piece was called Why Are People Clapping and the interpretation I got out of this was that there was always one person who was in control and whenever that person clapped the rest would follow and whenever someone almost didn’t listen then they would then become the one in control. Overall I feel this was an OK performance and I feel that it could have been more clear as to what it was that was going on.
Codi was the name of the third piece and it was about the welsh miners. The interpretation I took from this was that it was about the struggles the miners would face. I also took the deep groans of the backing music as the horses pulling the carts of coal from deep within the mountains and I also thought it was about the explosion.
The last piece was called Rygbi and the interpretation I got from this was that it was about the love that the Welsh have for Rugby. Personally I liked how they used actual rugby movements and routines to show emotions.