Category Archives: Dance

Review The Red Shoes, Matthew Bourne Company by Sian Thomas

4 Stars4 / 5

 

I don’t know very much about ballet. In fact, this was my first time ever seeing one. I was completely swept away by the beauty and the elegance of it.

I did manage to follow the story. Although at first I was definitely a little lost. I did pick up the conflict between choosing passion or choosing love, and the eventual consequences that come to light as a result of the character’s decisions.

The dancing was gorgeous. Every single person on stage managed to look beyond elegant, and way beyond beautiful. The music alongside was amazing to see. Everything was so in sync and perfectly aligned, like the cat wasn’t well-practiced, but more like dancing to it was intrinsically within them and not something they had to even think twice about. Like I said, I don’t know very much about ballet. My eyes aren’t critical to the specifics of the dances, but I was unaware of mistakes and critiques in a borderline blissful way. I enjoyed something pretty and stunning. And I really, really liked it.

The setting was cunning, and extremely clever. There were things I didn’t expect to be used at all – like shadows, or smoke, the front of a train, audio of clapping – which I did mistake for the audience – and so forth. The ideas behind the production seemed big and well-thought out. Something daring but equally safe.

 

Get the Chance announced as runners up in the Celebrating Diversity Award at this years Epic Awards

 

Get the Chance  have been announced as runners up in the Celebrating Diversity Award at the 2017 Epic Awards organised by Voluntary Arts. The ceremony took place on Sunday the 19th March at the Sage Gateshead as part of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival.

 The Epic Awards were set up in 2010 by Voluntary Arts, an organisation that works across the UK and Republic of Ireland to promote participation in creative cultural activities. They celebrate the amazing contribution voluntary-led creative groups make to their communities.

https://www.voluntaryarts.org/epic-awards

The Celebrating Diversity Award is selected from across the full shortlist of 32 groups by a panel of judges representing  teams in each nation. This award celebrates groups that have taken an innovative approach to highlighting the positive effects that come from living in a diverse society and is something that is central to the work that Voluntary Arts does all year round. Get the Chance were unanimously praised by the Epic Awards judges for

The project’s unique approach to encouraging a diversity of voices

 Guy O’Donnell, Director of Get the Chance said;

Get the Chance is honoured to be selected as runners up in the Celebrating Diversity Award. We strive to reflect the diverse nature of society in our voluntary membership. We learn from our team about barriers to sport and cultural provision and seek to work together to provide responses which are representative of all citizens in the UK.”

https://www.voluntaryarts.org/epic-awards-2017-winners

Membership of Get the Chance is free for further details please contact Guy O’Donnell, Director of Get the Chance

 getthechance1@gmail.com

Get The Chance

 

 

Review: Youth Dance Night at NDCWales by Helen Joy

NDCW Youth

Right, this is a hard one; I have thought long and hard about this review.

My conclusion is this: I am not here to comment on any of the pieces critically, I am here to congratulate and celebrate everyone involved in creating beautiful dance through giving all these extraordinary young people the chance to dance.

Every dance has a message for us and in essence I think it is this:

“Listen to us, we may be young and we may seem to have so little experience next to you, the big grown-up, but we have a voice and we feel and we want you to hear us and respond. Our need to express ourselves and to be understood is as great as yours and we will be heard, we will use clothes and colour and tears and anger; we will use movement and action; we will use dance.”

Each piece is so different, working so carefully with the ages of the dancers, their abilities and their stories. Some dancers have that special something – you can already see it, something in the way they look straight at you, something in the way they love the connection between their bodies and their minds, something just special. Every dancer in front of us performs as a professional – confident, charming, athletic and poised. Confident enough to use humour and we in the audience are impressed and laugh with them.

They dance of war and remembrance, of love and loss, of action and inaction, of communication and self.

I have no warm personal association with this – I was once in the wrong queue at junior school and accidentally arrived in the ballet class, surrounded by pink leotards and birds in cages. I was about 6. I can still feel the horror of it.

Yet, here I am wishing and wishing I had had the gumption these young people have and to have stayed in that class; wishing I had that gumption now too. What amazing young people they are, what remarkable people they will remain and in part because of this opportunity they have the gumption to take, to value and to work at – for none of this comes easy, I am sure.

I am sitting next to Luke, a dance teacher, and we discuss what makes the difference between the Associates’ piece and everyone else’s. There is something about the last piece which is more polished than the others, slicker somehow. Time is partly the answer – these dancers have been selected and given the time to train in a way the others do not have.

This suggests to me that it is time that we all must have to perfect what we do – all these young dancers deserve our support to give them the opportunities and the time they need to grow into the adults who will make our world more than just a little better.

To support ETC, Fantasy Feet, Rubicon and the NDCW, please see the links below.

Every young person should have the chance to dance, please help them to get that chance.

 

Helen Joy for Get the Chance, 3rd Act Critics.

 Curator:  Caroline Finn, NDCW Artistic Director

Showcasing:

ETC Youth Dance
Fantasy Feet (2 x pieces within their 12 minute slot)
Rubicon (Urban Flagship Group)
Joon Youth Dance Company
National Dance Company Wales Associates

Seen: 26 February, 2017

 Where: Dance House, WMC, Cardiff

Tickets: £10 | Concessions £7

 Find Youth Dance at:

Fantasy Feet, Merthyr Tydfil

http://www.fantasyfeetdance.co.uk/

 

Rubicon Dance, Adamsdown, Cardiff

http://www.rubicondance.co.uk/

 

Joon Dance, Solva, Pembrokeshire

https://www.facebook.com/JoonDance/

 

ETC Youth Dance

https://twitter.com/etcdance

  

NDCWales, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/get-involved/dance/associates-age-14-19/

 

To support National Dance Company Wales, please consider their new Lift Lifft scheme at http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/about/support-us/individual-giving/

 

 

BSL Video, Why not join Get the Chance? with Steph Back

This video features Get the Chance member Steph Back inviting you to join our team. The BSL transcript is below.

Hi my name is Steph Back.

I am a member of Get the Chance. Get the Chance support members of the public to access sport and cultural events such as gigs, the theatre and performances. The members then review the activity they have attended. All of the reviews are posted on the Get the Chance website http://getthechance.wales
Get the Chance wants to support new deaf/hearing impaired critics. Get the Chance can run free workshops teaching you about how to be a critic.

If you are interested in getting involved you need to contact Guy O’Donnell, The Director of Get the Chance.

You can email him at odonnell.guy@gmail.com or text him on 07703 729079. Get the Chance also has a Facebook group and you can get in touch there as well.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/GettheChance/

Thank You.

F.E.A.R. by Mr & Mrs Clark, a review by Helen Joy

F.E.A.R.

An autobiographical tour of the constructed fear that society, religion and family place onto young shoulders.

Mr & Mrs Clark

There is someone in front of me who is bored, who doesn’t like it. There is much loud huffing and shrugging. But as far as I can tell, everyone else is in thrall to this captivating performance. Most of us are about the same age as Mr Clark and he is describing us. To a tee.

These are our fears too. Nostalgia and angst. Nuclear war and homemade bunkers. Overhead cables and safety belts. Clunk click. Superman y-fronts and God.

Being watched, getting a proper job, having sex, getting AIDS, getting a girl pregnant, not having children, having a mortgage, taking drugs and dancing. Hair, too much in the ears, too little on the head. Farting. Weeing. Keeping it in. Keeping it up.

God, this is so uncomfortable, so perfectly awkward as we confront the identities of our public information inspired youth and our middle age of worry.

It is inclusive – we want to bop about with him on his dance floor, we don’t want to admit to being the 1 in 3 who voted to keep immigrants out, we want to relax into our group hug. We remember terrorism then and now, we remember war, then and now. Why would you want to join the army? Get a proper job. Put your hand up if you have taken an AIDS test.

We all hide in our masks – our crocodile facade, we feel responsible for everything bad in the world and wonder constantly how we are still here, how we didn’t catch diseases from loo seats and get run over by trains. But we are being watched by God, by Jesus, by cameras, by the internet. Brilliant.

This is brilliant. It is funny, challenging, difficult, joyous, hard viewing. Mr C’s eye contact is hard to return. We feel guilty, the collective conscience of the ‘70s.

FEAR. And the really clever bit is its accessibility. Signed and spoken as part of the production, not something outside of it. This is most properly inclusive and even better for it.

Maybe we have learned something after all. It is these children who became the adults who changed our social makeup, who challenged the divisions between sexuality and race and class and ability, who invited everyone to join in, who broke the boundaries we inherited.

Perhaps FEAR is not always such a bad thing. I wonder what that man in front of me was really feeling.

 

4 stars

 

Project Details

Directed by: Agnieszka Blonska Performed by Gareth Clarkcroc

 

An interview with Rachel Pedley-Miller, founding director of Avant Cymru

Rachel Pedley-Miller

The Director of Get the Chance Guy O’Donnell recently got the chance to chat to Rachel Pedley-Miller, founding director of Avant Cymru. Rachel discussed her career to date, Blue Scar Avants latest work in development, the support she has received from Angela Gould/RCT Theatres and the importance of working with local communities in all aspects of her professional practice.

Hi Rachel great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

I started dancing aged 2, my Mam had learned to dance in the Ponty YMCA with Pat and Heather Rees and she wanted me to learn to dance as well. I loved every dance class and by my teens I was training 6 days a week in various styles and had started drama and music lessons. There were also various community arts opportunities I could join in with to keep developing my understanding. I had amazing teachers who trained me to teach, which meant I could afford to do extra classes, through gaining work at the dance studios.

I was really lucky to start training under Maggie Patterson through the Pineapple Performing Arts Troup. Maggie created opportunities for me and the rest of our crew to gain professional work opportunities while training, we danced for TV, Film, theatre and live events. It was here that I started training with Jimmy Williams (lockin’ dancer) and Kate Prince (of Zoonation) who started my introduction to Hip Hop Dance.

It was great to grow up in the dance community, it taught me the importance of sharing experiences, giving back and that you can always continue to learn, not only because there so are many dance styles to learn, but also because these styles have come from diverse communities and learning about the history behind the techniques is just as important as performing the moves themselves.

You are one of the directors of AVANT Cymru and support a lots go great community arts activity in the Valleys, could you tell us more about this work?

During the school holidays I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My grandfather is very community minded, he was part of ‘Cor Meibion Male Voice Choir’ (who sing at community events all over Wales and beyond, including the  Principality Stadium before internationals!) He also looked after the community, shopping for the elderly and doing carpentry work for others as favours to friends. His community ethics have played an important part in my desire to come home to the Rhondda. It has created a desire to make work with a community who create opportunities for themselves and who love to celebrate culture.

Avant was founded at the end of 2014 when I had moved back home to the Rhondda and had started to go to networking opportunities around Wales. At these networking meetings (such as NTW TEAM workout, Ponty’ Arts meetings, Sherman JMK training opportunities, Equity Branch meeting, What’s Next Valleys meetings to name a few) I met likeminded artists such as Alan and Darius (co-directors) who wanted to create high quality, relevant and imaginative work.

Killer Cells

Our work includes ‘Over By Here’, ‘Killer Cells’ and now ‘Blue Scar’. In all Avant’s  work we create opportunities for either our students from our weekly classes or for the community to shape the shows. We firmly believe in going out into the community to hear what is relevant and working with the community to develop art that is wanted and needed. Even though we are theatre makers, this means that we have also collaborated with other art styles. For example visual artists such as Claire Louise Prosser, on projects such as the Bus Stops in Tonyrefail. When researching for Over By Here we found out that the public wanted the beaten up bus stops to be more colourful, Claire came on board and led project Bus Stops which led to one teenager commenting “Thank you for doing this, the bus stops show that people care and it makes me feel safer in town”.

Artist Claire Louise Prosser

We are also about to undertake a film project with Gary Lewis called ‘Land of Our Fathers’ for the Age Cymru Gwanwyn Festival. We have chosen the media of film as the residents of the care home we will be working with may not be able to access live performances, by creating a film this can be played back to them in their care situation.

Avant are a forward thinking theatre company who have plans to create versatile work in the Rhondda and perform this work locally, nationally and internationally, to celebrate the Rhondda and its people in all sorts of creative ways. We are really excited to be working with RCT Theatres on a number of these projects.

More recently you have been working towards a sharing of a production called Blue Scar, I believe this production involves Urban Art Forms is that correct?

Blue Scar is a Hip Hop inspired project. We were asked to research and develop a hip hop dance project with RCT Theatres and Creu Cymru’s  welsh dance consortium. Our first plan of action was to speak to the community. We were inspired by the history of ‘Lockin’, which was created by young people at the end of the 1970’s early 1980’s watching cartoons such as the Loony Toons and recreating the actions that the cartoon characters performed. The style of dance is very animated with big facial expressions and poses. So we wanted to know what young people in the late 1970s/early 80’s were doing in the Rhondda to make Welsh hip hop.

We visited audiences at the Park and Dare and Coliseum before the Pantomime, we went to the local libraries and we spoke to people on Rhondda Facebook groups. The answer that came back was that the children liked to play up the mountain, occasionally some of these games resulted in cuts and bruises and because of the coal dust they often resulted in blue scars.

Blue scars became a point of discussion, miners had them from their work down the mines, but they were also a mark of the area. People spoke proudly of the time they earned their blue scar, from falling off their Gambo (go cart) or from playing kiss chase on the tip. These stories became our inspiration.

We then set out to speak to students in our regular classes and at Treorchy Comp who hadn’t heard of blue scars and wanted to help us make the show relevant to their generation. So as part of the R&D we worked with the young people and involved them  to lead the narrative, asking them how they share stories at home. Niamh performed with us on the night of the R&D, her character learns of how her mother gained her blue scar playing up the mountains. Niamh’s grandmother came to watch the show, which prompted her to tell Niamh tales from when she was young, and how she too used to play up the mountain.

Blue Scar, shaped by the community became a cross generational project because of the narrative, which made it vital for us to work with the right artists. To really create a Welsh hip hop piece we wanted to blend traditional welsh music and dance with hip hop styles. We did a call out for artists and we began to develop ideas.

Angharad Jenkins and Dean Yhnell working on Blue Scar

James Humphreys created a script based on the comments from the community, Gary Lewis created a film showcasing Avant’s students participation. Dean Yhnell from BeatTechnique got in contact; he had previously worked with musician Angharad Jenkins on the 10 minute musical project produced by Leeway Productions.

The Blue Scar Dancers

They were keen to work together again, working with Darius they created the tracks and Bethan England came in to sing. Tommy Boost, Ahmed Zada and myself were able to bring three different hip hop techniques breakin, lockin and poppin and then we were lucky to bring in BBoy Slammo and Patrick Thomas. BBoy Slammo has been teaching breakin in the Rhondda for over a decade and Patrick is a member of his crew, having these two bboys on board has been vital to showcase the legacy of hip hops dance community that already exists in the Rhondda. Bboy Slammo is an internationally known breaker who is one of the founding organiser for Breakin’  the Bay at the WMC.

Blue Scar

The whole team were able to bring different elements to the project and inspired by the communities ideas we got to work, creating a Welsh hip hop dance piece.

Angela Gould, (Theatre Programme and Audience Development Manager RCT) and the RCT Theatres staff have been strong supporters of your career, why is the support of someone like Angela important?

Angela Gould has created the #CreativeHub at the Park and Dare, which is creative space for companies to produce new work. The Park and Dare staff are the most amazing team an artist could wish for. The tech team provide staging and tech, they bend over backwards to make sure we have everything required to provide the best audience experience possible. The venue team are amazing, Tom helps to get in place translations and timetables so everything is accessible and the team help produce programmes and marketing so we can facilitate the community outreach. Angela is incredible, she is there from the start to discuss ideas, then bends over backwards to mentor and challenge us. She takes the time to listen to audiences and know our community, we are so grateful to Angela and RCT theatres for their support. We firmly believe in collaboration and the #CreativeHub has been an amazing place for Avant to grow and develop. We are looking forward to producing Killer Cells over the summer and developing Blue Scar into a production for next year together with RCT Theatres.

Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision. Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists? 

We love to invite Get the Chance to all stages of our work, we are aware of the fantastic work they are doing promoting theatre and culture in Wales, demonstrating that there is a variety of cultural experience that appeals to diverse audiences. We know the reviewers have the opportunity to see a range of work and are informed on current theatre practices, so their reviews help shape future developments. For example Get the Chance critic Gemma Treharne-Foose came to watch the small production of Killer Cells, we had been working on the characters and story and her feedback confirmed to us that the digital aspect needed investment. So for the 2017 tour we have acted on this feedback and we are investing in the digital aspect of the story.

REVIEW: ‘KILLER CELLS’ BY GEMMA TREHARNE-FOOSE

We have found that fear is a barrier for new audiences because the unknown can make people anxious. By inviting Get the Chance in the stages of development and by sharing our ideas and plans we are able to inform new audiences, so they are guided and have an idea of what to expect when they attend a show. Get the Chance is breaking down these fears and bringing new audiences to the theatre.

Many thanks Rachel. If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?

This is a difficult question as I would like to see more spending in the arts all over, I believe arts and participation is good for health, wellbeing education and regeneration. I would like to see more funding going into buildings such as the Park and Dare. They have already started work on improving the building, which includes new carpets, paint in the foyer and the lift is being rebuilt, however further funding is still needed to help complete the other jobs the team have planned.

http://www.rct-arts.co.uk

I’d love to see money put into a collaborative CPD programme. In dance, for example we have fantastic dance teachers and studios, but it would be amazing to have collaborative spaces such as Pineapple or Broadway Dance Studios in Wales, where the public can access dance and professionals can access the training needed 7 days a week and during the day time. It is important to create new training opportunities in Wales, so we can continue to learn and develop.

What excites you about the arts in Wales? What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers? 

I truly believe that Wales is an exciting country for the arts. There are so many cultural opportunities and emerging companies and individuals who are being shaped by established and experienced venues and organisations. There are networking opportunities, training performances and jobs it is evident that the people of Wales, want to make cultural experiences happen in a variety of places and in a variety of ways. From engaging in local opportunities in the Rhondda, taking part in Age Cymru’s Gwanwyn Festival, being a Sherman 5 member at the Paul Hamlyn Funded project at Sherman Theatre and by being a TEAM panel member for National Theatre Wales. I have personally found that no matter who you are there is a cultural opportunity for you. It is hard to name one event because the variety of experiences is exciting. I know that I am looking forward to seeing ‘Hard As Nails’ at the Park and Dare and ‘Killology’ at the Sherman, I have my tickets booked for both!

I am really proud to say that Avant are part of the Welsh art community, creating work in the Rhondda, with fantastic partners in RCT Theatres, at the Park and Dare and traveling to exciting venues such as the Sherman, the Willow Globe and Volcano later this year.

 

Review: Babulus, Gwyn Emberton and ilDance by Helen Joy

Babulus

4 Stars

Tower of Babel, says a friend next to me.

 Communication, that’s what it’s about, she says, all the different ways of communicating.

 I’m not sure about the bear, I find the bear creepy. Oh, she says, I like the bear.

Did you like the dance as a whole? Oh yes, mesmerising. I like going to things with you, I see things I wouldn’t otherwise see.

I see things I wouldn’t otherwise see. This is one of them for me too.

 

I was facilitating art classes last week with older people in hospitals and care homes and one of them, Brian, was unable to speak or hear. Don’t worry, the nurse said, he will make you understand him. And he did. Brian painted flowers, big colourful flowers. We chatted with our hands, our faces and our paint. We did not need to use our voices. It was a dance between two people.

Babulus is a dance between five people, one of whom is a bear now and again. A bizarre, fluffy, comedic yet sentient and sympathetic character to foil the darker elements of tied hands and closed mouths. I still found it creepy. The clown in the classroom, the slapstick to the poignant. I realise that this is just me – everyone else loved the softer element, the balance, the reference to a childhood toy. I still have my Bear, he sleeps with me still and he is my most valuable possession so I do get it, I get the thinking, I just don’t like it until I watch her loose a dancer’s bonds, quietly, softly.

But the dance itself? Oh it is superb. The dancers come together, push apart, come together, push apart using movement, chatter, language, sticky tape, song and light. They are beautifully choreographed, they are beautifully lit. It is mesmerising. There are two themes I particularly like: the holding of hands over each other’s mouths; and the bunching together babbling in their mother tongues. I like that they emerge from behind us, that they make eye contact with us, that they threaten us and engage with us. They laugh with us too.

It is the dance between two people, one with his hand over her mouth with her twisting away to speak, that I will remember most – they roll into and over each other in a balletic, deceptive, controlling, power struggle. I wish I could see this again and again. It called to me.

It is also one of the best after show discussions I have ever attended. The performers, dancers, are as engaging vocally as they have been throughout their piece. Clever, open, responsive to their audience, they are indeed communicating at all levels. Not babbling at all, really.

 

Event:                   Bablulus

Seen:                    1930, 17th February, 2017

Reviewer:            Helen Joy for 3rd Act Critics

Running:               Friday 17 February – Saturday 18 February

Cost :                    Tickets: £12/£10; Age 11+

Running time: approx. 50mins  

Links:     http://www.chapter.org/babulus

Production:         Gwyn Emberton and ilDance collaboration

Music:                  Oscar Collin

Lighting and design:         Joe Fletcher

Direction:            Sara Lloyd

Babulus was created and toured with the support of Arts Council Wales, Gothenburg International Theatre and Dance Festival, The Work Room, Wales Arts International, Göteborg Stad, Västra Götalandsregionen, NDCWales, Ballet Cymru, Balettakademien Stockholm, Konstnärsnämnden, and Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

REVIEW ANTON AND ERIN SWING TIME, ST DAVID’S HALL BY JAMES BRIGGS

“I’m puttin’ on my top hat, Tyin’ up my white tie, Brushin’ off my tails” to welcome the fabulous Strictly Come Dancing duo Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag. On Sunday 19th February a packed crowd at the St David’s Hall was treated to an afternoon of high class ballroom dancing from two of Strictly Come Dancing’s most famous dancers.

I must say I was extremely excited before watching this show as I am a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing and really love ballroom dancing so for me this show was a dream. The brilliant dancing duo was accompanied by a whole host of other dancers who were just as brilliant. The three male dancers easily kept up with the style of Du Beke and they were Scott Coldwell, Luke Field-Wright and Adam Lyons. The ladies dancing within the show were equally as brilliant and gave the same grace as Erin Boag. The brilliant ladies dancing were Hayley Ainsley, Victoria Hinde and Francesca Moffat.

Alongside the brilliant dancers within the show there was also a fabulous orchestra namely that of the London Concert Orchestra. Anton Du Beke himself joked about how he would have had the Welsh Concert Orchestra only they were too expensive. The London Concert orchestra was conducted by renowned conductor Richard Balcombe. The orchestra accompanied a very special guest singer for the show Lance Ellington who is one of the singers on the show Strictly Come Dancing. His voice was brilliant and worked very well with the music chosen for the show. He even joined in with some of the dances and certainly showed how massively talented all of the performers are on Strictly Come Dancing.

All of the brilliant dances were choreographed and directed by Nikki Woollaston who has worked on productions such as 42nd Street at the Theatre du Chatelet and many other tours with Anton Du Beke.

All in all Anton and Erin put on a fabulous show that really is a joy to behold. With such magical dance numbers and brilliant performances it really is a show not to be missed. So if you have chance to watch this amazing duo performing grasp it and just “face the music and dance”.

Tickets for the tour around he UK are available via – http://www.antonanderin.com/_blog/The-Anton-And-Erin-Blog/post/swing-time—our-2017-tour/

Top Tunes with Caroline Finn, Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales

Top Tunes is a new feature for Get the Chance in collaboration with Outpost. http://www.outpostrecords.co.uk 

The Director of Get the Chance Guy O’Donnell recently got the chance to chat to Caroline Finn, Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales. Caroline discussed her career to date, the spring 2017 tour of The Green House and choose her 5 Top Tunes!

Caroline in rehearsals for The Green House

Caroline in rehearsals with the company for The Green House

Click the Soundcloud file below to listen to the interview described.

Hi Caroline great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

Hi there! Well, I am currently the Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales, based in Cardiff. But I guess my story begins way back when I was 11 years old and decided I wanted to become a professional dancer. I went to The Arts Educational School, Tring Park until I was 18 and then moved to New York to study at the Juilliard School. My first professional job was with Ballet Theatre Munich and subsequently I also danced with ballet Preljocaj in France and Compagnie Carolyn Carlson. In 2009 I decided to focus on working as a freelance choreographer and travelled all over the world making works for various companies before coming here to Cardiff!

 Thanks, this chat is specifically about music and the role it has played in your personal and professional life. Firstly to start off what are you currently listening to? 

I am currently only listening to the soundtrack for my new work, The Green House, which will form part of our Spring tour this year. It’s all-consuming!

Caroline in rehearsals for The Green House

Caroline in rehearsals with the company for The Green House

Music has always played a big part in my life- I learnt to play the piano and violin as a child and of course at Juilliard I was constantly surrounded by and influenced by some wonderful musicians.

In terms of choreography, the inspiration for my work often comes from hearing a particular piece of music which immediately generates stories, emotions or images for me. I then try to build on that, finding other musical tracks which compliment it. The soundtracks to my works are often quite eclectic and can span a range of musical genres from Balkan folk music to Radiohead. The Green House for example has a bit of Max Steiner (look him up – you’ve almost certainly heard his work before), mixed in with Shostakovich and a Brazilian film soundtrack. It’s incredibly varied!

 We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, so we want to ask you to list 5 records/albums which have personal resonance to you and why. 

 1 Beethoven Symphony no. 7 in A major

2 Beirut- the Gulag Orkestar

3 Radiohead -Creep

4 Travis -The Man Who

5 Olafur Arnalds -Stare

Just to put you on the spot could you choose one track from the five listed above and tell us why you have chosen this?

I think I would have to say Creep by Radiohead. Maybe because listening to it takes me back to a very specific time and place in my life and I think that so many people can relate to those lyrics. I know there have been many cover versions over the years but I particularly love Frank Bennett’s because he takes it right back to the 1950’s. Surely it’s the measure of a great song when there can be such incredible cover versions?

I actually used Frank Bennett’s for a piece I created for Phoenix Dance Theatre in 2015 called Bloom.

Spring Tour 2017 – The Green House | Profundis

National Dance Company Wales presents an evocative double bill of new work Spring 2017

The Green House
Caroline Finn

What happens when we prune ourselves to perfection? Caroline Finn takes us on a nostalgic journey, asking us to peer into The Green House. On a twisted TV set, characters discover the fine line between fantasy and reality.
The Green House is Finn’s second theatrical work as Artistic Director for the Company, following the overwhelming success of Folk in 2016.
‘Finn knows how to choose a resonant image, and how to orchestrate emotions’ The Guardian

Profundis
Roy Assaf

“It’s about Profundis. It’s not about Profundis…”
Playful, vibrant and provocative. Profundis dares us to ask questions about what things are, and what they are not. Roy Assaf’s thoughtful movement is accompanied by whimsical wordplay and an exotic soundtrack featuring Egypt’s Umm Kulthum.
‘a tapestry of exquisitely detailed gestures adorned with sparkling stories’ Buzz Magazine

Suitable for age 12+

* Watch Dance Class
12.45 – 2pm
See * below for dates

Get a unique behind-the-scenes look at how our dancers prepare just hours before a show.
You can observe, sketch, record and photograph the ballet or contemporary class on stage, giving you a glimpse into NDCWales life.

Perfect for dance students, artists, photographers and anyone interested in peeking behind the curtain. Expand your portfolio, practice drawing from movement or just observe with interest.
Free to attend but please book a space – email megan@ndcwales.co.uk for more info
Discover Dance
#GetDancing with National Dance Company Wales
The perfect 90-minute introduction to dance for families and schools. Suitable for age 7+
More info & dates here
http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/what-s-on/calendar/spring-tour-2017

Get the Chance Creative Associate Jonny Cotsen on #Fresh2Deaf

Get the Chance Creative Associate Jonny Cotsen on #Fresh2Deaf

Dance is a universal language. That’s why I think it is so special. Some people choose to sing in the shower every morning but me…I dance in the kitchen to start my day, and now I have some new moves thanks to Jukebox Collective and Chris Fonseca.

I walked into Jukebox Collective Studios based underneath the railway track in town on a cold, wet and grey Cardiff day, not knowing what to expect but excited about what was ahead. I was hoping that it would be a dance class that I could follow; where I could follow the moves of the teacher and which would make allowances for my complete lack of coordination…oh, and hearing! The class was physical, emotional and ended up being more inspiring than I could have ever imagined. I have tried to do a few dance classes in the past, but this is one is definitely the most memorable.

Chris Fonseca who led the dance class is completely deaf. Chris is a London-based dancer and choreographer has defied all by continuing to teach and dance despite his deafness. He shot to fame by being part of Smirnoff Ice’s “ Keep It Moving” campaign. Whenever I saw the advert or the promo poster it made my spine tingle because of Smirnoff’s hashtag #KeepItMoving and #deafdancers. The advert reiterated the fact that dance is a universal language and like he says in the advert… “We can’t hear the lyrics but we FEEL the beat!”

After seeing the advert so much last Summer I was a) desperate to meet him and b) I wanted to make this happen in Cardiff!

I was fortunate enough that Jukebox Collective wanted to bring this experience to Cardiff. Jukebox Collective are a creative company focused on the delivery of the highest quality performing arts education, performance and consultancy. It was founded by Liara Barussi, and is recognised as a leading company for dance in the UK. Jukebox studios has a particular emphasis on the training and professional development of young people.

With the exciting news that Jukebox Collective had become a new Regularly Funded Organisation funded by Arts Council Wales, we exchanged ideas of running an inclusive group within their existing academies. I was delighted to be asked to work with them to consult and advise on how to make this happen. I have always been a big fan of their work especially their involvement with ‘Breakin’ the Bay’ conventions, an annual event at the WMC (worth checking out if you haven’t seen to see it!!).

Inspired by what they had seen of Chris from the Smirnoff adverts, they were really keen to set up the first ever deaf dance group in Wales. I met up with Sylvia Kulesza, who co-ordinated the project and a plan was hatched to bring Chris to Cardiff for an open session at the studios. The hope was that this session would inspire deaf people and Jukebox could then run regular dance sessions for deaf people. I could barely contain my excitement of the idea and loved that Sylvia shared my passion and enthusiasm for making this happen. Sylvia also came up with the idea of calling it #Fresh2Deaf!

As part of the plan, I agreed to do a Deaf Awareness workshop the week prior to the dance class for the Jukebox Academies who range in age from 11 to 19 years.

I wanted the Deaf Awareness workshop to be engaging, fun and informative. I felt it was really important for them to learn how to communicate with deaf people, to understand the right terminology and have a better understanding of deafness. The students were great. We did lots of deaf-aware games, learnt basic finger-spelling and signs, and of course each one of them got their own ‘sign-name’. I felt so blessed to do this with such lovely and passionate group of young people.

The following week was the first ever #Fresh2Deaf open session!!

As well as the students from Jukebox Academy, half of the class were deaf and we all had the feeling that we were not going let our impairment put us off because we were all there for the joy of dance. Chris was really calm and made us feel really confident. Watching someone like Chris chase his dreams is really inspiring to watch and I can see how he can influence younger deaf people.

Chris used sign-language and an interpreter relayed the message for those that did not know sign-language. The attraction that Chris has to hip-hop is magnetic! He can’t hear the music so he relies on the vibrations from the heavy deep bass to count the music while he teaches so that he can stay on beat.

“I love hip-hop music because the bass is so strong on it, and I just love that,” he said. “The structure of the rhythm is something that I really connect to easily. All it takes is one beat, and I’m there!”

After a quick and very physical warm-up, Chris taught us how tocount the beat through vibrations, so that we could stay in time with the beat. The music was blasting so loud that the bass was heavy enough for every one of us especially those that were deaf to FEEL. I was initially worried about the older deaf members in the group but they had just as much energy as the younger ones. Seeing the older member made me think that age is no deterrent to dance, the same as our disability. Jane, who is 63 years old and goes to Bridgend Deaf Club told me afterwards that it was one of the best times she had.

It was also lovely to see some of the Jukebox Collective Academy students mixing with the younger deaf people. Taylor, one of the more experienced academy students was doing basic signing and fingerspelling too. That really excited me!

After the workshop we had a Q&A with Chris (and we needed a breather!). It was really interesting to hear him speak so openly about his life, his influences, his passion and he spoke with so much enthusiasm. Since his advert has been aired, he said that people have come up to him and said they have been inspired. Chris said there have been lots of really positive responses which are really lovely and heart-warming so he says his aim is to give something back to the deaf community and get more recognition of sign language. He wanted to show the importance of deaf culture and get hearing people interested in learning dance through deaf persons experience.

I have always thought and felt that dance was something that as a deaf person is not an easy thing to do because there is that major barrier, hearing the music! A lot of hearing people think that if you are deaf then there is no way that you can dance. Chris defies that perception and you have to admire him for that. Ever since I got into the Arts, with my vision in life to make the Arts more accessible and more inclusive, I like Chris, am working daily to break down those barriers!

My final thoughts…I recently got a tweet from Cardiff’s Boiler House, a venue that does graffiti and pop-up events, who reminded me that I had a conversation with them about 5 years ago I had spoken with them about my vision to do hip-hop dance classes in Cardiff for deaf people. I totally forgot I had that conversation and it just reminded me that you have to believe in yourself to make it happen and never give up believing! I hope Jukebox Collective #Fresh2Deaf project will lead the way to make this a reality to happen in Wales.

How do you know if you don’t try?

Contact abby@jukeboxcollective.com for more information about #Fresh2Deaf workshops