Danza! Collaboration: A Winning Combination By Dark Clerk Images by Phillip Rhodes and Anna Bean
Sold out show proves there is an audience for contemporary dance in Hull.
Ambitious. Experimental. Hugely enjoyable: Just a few of the words being used to describe Danza! Collaborations; Hull's annual showcase of contemporary dance.
Each year the bar gets raised and this year was no different. Danza! Founder, Jo Ashbridge assembled a company of artists via a wide open submissions process, from a variety of practices alongside some of the best local dancers and choreographers in order to create a show for performance at Fruit on Friday August 15th.
Some of the company, despite being at the beginning of their careers, have a string of awards and accolades:
Curve Contemporary Hull Dance Prize Finalists, Stephanie Potter of 2 Blondes Dance, Hull Dance Prize Winner (both Judges and Audience Award) rock band The Holy Orders, BBC 'Ones to Watch 2013' and Jo Ashbridge, herself the recent Turn Prize Winner at Dance Manchester.
Doubtless there were many other awards, accolades and commendations within the 2014 Danza! company, such was the depth of talent.
For Danza! Collaborations, the company were challenged within a very tight time frame (1 month, to be exact) to not only create work for performance on stage, but to work with persons from a completely different art background. Ambitious, indeed.
This was how medieval musician Amanda Lowe on hammer dulcimer, came to be scoring Shallow, a kaleidoscopic performance from Lucy Haighton (Sheffield based dancer and choreographer) against a backdrop of projected kinetic imagery created by Scott Whitaker, a digital coder and image maker from Hull.
Danza! Collaborations was about interpretation and re-interpretation of a performance approach; none more so for electronica artist, Phill Wilson. Under the mantle MyOneManBand, he entertains and delights audiences with his improvised digitised performances.
He gets on stage with no prior knowledge or plan as to what sounds he will make. Then, with his increasingly complicated array of keys, pedals, dials and switches he creates something moving, magical, memorable, but never to be repeated live. 'It's to do with being in the moment, the most honest part of performance', he says.
And how did they manage to reinterpret improvisation for dancers Stephanie Potter, Tamar Draper and Lucy Haighton? Watch the following video made on the night by Matt Colquhoun who also hints at the process behind the piece Echoes.
There was a feeling of genuine exploration and dialogue between the artists. The work was new, raw and unpolished with real 'what if?' questions as visual art forms met the physical world and vocals combined with movement.
I overheard a comment about how Danza! Collaborations had somehow brought something back that to Hull's arts offer:
'It was like performance in the eighties or nineties.... Hull needs more of this risk taking... such a brilliant idea bringing artists together in this way... '
Whether the reference to the past was in any way related to the rare appearance of Super 8 footage in the spoken word cinematic work, Ouroboros created by Wisia Baxter and Russian Red (Performance artists) and Hull artist/filmmakers David Priestman and Phil Codd, is entirely possible.
I just wanted to drink in the cavernous sounds, be transported by the hypnotic imagery of clocks, timers and the flickering footage, of the naked form dancing in derelict spaces.
The sold out performance was watched by a very mixed crowd of a hundred or more. Some were arty types and knowledgeable about things, others were there for a good night out with a difference; all were curious over how the fine balancing act would be achieved.
The second half opener was all dressed up and littered with the cheeky humour of youth: a little sauce never hurt anybody.
Steph Potter again, this time teaming up with theatre-maker Rachael Abbey, for a short self-contained show called The Game of a Girl.
The duo, wonderfully complimenting each other, covered stereotypes, dating, dating stereotypes, rules about dating and a rather moving monologue that brought to mind, past moments of ridicule and rejection.
The audience began to laugh as each paraded on stage in different outfits as gags and one-liners, whoops and cheers erupting from all over the place but then the mood changed.
The emotive story shared by Rachael, while Steph began performing a dance solo centre stage - would have melted the sternest of hearts.
Music played a big part in Danza! There was the brooding tension of Bernard Hermann's unmistakable strings in the costumed pastiche of cult horror movies, performed by Danza! Choreography Project collaborating with artist/photographer, Anna Bean.
The deafening sound of The Holy Orders, performing their epic instrumental 'The Worse Day Since Records Began'. The dark, cavernous, disembodied sounds that threatened to swallow you whole, contrasting with whispery vocals to accompany the softer moments.
Music of every different shade, live and recorded, accompanied the performances.
A selection from the six are to be shown at Freedom Festival in September, so look out for more contemporary dance madeinhull there.
Danza! Collaborations shared the language of dance whilst creating its own distinctive voice.'Michelle Dee. Arts Journalist.
To see more from Danza! Collaborations search #DanzaHull on Twitter
Reviews, Theatre Jungle Book By Indigo Moon Theatre
By Michelle Dee
'I wish I was a child again so I could enjoy it all the more,' somebody said to me as we left the Indigo Moon Studio having just seen Jungle Book. For the past hour the capacity crowd had been transported to a new world; a world where imagination and storytelling hold court and we, the audience, fall dutifully in line, swept along by the magic of possibility. Read more...
Reviews, Film Gravity (Dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 12A) (No Spoilers) Reviewed By Michelle Dee
On Sunday I went to see Gravity. I'd seen a trailer the previous week, and had been totally seduced by the panoramic space spectacle, and couldn't wait to see the film that is being described as 'a cinematic masterpiece.'
Gravity is visually superb; a thrilling, relentless experience, from the moment the space shuttle moves into view and you glimpse the astronauts outside the craft working on an antenna array, as the earth slowly rotates far below.
Reviews, Theatre Tracks by Open Umbrella Theatre at The Brolly, Scrapstore Studios - 7th to 30th November 2013
By Michelle Dee
Sitting in The Brolly, I'm reminded of the tentative steps made by the acclaimed Hull Truck Theatre Company when it
began all those years ago. With singular ambition, the traveling company used local support to put on shows for the community of Hull.
At the core of Open Umbrella Theatre is the unshakable community-minded belief that theatre must be for everyone.
Reviews, Art Ghost Ship by Dorothy Cross By Michelle Dee.
I walk softly across the darkened exhibition gallery, towards a corner, illuminated only by the light coming from the projected image on screen. I sit myself down in one of the low seats provided. The other seat, beside the one I'm in, is occupied.
A quick glance out the corner of my eye reveals a man, possibly in a dark jacket and jeans, possibly with short hair. It's difficult to work out in this half light.
Reviews, Theatre Monday 14th October 2013 - Last Orders by Martin Breathnach at Fruit
By Michelle Dee
Last Orders is a play with community spirit at its heart. Set in a northern town within the confines of that rare thing, the local pub,
untouched by the ticking of the developer's clock.
It's the kind of place you've quickened your pace as you walk past, yet inside, whole lives are playing out in rudely vivid colours, scripted by heavy local venacular.
The new play written and directed by Irish playwright Martin Breathnach,
Reviews, Art Saturday 28th September 2013 at Heads Up Festival at Trinity Church - Cruel Theatre Leaves Critic Traumatised By Michelle Dee.
How had this happened? All eyes on me. Me, casting my eyes about wildly, looking for the great big hole to swallow me up. Immediately I'm transported back,
more years than I care to mention, to the school play.
There I am in my jester's costume, tumbling around the good-looking lead playing the King, and my nerves get the better of me and with each
jolly bell rattle, there's another, slightly
Reviews, Arts Hull Dance Prize 2013 - Big Hit with Audience at Hull Truck Studio Theatre - Thursday 3rd October 2013 By Michelle Dee
Hull Dance Prize 2013, organised by Hull Dance, saw six Contemporary Dance performers/companies battling it out in the
Studio Theatre at Hull Truck, to a capacity crowd.
Hosted by the jovial 'he gets everywhere' David Burns from the popular BBC Radio Humberside programme, The Burnsy Show.
The winners would be decided by an expert panel of judges and receive a cheque for £1,500.
Reviews, Art Trinity Church Showcases Hull Poetry at Heads Up Festival - Saturday 28th September 2013 By Michelle Dee.
They've performed everywhere from the Boathouse to the Hotel Tower Ballroom (maybe not, that was Jake and Elwood), five have taken part in the Edinburgh Fringe, and between them they have amassed seven published works, in a relatively short space of time.
Reviews, Art So You Wanna be a Crime Writer? at Heads Up Festival - Saturday 28th September 2013 at The Other Space By Michelle Dee.
Michelle Dee enters the grisly world of crime fiction, a place where a black inkwell resides at the heart of every writer, and attempts to piece together, from the thoughts expressed by a select gathering of authors, a rough guide to crime writing
Reviews, Theatre City Sketch Heralds a New Dawn for Storytelling in Hull - At The Other Space, Hull By Michelle Dee
City Sketch is a site-specific theatre work that takes place inside The Other Space, a
converted office block at No 94 Alfred Gelder Street in Hull city centre. Unusual theatre, immersive theatre,
interactive theatre is making all the traditional theatre practitioners sit up and take notice.
Just as audiences want to interact with news and entertainment online, so they want to be part of the story in theatre.
Reviews, Art Breakthrough for Community Art in Hull By Michelle Dee.
It does feel like something of a breakthrough; Community artists gaining recognition through having work displayed in the
same way countless established artists have before them. I am of course talking about Hull Art Top 20 Exhibition,
showing at Art Link on Princes Avenue until 24th August 2013.
Reviews, Art Rhythm is a Danza! By Dark Clerk Photos by Philip Rhodes.
I'm shouting in a gallery, I'm shouting in a gallery, just one of the many taboos that dancer/performer Ellen Turner broke at Danza! in Hull. Ellen delivered an outrageous finale, to a rip-roaring third annual Danza! the Contemporary Dance event this year gravitating from Fruit to the Live Art Space at Ferens Gallery. Whereas live music in the city and theatre is enjoying a popular resurgence, dance is still under-represented in the city.
Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Helen Mort
Mike Watts' second collection is darker than his debut, dealing with relationships, sex, debts and the difficulty of chasing your dreams while still making ends meet.
But despite the gravity and grit of the subject matter, the poems always have a kind of exuberance to them, and energy that's almost infectious.
Reviews, Theatre Michael Black's New Play Pride Debuts at Adelphi - Tuesday 18th June 2013 By Michelle Dee
'No-one will love you - you will be alone forever'
The new play Pride by Michael Black conjures up images of the barbaric treatment of homosexuality in the latter half of the 20th Century; a play that explores issues of societal division, segregation and rejection which are as relevant today as they were then.
It is appalling to think that from 1950 and then for the next three decades, Behavioural Aversion Therapy was being administered to homosexuals in NHS hospitals across the country.
Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Terry Ireland
Just spent an hour dipping in and out Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts. Always did like his style - no words wasted, tight and sparse. Controversial at times but always readable.
Really enjoyed. Another good 'un Mike.
Looking forward to hearing some of them performed. Mike is a superb performance poet that I have had the privilege of working with and attending his work shops. I can hear his voice in every poem.
Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Michelle Dee
Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory crashes through life in quick-fire stanzas that whack the unsuspecting reader over the head.
This, his second anthology available now at Waterstones Hull, sees the popular writer flexing muscles, girding loins, easing into the
self-made role of Hull street poet.
The poems are accessible, something you can pick up during a cigarette break and immediately share in a sense of solidarity.
You and he versus the rest of 'em.
Reviews, Theatre Adelphi Club Stages Theatre Double Bill By Michelle Dee
Crisis can strike at any time as the television is so fond of telling us.
It can take many different forms but the important thing is how you respond. Do you have the tools in the locker to manage the crisis to recover; to survive?
Joanna Morris' A Delicate Man explores the unknowable quantity that is human nature.
What is an all too familiar set of circumstances: a family torn apart