‘Ifl said we were a song and dance act you’d think we were something escaped from the West End.‘ says Philip Chambon, spokesman for La Bouche. ‘We do sing, but it’s more sound than song and we do dance but ’ it’s not commercial. We perform
what we call ‘electric voice dance‘. It’s very 1986 and certainly not middle-of-the-road.‘
The pedigree of the co-founders certainly seems to confirm this claim. Philip and Andy (Arthurs) go back together to college days (song-writing/producing for groups I like ‘The Stranglers‘ and ‘999‘) and I to the international course for j composers/choreographers held annually at Surrey University. There, young talent mixes with the best ofboth worlds — John Cage and Merce Cunningham being starry examples. Exposure to dance led to a collaboration with Lloyd Newson (who has recently choreographed videos for Bronski beat and Fergal Sharkey) which in turn inspired the birth of La Bouche.
La Bouche is young, only two years old. It is for the young, appealing to those brought up on a diet of pop videos. Testimony to that, they have been described as ‘live video’ and Chambon is keen (as soon as they have the funds) to add silver screens to their set in the future. At present. their stage image is closer to that of a rock band than a dance group with both musicians on view with Emulator II, the magical machine which records sound exactly as it is with no synthesis. three dancers and
the clutter ofcables and mikes so much a part ofa live rock concert.
All music comes from the mouth, hence the name. Dancers, musicians and machine all ‘vocalise‘ and the movement joins in. Peter Purdy and Ashley Page (principal dancer with the Royal Ballet) have taken a hand in the choreography and have, with Lloyd Newson created dance of a fast-moving style. Ifyou missed them on the Wogan Show, see them at the Fringe. (Alice Bain) Amusing Ourselves to Death, La Bouche, Elephant Tent (venue 16), The Hole in the Ground, Castle Terrace. 18—23 . Aug, 4.30—5.45pm. £3.50 (£3). [F]
Seven young dancers are ‘escaping‘ from the London Contemporary Dance School to the Fringe this summer. It‘s par for the course these days to see graduates set up on their own. Jobs in established companies are hard to come by. besides which there is a strong desire to choreograph and experiment straight off, without climbing company ladders.
Having spent three years under strict instruction. Close'to Bone are ready to do it their own way. ‘We didn’t want to take a name that was too dance orientated,‘ says Hazel Carrie, so they hit on one that did not so much describe their medium as their own feelings for dance. Perhaps it also says somethig about their experience training at a Graham-technique based college. Graham is tough. Though sophisticated, its movement is based on the wilder side of life — the wolf rather than the swan. It’s strong, angular patterns push against outer veneers, going straight to the bone.
With three Norwegians, one South African, one Caribbean, one ' Londoner and a lone Scot making up the group, the blend ofblonde and black, culture and colour sounds , striking. The dancers will be joined by a live singer wit her own ‘sound ' compositions‘ while classical and congo drums will also have their
moments. While still at clle e Close to Bone were priVileged to ave a
piece specially choreographed for them by Robert North, ex-director !
Ballet Rambert, which they will be performing in Edinburgh. Young companies need support and | comment. This one seems to have a I good deal to offer. (Alice Bain) Live Dance, Close to Bone, Chaplaincy " i Centre, Bristo Square (venue 23) l 11—16Aug, 2.30—3.30pm. £3 (£2.50).
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, ,l ; SCOTLAND’S NEW WAVE
Scotland is not an easy place to contemplate a career in .- contemporary dance. Scottish Ballet have carved a comfortable niche in the theatregoers calendar but contemporary dance has been a poor ' relation in more ways than one. However. in the wake ofa major company and dance centre folding, there are strong indications that foundations are being rebuilt. The new post of Dance Officer, long empty, has now been filled, youth groups are training with resident professional dancers and new companies are springing up, ready to take on the challenge of awakening the imagination ofa fairly conservative audience. Long mayit connnuc.
One such company with a good chance of success and a reputation for polish already, is Scottish Dance Theatre, first seen last year at the » Tron to critical acclaim.
With a heavily ballet-based background, the dancers are physically equipped to tackle the demanding choreography created by Peter Royston, ex-dancer and 1 choreographer with Scottish Ballet. : Elegance and strength is laced with a 5 strong element of theatricality, hinting at Pina Bausch, ofwhose work Royston is an admirer. Scottish Dance‘s drama is clear in its message, whether bleak or I humorous and not lacking in ; imaginative tWists— as in ) Steps To . . .? While the female i dancers move seductively on stage i
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like a modern version of the three graces, the male character, casually dressed, climbs up from the audience ; and peels off most of his clothes. ‘ Even though you know he must be a dancer there is that awkward feeling that his appearance might just be a mistake.
Scotland’s new dance is represented by several other companies. Catalyst, you may i remember from their sell-out show oflast year, Chroma-zone. Using : ultra-violet light. body paint. l original music (made from a collage ofsounds, bird-calls to dripping taps) and movement which looks in the direction ofJapan and Buto, their performances are always arresting, a visual feast.
Axis, another young Edinburgh company will be performing Trigon, their show capturing the elements in dance and Area One, a company from St Andrews which has been to the Fringe four times already, proof positive that contemporary dance is not confined to the capital and its rival, Glasgow. (Alice Bain) Scottish Dance Theatre, Lyceum Studio, Cambridge Street (venue 35 ) 229 9699. l4—30Aug (not Mon 18) 4.30pm. £3 (£2.50);
Catalyst, Mandela Theatre, Gateway Exchange, 2-4Abbeymount, 661 0982 (venue 79) 11-16 Aug, 6. 45pm, £3 (£1.50); Axis, Mandela Theatre. Gateway Exchange, 2—4 Abbeymount (as above). 18—23 A ug, 6.30pm, £2.50 (£2); Area One, , Chaplaincy Centre, Bristo Square (venue23)18—22 Aug, 4.30pm. £2 (£1.50) Also 18Aug, 8.30pm. [F]
The List 8— 21 August 5