Dynamic Dance Company DV8, New Canadian Writing, and Pig Play: A Strategyfor Two Hams. LISTINGS: THEATRE 43 CABARET 47 DANCE 48
In the past DV8 have gained a reputation for producing hard-hitting realism which is currently making way for a more subtle approach. Jo Roe discusses the reasons for this with company founder Lloyd Newson.
Lloyd Newson of DV8 has been hailed as one of Britain‘s brightest choreographic talents. DV8 is often brandished in response to the repeated criticism that British dance lags way behind European. Like numerous French. Belgian and Dutch companies. DV8 produce works which draw in largely youthful crowds. who marvel at the physical and emotional bravery and appreciate the experimental use of music and design.
However. despite the high scores in the popularity stakes. Lloyd Newson is determined that DV8 will not simply repeat or rehash a proven formula. ‘I was very determined in this next piece that I wasn't going to do the things that we were renowned for; people cutting themselves open and revealing their innermost secrets to the world. or throwing themselves violently off 20ft heights. I could keep going with the same formula because I know people like certain things. but actually it isn‘t that simple. I felt I didn‘t have the personal resources to continue.‘
Where narrative approach is concerned Newson strides out virtually on his own. His work is. by his own admission. intensely and often painfully personal. ‘That makes it a little difficult for the people who have to work with us. Even though ideas are shared through improvisation and discussion. the actual journey and where the company is at. is where I‘m at in my life.‘
Newson‘s most recentwork. lfOnIy. . . isa personal response to the violence and aggression in Dead Dreams Of Monochrome Men. performed in Glasgow in 1988. ‘Dead Dreams left us feeling very still and not wanting to move on. It didn‘t really generate our hope at all. Even though it was probably one of the most worthwhile experiences of my life. I didn‘t actually enjoy it.‘ Indeed one of the dancers from Dead Dreams felt he could not go through the same exhausting process again and stepped out of the present project. ‘That combined with the fact that a couple of people I knew committed suicide
and another very close friend discovered he had AIDS made me think I do have a choice. You can still say the world is lonely. but maybe there is another way of looking at it that generates more energy and more positivism. so that one can say the same things but in a less obvious and browbeating manner.‘
Dead Dreams was made into a film for The South Bank Show. Two months after the shoot. the four male dancers had to throw themselves around a studio mirroring the pictures on a screen to make the sound track. ‘I thought. I‘ll never do this again. I felt as iflwas inﬂicting pain upon myself almost as redemption for something. I want to be kinder to myself and the people I work with.‘
So the work has changed a little in direction. Where in the past people have talked about the hard-hitting realism of DV8. we might now expect the subject matter to be softened by a new dance language. ‘I used to use humour in my early pieces and then it started to fall off. Now it has come back a bit. It‘s just trying to find a different way of saying some ofthe things I have said in the past and I think as a result I‘ve used a few fantasy images in the piece.‘
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Whatever direction his work takes. it is fairly certain that Newson will always hang on to some kind ofemotional narrative. ‘I want people to identify with it. Iwant them to be able to feel and respond. lfI don‘t create a story line or emotional line then people are going to feel removed and ostracised. I‘ve spent a lot of time watching dance performances thinking why the hell are they doing this? Ifyou do a high-leg kick you have to show something about what it means. What is the power of a high leg kick. what are the implications of it. what does an arabesque mean? I feel that most choreographers don‘t even question why they use an arabesque. 'l'hey just use it. What the fuck does it meant"
Although people may he clamouring for more angst. Newson will valiantly steer his own course. ‘Ifyou start taking a couple of big strides everyone assumes the next one is going to be just as big or it‘s going to he on exactly the same path. But not every step you take forward is going to be the same distance. Sometimes you stumble. sometimes you make quantative leaps.‘
DV8 perform a! (he '/ runmuy. (i/usgow. 17-21
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