has been introduced. It‘s a
Scottish Ballet‘s Wildlife 1
There are not many venues which
actively promote dance and the ones
that do tend to be in Edinburgh or Glasgow. Now though. Paisley Arts
Centre is. in its own words. ‘putting the boot in' with Scotch l lop. a platform for new Scottiin dance. [I was with the appointment of Steve Slater that things got off the ground at Paisley and after a series of residencies with Scottish-based artists such as Randomoptic and X Factor. he is consolidating with Dance Break. ‘a sweeping celebration of the diversity of dance taking place in Scotland at the moment.‘
With his self-confessed ‘no nonsense approach'. Slater has assembled an intense week-long programme which starts with two films — the excellent Strictly Ballroom and the locally-produced Cuba — Tl!<’[.¢l.\'1[)(l)l('(’ — continues with Slides Dance. the Scottish ballet 2. Les Anges. and the Company of Angels. and highlights throughout the work of the talented dance photographer Steve Smart.
From England. Slater has invited the innovative and exemplary (jreen Candle Dance Company to carry out a residency in Renfrew District old people‘s homes as well as to perform a single evening's show in the
Centre. Founded by Fergus Early in
1984. Green Candle is practically the
only dance company to work principally with children or the elderly. In Cheating Fate. the
company tells of a person with the
power to change identity — to change . sex. race and age.
Similarly. identity is a concern for the Company of Angels (Angus Balbernie and Adele Levi) in There is Only One ofEverything. a StampingGround Dance Base
; Edinburgh commission. This work will draw from ‘the geography of E Scotland—islands and cities—stone
walls and solitude. city streets and crowds.‘ says Levi. "l‘he first part is being made in the capital and part two on an island. looking at the struggle and need to develop identity
‘ in both places.’
‘After that.’ adds Balbernie
enthisiastically. 'we‘ve been invited
to a prestigious festival in Montreal.‘ This is no-nonsense dance that‘s going places. ('l‘amsin (irainger) Score/1 Hop — Dance Break. l’aisley
Arts Centre. Paisley. Mon 8—5111 [3’
4;th List 29 January‘— 1 1 February 1993
I m I
New movers and shakers
Mark Fisher looks ahead
' to two months of
innovative dance and talks to programmer Nikki Milican.
It‘s a hard business staying ahead of the game. but that‘s the annual task that the CCA's Nikki Milican sets herself with the New Moves Across Europe Festival. Personal and idiosyncratic. her programme represents what she feels to be the most vigorous and fresh dance
currentlyemergingin Britain and on
Coming as she does from a background in performance art. Milican has little interest in classical or evencontemporarydance. prefering instead to seek out ‘somcthing that crosses over into new areas.‘ And her instincts have served her well. It's likely that the first place you came across Lloyd Newson. Wendy Houston or Wim V'andekeybus. to name but three. was the CCA (Third Eye Centre as was). and all before they came to be recognised as big names on the modern dance scene. ’Nobody had heard of Wim Vandekeybus when we first brought him over here.‘ she says. ‘now he‘s such an international hot ticket. I just pass him on my travels and say. hey. how’s it going. So there are certain things that we programme that others will be programming tomorrow. but that‘s
Maria Voortman's Under a Cloud not the reason for doing it. The ralsoll (l'eire is very different to other festivals.’
'l‘hat raison rl'elre is more to do with the encouragement of new work. giving choreographers a space to develop and the sort of conditions that are sympathetic to their ambitions. New Moves is no cultural shopping list. but a considered festival that aims to be both enlightening to audiences and supportive of dancers. 'l'hus it‘s possible for dance-goers to see a proven success such as Maria Voortm a n‘s l'et'erislz l’roeessimis. but then to follow through the next day with the same choreographers more recent L'mlera (loud. IVleanwhile. both Lloyd Newson and Wendy llouston are enjoying residencies at the Sauchiehall Street complex. working on pieces that in Ncwson's case will end up on a much bigger scale than the CCA could ever provide. and in Houston's case will eventually involve twenty female dancers on a tour of the country's nightclubs. ‘lt‘s very important that buildings like this are answerable to artists and their needs.‘ says Milican. ‘so when you have spaces. 1 don‘t want to just bring in hires and one-off touring shows: it‘s not very creative and other places are geared up to doing that. You go out and ask people what they need.‘
To unite the different aspects ofthe festival. a new strand of talks and showcases known as (iut Reactions
development of the Meet the Choreographer sessions of previous years and a chance to get a broader understanding of the work on show. ‘I do think there is a curiosity about how artists — particularly those audiences are getting to know like Lloyd and Wendy — get to making a new piece.‘ says Milican. "l‘here‘s no set rule. there‘s no blueprint. Each artist presenting a Gut Reactions evening will respond to it differently. Some will perform. some won‘t. Some will talk and show videos. Some will show bits of a piece up to where they‘ve got and then they'll stop it and ask the audience what
they think so far. This is the beginning of what is often quite a long journey.’
The festival this year divides into familiar names of British dance and unfamiliar foreign performers from as far afield as 'l’urkcy. Milican regrets that this country is being slow to produce a new wave to supersede Newson et al — though she acknowledges the proliferation of dance in Scotland during the six years of the festival‘s existence — and believes that the most exciting place for dance just now is Spain. ‘I think the Spanish companies sit head and shoulders above what the British companies were doing last year.‘ she says. ‘II was a warning note to me. New Moves started in order to offer a platform to the new young generation ofchoreographcrs. If they're not coming bouncing out at you. you‘ve got to develop the festival in a different way. So you look at your strengths and see how you can develop that and one of our strengths is how we can develop the process. More and more we’re bearing the bones of that. We don't just talk about it. we‘re actually doing it.‘
The day I create a perfect programme will be the day I retire.‘ she says as she waits anxiously to see how her latest trawl of the new. unexpected and surprising will be received. ‘but I am happy with the way the festival has developed over five years.‘
New Moves across Europe. Centre for ( 'omemporary A rls. Glasgow. Tue 2 Feb—Sal 2 7 Mar.
ama- Head hunting
‘I’ve always had strong ideas and they’ve lent themselves to rather a brutal style.’ says Mark Murphy, best known as a choreographer ot shocking physical teats and astonishing daring. ‘But Headshot,’ he says about his second lull-length piece, ‘is not all at
breakneck athletic speed, there’s more =
danciness in it— a sign that my
choreography is not just relying on making people jump out ottheirseats.’ V-Tol, Murphy’s company, takes its name from the aeronautical terminology for Vertical Take-oil and Landing. Maybe the exhilaration of llying machines inspires the dance style, but human relationships inspire
: the content.
‘Headshot is a love story where the
couple are persecuted by their love for each other and by three characters who have built up a barrierto protect themselves from any real emotion,’ says Murphy. ‘The pair are ostracised to begin with and then they’re killed — shot in the head in quite a realistic murder scene.’ With a non-linear narrative placing the story’s denouement quite early on and the rest of the action in flashback, there are parallels that can be drawn with film. Dressing the dancers as FBI agents with shades and matching suits, Murphy uses the tough-guy image as a metaphor for a shield against love, while underneath it all, volatile emotions are brewing up.
‘In the end, the three are just another side of anybody, a parody, an extreme side,’ he explains. ‘In contrast, lthink it’s betterto let things out, no matter what the consequences. My emotions are part of me and it I bottle them up I
V-Tol’s Headshot do a whole load of damage to myself i and others.’ So that‘s the psychological , theme which in this case Murphy ends on a fairy-tale note: ‘Love does win through in the end,’ he declares. (Tamsin Grainger)
HeadShot, Traverse Theatre, Sun 31