narra— Move on up
Mark Fisher talks to programmer Nikki Milican as New Moves goesindependentand city-wide, while below, Tamsin Grainger looks forward to Laurie Booth and untried Portugese delights.
When Nikki Milican was effectively forced front her post as performance director at Glasgow‘s CCA. she determined to stay in the city and try to do independently what she‘d been paid to do in Sauchiehall Street. Teaming up with administrator Jill Scott. she held onto the New Moves label that she'd previously used solely for her dance festivals and set up a new company to promote the work of performance artists. Ironically. the first fruit ofthe company was seen not in Scotland. but in London. where the [CA snatched the National Review of Live Art out of its assumed home in Glasgow late last
year. So in Scotland. New Moves continues as it started with dance — the new. the innovative. the very unclassical. but more than likely the names that you'll be dropping at trendy parties in a few years‘ time.
This year‘s festival. which runs well into March. falls into four clear segments. The first two are the seasons of foreign dance: Milican's hunch is
raw talent just now (its capital is also the current European City of Culture). while Quebec is busy producing the
Belgium’s Les Ballet brings Boniour Madame to New Moves in March
successors to'Carbone 14. La La La Human Steps. 0 Vertigo. er (1/. On top of that are a couple of programmes of special commissions. including work from Scotland's Man'sa Zanotti and Rosina Bonsu. and further performances by young choreographers. Finally. there is a particularly substantial education
package. giving young people in
that Portugal is a hot-bed ofbur'geoning g
l)rumchapel and elsewhere in
Strathclyde a chance to work with some
of the world‘s most freethinking
‘1 really do feel it‘s important that New Moves continues to be based in Scotland and particularly Glasgow.‘ says Milican. ‘New Moves is considered to be a serious festival now. it‘s established itself. it has a strong reputation and it continues to move forward. We are still sticking with our push to develop the younger generation of work.‘
The problem with this policy. of course. is that by its nature there are no big names to help shift tickets. Once the season has kicked off with Laurie Booth (see below) and before it rounds off with Maria Voortman. it's up to the audience to take risks and trust in Milican‘sjudgement. ‘Portugal is the real nitty-gritty of our programme and it’s young unknowns.‘ admits Milican. That of course was once true of every hot-ticket on the dance circuit. and the 98 per cent houses of last year's event seem to suggest there is a demand for experimentation. a level of curiosity and an eagerness for the new that will sustain New Moves as it spreads to the very different spaces of the Tron and Tramway. ‘Every year has thrown up stars.’ boasts Milican. ‘every year has thrown up names that became everybody‘s favourites. i wonder who it will be this year. . .'
New Moves. 'l'mn and Tramway. Glasgow. Fri 28 Jun—Sat 19 Mar.
Vera Mantero appears in the second programme of Portugese dance
Francisco Camacho heads the first programme of Portuguese contemporary dance choreographers
in the New Moves festival with liossa Senhora das Flores (Our Lady of the
Flowers, an incarnation of the Virgin Mary). A dancer with the Alain Platel company which performs later, Camacho is also a choreographer in his own right, Investigating issues of sexual ambiguity and Catholicism in his improvised solo.
Camacho started his career by chance - looking for a sport, he cane across dance, which was pretty unusual for a fifteen-year-old Portuguese boy. ‘At seventeen l was invited to join Ballet Culbenkian [internationally the best known Portuguese companyl,’ Camacho explains. ‘The problem was that I was fired because I was very short and didn’t fit the company, so I decided to
. go to flew York to find out if I really
wanted to dance.’
Like many other budding dancers, Camacho’s intention was to study at the famous Merce Cuningham Studios, but other workshops and an acting course at the Strasbourg Theatre Institute really fired his imagination.
54 The List 28 January— I 0 February I994
He won’t name any one mentor or influence, explaining that watching everybody making work helped him to
find his way. Camacho is obviously a
rising star for he was recently commissioned by several European theatre institutes to produce a group
‘ work which will be premiered in November in Lisbon.
Performed with eyes closed to both
sacred and profane Spanish Medieval
music, llossa Senhora das Flores is danced in clothes of both sexes and has been described as a ‘transvestite
piece’, according to Camacho. ‘For me it’s not exactly right but I will leave it like that now,’ he says. ‘lt’s a piece I
don’t like to talk about much - I
haven’t even written any text for it.’ Camacho did admit though, that like the solo he performed to acclaim at
the 1993 New Moves, there is a sense
of character which comes from inside himself. He also uses grapes as props and makes sounds - not singing - but
that’s all we’ll discover until the night.
. Portuguese Choreographers : Programme 1, Tron Theatre, Tue1 and Wed 2 Feb.
I ‘Biver nun/A Lone is not a new piece.
g It’s a personal homage to James Joyce as the founding father of free
? association improvisation.’ You could
say that Laurie Booth, who choreographed and dances River Run, A Lone, is himself a founding father of contact improvisation and martial art- style dance for this generation of European dancers. Certainly his training workshops and performances
5 of Brazilian capoelra has resulted in a : new energetic and vigorous dance
. style produced by young
, choreographers such as Wim
River Run was made for the whole of
Booth’s company as a collaboration with the Turner Prize-winning sculptor Anish Kapoor, and Berlin-based sound
artist Hans Peter Kuhn as composer. Kuhn has utilised Joyce’s text — ‘liiver ﬂun’ are the first words of Finnegan’s Wake - as the starting point for a
2 soundtrack which draws on a number
of influences. ‘You wouldn’t even know it was Finnegan’s Wake unless
you happened to be a Joyce scholar,’
Booth laughs. ‘There are elements of
f the text but there is no connection, for
example, between the Himalayan
: mountains and Joyce’s book.’
Working for the first time in dance, Kapoor has created the Himalayon
stage using photocopied blow-ups of ‘ contour maps of the mountains. Each
100ft contour was then cut out to
provide five exact scale reproductions of the mountains as an environment for the improvisational composition.
River Run was orginally a five-dancer
show but after touring throughout Britain two members dropped out ; through illness and injury so Booth 2 attempted filver lion alone, and the
laurle Booth solo which open llew Moves 1994 was born. There are only three mountains for Booth to dance with, but the other
elements, such as music and costume, j
‘I can’t say what the dance is about, apart from the body,’ Booth says. ‘It has it’s own internal dynamic because what interests me is that the human body is really quite limited. It’s always a challenge to present the body over and over again as if you see it anew for the first time when we’re all so deeply familiar with it.’ Capoeira and contact improvisation are all part of the vocabulary Booth has worked with over the years. flow he is mainly concerned with developing his own dance language.
Booth’s dance has been described as a slightly off-balance, athletic, and ‘in-your-face’ kind of movement which has a sense of humour. All Booth really
do.’ (Tamsin Grainger) River Bun/A Lone, Tron Theatre, Fri 28 and Sat 29 Jan.
wanted to say was: ‘It feels great to