DANCE Dundee Millennium Festival Of Dance
Dundee Rep, Fri 22—Sat 30 Sep, then touring.
Perth may be the heart of Scotland, but its neighbouring city will become the heart of the dance world later this month. Dundee's Millennium Festival of Dance is six years old and there's not a whiff of precociousness about it. Organised by Scottish Dance Theatre's Artistic Director Janet Smith, the festival draws together a programme of workshops, films and community shows, as well as performances by three of the most exciting dance companies currently working in Britain.
Taking place in Scottish Dance Theatre’s home at the Dundee Rep, it's only fitting that they start proceedings. Smith has called upon the choreographic talents of San Franciscan Janice Garrett and Israeli Yael Flexer to create two new works which will enter the company’s repertoire. ’They each have something very particular to offer the dancers,’ explains Smith. ’Janice's work is very sharp and has a lot of attack, which isn't necessarily a very British way of working. Whereas Yael improvises contact between the dancers, which is something they’re very interested in.’ The resulting pieces, Plunge and Undone should further label SDT as a company to be reckoned with.
The following week, Yolande Snaith Theatredance pitch up with their new show, The Thing That Changes From This Into That. Aimed at children over five - though likely to appeal equally to accompanying adults - the piece was inspired by fairytales, myths and the surrealism of painter Rene Magritte. ’We wanted to do something that was true to the ambiguous style of my work, but still make it accessible for children,’ Snaith explains. Based around a rather dotty character called Olga, whose wardrobe unleashes a series of increasingly bizarre characters, the show features those recognisable Magritte images of bowler hatted men and giant combs. 'Dance to me isn't just about putting steps to
Not skirting the issues: SDT
music, it's very physical with lots of interaction between dancer, props and set,’ says Snaith. ‘There is dialogue but it’s like Alice In Wonderland, lots of rhymes, riddles and nonsense.’
The Festival closes with the internationally acclaimed Zbang Dance Company who perform their new work LureLureLure. Created by Israeli choreographer Jasmine Vardimon, the story centres on a family camping trip. But unlike your average dance piece, the audience choose the final outcome. 'l choreographed two endings, one happy, one sad,’ explains Vardimon. ’Normally most people vote for the happy one, but we performed four nights in Germany and had two of each. One woman came to the first and second nights only to see the happy end both times. But she persevered and finally on the third night, people voted for the sad!’ (Kelly Apter)
l Scottish Dance Theatre perform at Dundee Rep 22—23 Sep, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh 30 Sep and Gi/morehi/lG 72, G/asgow 77—7 8 Nov. Yolande Snaith perform at Dundee Rep 27 Sep and Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh 78 Oct. Zbang Dance Company perform at Dundee Rep 29—30 Sep.
Ani Tchakmakdjian demonstrates bass motives
was stonking, it was a lovely surprise,’ says Tchakmakdiian.
HaVing trained at Rambert Arts Educational, Tchakmakdiian did a range of commercial and community work before deciding to form Elbow Room to ’explore my own creatiVity’. Essentially a one~woman outfit, the company Will expand and contract to fit various protects. But despite being the only dancer in Metchen, Tchakmakdiian sees the piece as a duet, With Watson JOlnlng her on stage for the entire 40 minutes.
’The collaborative element of the
Elbow Room Dance Company
Glasgow: Paisley Arts Centre, Fri 22 Sep, then touring.
Music and dance have always been happy bedfellows But Aberdeen- based choreographer Ani Tchakmakdiian has taken that symbiotic relationship to a whole new evel. Holed up in the Lemon Tree studio with musician Kitty Watson, she soon discovered that the only other thing in the room was a VlOllﬂ. 'It was all very organic,’ explains
58 THE lIST 21 See—S Oct 200C
Tchakmakdiian. ’We started playing in the studio and deCided the fiddle was the focus. And we found so much material was being flung at us — it Just seemed to come out of nowhere.’ HaVing discovered the striking resemblance between a Violin and the female form, Tchakmakdiian was keen to explore the proiect further. The Lemon Tree seCured funding and eventually Metchen was born. Translated from Armenian to mean ‘from Within’, the dance premiered in Aberdeen last year to a reception so good, it prompted the company to t0ur. ’The response from the audience
work was very integral,’ explains Tchakmakdiian. ’And haVing Kitty live on stage adds a rawness and spontaneity to the whole thing' The live fiddle is complemented by a pre- recorded computer generated score, but the physical onus lies solely on Tchakmakdiian. ’The piece draws on every ounce of classical technique I've got,’ she says. 'It b0unces me from one extreme to another. One minute I’m really extended and taut en pOinte shoe and the next minute I'm crushed on the floor. So it’s constantly challenging, but very exciting.'
MODERN CLASSIC Blithe Spirit
Glasgow: Citizens’ Theatre, Fri 22 Sep—Sat 14 Oct.
Okay, we’ve all been there, so let’s admit it. There was that partner who you separated from for all the right reasons. After all, you didn’t really qune click, and although you had a good deal of fun, it Just wasn’t right. But then, after the separation, there came that time where you saW them With someone else for the first time. Wasn't there Just a smidgen of Jealousy? Didn’t yOU, if only for a second, want them back? Don’t feel bad, like I said, we’ve all been there.
This is the dilemma facing EIVira, on seeing her former husband Charles With his new Wife Ruth, only she really Will stop at nothing to get him back. And she has the added disadvantage of being a ghost. Noel Coward’s ClaSSIC comedy moves from the acodental raismg of a shade by the eccentric medium, Madam Arcati through a succession of farCicaI acts of verbal and physical Violence, made more funny by the fact that they’re based on very plauSible, and qune painful, emotions.
Gerrard McArthur, Who'll be playing Charies, the role assumed by Rex Harrison in the splendid film of the play, admits to earlier experience of the text. ’It was When I was at school, he says, 'I played Madam Arcarti.’ Rueful isn’t the word, but at least it was a role for which we'll all remember Margaret Rutherford.
McArthur needn’t really emphaSise the hilarity created by Coward’s Wit. In terms of sheer good fun, there's nothing to equal this in his oeuvre, but McArthur is also keen to pomt out the sheer SOphistication of the play‘s verbal dexterity: ’There’s a real rhetorical power to Coward, and this play in particular is also about real emotions, however you chose to play them.’ With a cast that also includes Sophie Ward, Andrea Hart and Ellen Sheean, one can expect Philip Prowse’s production to bring out these passions and Jealou5ies.
So go along to the Citz for a good night out, but if yOu see yOur ex there, fOr God's sake try to keep it light. (Steve Cramer)
Ex Madam Arcati: Gerrard McArthur