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Scottish Ballet: Aladdin

The worlds of ballet and contemporary dance are often at odds with each other. Hardcore ballet fans can find modern dance too abstract, while over in the other camp, the restrictions imposed by ballet prove too stifling. The good news for both sets is that Robert Cohan is back in the Scottish Ballet stable. The New Yorker co—founded Contemporary Dance Theatre 30 years ago, and has played a huge part in the genre's development ever since. But he’s also more than willing to turn his hand to ballet, choreographing A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Scottish Ballet in 1993 and returning three years later with The Four Seasons.

’I love ballet when it’s well done, like everybody does,’ says Cohan. ’Bcit I preferred to have the freedom of contemporary dance when l was doing my own work with LCDT, because there are no rules, it’s totally free.’

Anyone who’s ever taken a ballet class will know that rules are its cornerstone, and those schooled in it can become very set in their ways. So when Cohan arrived at Scottish Ballet with his melting pot of ballet and contemporary, not everyone took to it instantly. ’When you come into a classical company, it breaks down very rapidly into people who can do what you’re suggesting and those who find it difficult,’ Cohan explains. ’But they may still like it, and are amenable to change.’

The show could also open a few unsuspecting eyes in the audience. ’I think people will accept contemporary once they’re sitting in their seats, if it’s accessible,’ he says. ’Ancl the music is definitely accessible. I chose Carl Davis because he writes very tuneful music, and there are great tunes all the way through A/add/n if they


A lad in Aladdin

had lyrics we'd have some hits!’

The Cohan/Davis partnership has worked like a dream. Both choreographer and composer hail from Brooklyn, allowing them ’a kind of shorthand that you only get when you’ve experienced a similar teenage background’. Davis too is used to switching between genres, enjoying award-winning success in the fields of TV, film, dance and orchestral composition. Add to that the set design, costume and magic talents of West End supremos Lez Brotherston, Colin Falconer and Paul Kieve and the magic carpet’s almost ready to take flight.

But there’s a lot riding on it. Aladdin was originally scheduled for Christmas 1997, when former Scottish Ballet chief Galina Samsova first approached Cohan with the idea. Four years and numerous financial wranglings later, the show is finally ready, and hopes couldn’t be higher. ’There’s so much expectancy surrounding Aladdin,’ admits Cohan. ’But the whole company are very positive about it. The one thing I don’t want to do is bankrupt Scottish Ballet enough other people have tried that!’ (Kelly Apter)

Callum Robertson and Anita Vittesse get political

POllTlCétt THEATRE The News At When . . . ?

Stage whispers

Re: Treadi'ng the boards

WEBSURF lNCi IS Bf t OMthi an increasingly rewarding business lor theatregoeis these clays last uec k whispers attended .r lilr"‘i|litl at the Tray, where planning lor a net: website is well tlli(li‘l\‘.‘.l\,'. lunclecl by the SAC this Hi‘\.'. tersiori of the facility will be geared to ii(lli'ccii|ciii, providing both .H'( lllV.ll and contemporary material of both .i text—based and visual nature But it’s not just for Highers and tertiary students. You'll be able to drop in Wlioey'er you ire and check out what could Well include Vidi o material and information about several great shows fiorii the Traverse’s (]li)llt>ll‘. past productions and promising present plans. Meanwhile, you can still get lic keia and information from the current Traverse website at wwwtr'aVer'secoulc

DUNDEE'S GROVVINC; REPUTAHOH in the arts has r'eceiVed yet another boost with the news that the Space, the city’s planned purposcebuilt dance, performance and conference venue, is scheduled to open by October 2001. Based at Dundee College’s Kingsway campus, the venue will be not only a teaching arena, but also a venue for small— scale professional companies.

Bondagers, a classic Tr'aVerse production soon available on a new net archive