Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 13 & Sat 14


The funding crisis facing Scotland’s theatrical communities may be dominating the press of late, but what of the other artforms staring down into an even emptier begging bowl? Dance in Scotland has been underfunded and underpromoted for years - granted it has a smaller audience than live music and theatre, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the correlation. Thankfully, what the dance world lacks in cash it more than makes up for in dedication - something the Curve Foundation has in spades. After a long absence, the company are back for a two-night stand at the Traverse, in which five dancers will perform three works with one very small payout from the Scottish Arts Council. But when choreographer and company founder, Ross Cooper phoned his dancers with the proposition of work, their response wasn’t ‘how much?’ but ‘when do we start?’.

Which is just as well. ‘Only one of the pieces is funded by the SAC - the new collaboration with Henri Oguike,’ explains

Cooper of the triple-bill. ‘The rest is

supported by the dancers own interest in the

work.’ And we’re not talking recent

graduates, grateful to dip their toes in professional waters either. Cooper can count former soloists from Peter Schaufuss Ballet,

the Royal Ballet of Flanders and Scottish Ballet amongst his crew, all of whom bring

hard-won technical virtuosity to the work. ‘All the dancers have been through the ballet thing and come out the other side,’ says Cooper. ‘They’ve all done a lot, and it’s quite refreshing for me to have that calibre of dancer still wanting to dance for free, just for the work.’ The company’s classical/contemporary crossover lends itself perfectly to the work of Portuguese choreographer, Rui Graca, whose 2000 creation First Draft is back for another airing, albeit with a different dynamic (and this time, Bach’s glorious score benefits from a live cellist). He’s joined by the aforementioned



Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Mon 16 Dec

Men. of c0urse. have a yiSual sexuality. Or so we're told. Whereas women are turned on. not by the simple facile Criteria of conventional good looks. but by Subtler. more intelligent things. Which goes no way at all to explaining why the Chit.)peridales are by far the most popular strip act in the world. So too. when w men go to these toned up hunks get their kit off to choreographed dance routines. we're told they do it 'just for a laugh“. That is. they use the same excuse as men used to.

It still defeats me that women who ‘lock in vast numbers to this kind of event are so embarrassed by the idea that they're attending a pure erotic entertainment. Men l‘ét‘.’(3 moved on. but women are st'll. as it ‘.'.’()r(). buying Playboy ‘just for the articles.

So there is a kll‘tl of unackiio‘.'/ledged equality of the sexes. though. Judging by the rtuiiibers. '~.'/cmen are far tonder of str'p t tan men. And fair enough. for it is a very old and riztfrcult-to—master art form. This was an assuraitce given to me the other day by a frlend of mine. the proud mother of. by all accounts. a very skilled lapdaneer: it was nzce to

70 THE LIST "/ Der; PCT/2 LAMP/1'.

Money can’t buy you dance

new piece by Time Out-award winner Oguike, and a Jimi Hendrix-set dance by Cooper himself. ‘lt’s good, bare bones work,’ says Cooper modestly. ‘We can’t hide behind Versace costumes or a famous lighting designer - it’s all about the dancing. In the last 13 years of my career, Rui’s probably the best choreographer I’ve ever seen. And these are very versatile dancers - it doesn’t matter if a choreographer wants them to do a Michael Jackson moonwalk or a million tendues in first position, they can do it - and I hope that comes across in the performance.’ (Kelly Apter)

The Chippendales show us their wood’n’furniture

hear such an attitude and perhaps I marked a change ll‘. our ctiiture.

But for all the equality. there are differences betxi'reen male and temae

strip. \fy/hen men strip. as you may haye

seen from TV coyerage of the Chippendales. it does get a bit slea/y. wth the guys being groped. pinched and pulled about in a lllétllllO" that certainly wouidn't be encourager in a lapdancing establishnitn‘t. Whereas men can have good sexy tun. women get a fear drinks on board and it all gets

a bit icky. with ugly obect f'catio ‘. and demeai‘ing power structures coming to the fore.

I'm not sure if tnose excuses such as ‘girls w:ll be girls' can really wash any more. but there you go. Anyway. the boys are back. (tl‘tl 'the show has been emotlonally inanipuiated {t'ltl purposely directed with ()l‘(} s rigular goa the tota? worship of \.'.roii‘.ei‘.'. rt says nere.} all strip. it stiil feels a bit iike getting all dresser) up with no place o go to me

but eniog. iSteye (,Iraiitei'


Stage Whispers

Re: Treadi'ng the boards

Do you remember your high school maths teachers? Whispers was not gafted in the subject and occasionally showed his boredom. which landed him on the wrong end o‘ the corporal punishment stil. meted out in those days it the Australian state school system. But they were OK, really. and could often be respe :ted as rugby coaches. Their bg weak point. though. was the arts. The kind of attitudes that led Robbie Foy'rler to conclude that Graham :0 Saux was gay because he read The Guardian and attended art galLeries was not uncommon among them.

This sit the Sill‘.j)i(3 biographical speculation that .t seems. l’or .n a roundabout way. there's a link between the departure of Hamish Gen. artistic director of Dundee Rep. citinr the parsiihoncus funding of Scottish theatre as the reason for his departure. and the farst minister and former maths teacher. Jack McConnell. Issues such as arts funding. ndeed all ‘orms of fundihg. are may more conipiex than any ‘ndiyrdua. leader. but you can't help but see a pattern ot’ .ncreasihg inditference from the top in Scotiand to the fact that our theatres are clearly under threat.

Under the late Donald Dena'ar. a man clearly interested tn the arts. there seemed to be a genuine impetus for change. while Henry Mcl eish seemed at least to {1(3Kl‘.()‘.'.’l(3(i§)(} there ‘.'.'ere problems. But the current atlm.nistration's att:t.ide might easily be iiiistakei‘. for complete- ignorance. Though there are honourable exceptions. too often iocal councillors left in 3 large of the arts po tloio seem to be marking tine whs e wait ng for promotion, a situation that seems tr) apply to Mike \‘y’atscn himself at times. \."i.’e can't expect peope t'" the amp tion for the arts of Jenny Lee to

()LCUY (3‘.’(:", °.."‘.(*:. DJ. :0

made by the Scottish parlia'nei‘t to the theatre. by (I()”‘._{)£t"lf$()" to virtually all o‘ ts European

neighbours. i.'.ro..ld be a start.

recognise the patty cc'tt'butio".