DANCE | Previews I



: O T O H P

92 THE LIST 23 Jan–20 Feb 2014

SHOWCASE BRITISH DANCE EDITION King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 30 Jan–Sun 2 Feb

In most industries, conferences and events come and go without outsiders knowing anything about it. But the dance world likes to do things a little differently. When British Dance Edition (BDE), the biennial showcase of UK dance, comes to Scotland for the first time, members of the public can share the joy. During one long weekend, BDE will welcome dance

professionals from home and abroad to soak up the work of over 80 dance artists and practitioners. The delegates’ aim will be to find shows for their venues, make contacts and do business. But when they sit down to watch the evening performances, the rest of us can come along. A very special line-up, featuring Akram Khan Company, Hofesh Shechter Company, Scottish Dance Theatre and Avant Garde Dance will occupy the King’s Theatre for three nights. Artistic director of Dance Base and BDE co-curator Morag

Deyes explains why those companies in particular were chosen for such a prestigious event. ‘Because they’re gigantic,’ she says, ‘and we know that the public will be desperate to see them, so we won’t have to do much work in terms of explaining why they want to see them. These are all big names, they need a big space, and they need a big audience.’

According to Deyes, Hofesh has ‘broken the mould completely’, and the double-bill from Scottish Dance Theatre and Avant Garde is ‘unexpected you never know what’s going to come next’. As for Akram Khan’s company, Deyes doesn’t hold back on her praise. ‘The lighting, the theatricality, the staging of it are all absolutely amazing,’ she says. ‘The company that he has put together is extraordinary and the design element is fantastic.’ All those who have seen Khan’s work before will know there’s no hyperbole in that statement. (Kelly Apter)


Looking back at paintings, writing or music from the past is made easy by the multitude of archives in the world. But how do you capture, and store, the more ephemeral art of dance, and the processes that went into its creation? One of the few digital dance archives in existence documents the work of contemporary dance guru Siobhan Davies. But putting the archive together flagged up what was missing: the movement. ‘We put in lots of objects: programmes, films, photographs,’ says Davies. ‘But in a way,

celebrating those objects is unhelpful because it was all the things that moved that were actually what the performance was about.’ A desire to explore and remember works gone by led Davies and five fellow dance artists to create Table of Contents A Live Installation: Memory and Presence. ‘I don’t think Table of Contents is a solution, but a way of bringing things up in our consciousness as performers, and involving the audience.’

Each performer uses their own personal history of dance and choreography to question how dance is archived. The piece is set in a gallery rather than a theatre, to challenge what dance is and how we access it. Running for seven hours, the installation also involves the audience, leading to different output each day. ‘Every 20 minutes or so we sit down at a table, and ask members of the audience to join us. Then we plan the next 30 minutes, giving us an opportunity to collect ourselves, and the audience a chance to access what’s going on.’ (Kelly Apte r)


There’s something about watching an underdog learn and grow that brings out the best in all of us. Year after year, the line-up on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing features a healthy mix of professional dancers, celebrities with aptitude and a few comedy turns with no hope of making it within sniffing distance of the final. It’s the latter category that the show does so well. Unlike its Saturday night contemporary, The X Factor, where less able contestants send mental health alarm bells ringing, Strictly’s ‘losers’ are winners in their own right, picking up a new skill, getting fitter and dancing into the public’s heart. Waterloo Road star Mark Benton was one such case in the recent series. So it’s great to see

that alongside more proficient celebrity contestants (Abbey Clancy, Natalie Gumede), Benton will be joining the show’s upcoming live tour. Best known for his off-kilter moves to MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’, Benton will be reprising the routine on stage. ‘So many people come up to me and say they loved it, that it would be rude not to do it,’ he says. ‘But we’d love to put more content into the dance on the live show.’ Benton lost three stone working on Strictly, but gained himself many fans. He’ll be looking to

them at the SSE Hydro, where audiences can vote for their favourites via mobile phones. ‘I’m looking forward to Glasgow,’ he says. ‘We film Waterloo Road there and it’s a great city. My mum’s from Ayrshire, so I have strong ties to Scotland. It'll be thrilling to be back.’ (Kelly Apter)