Monthly Archives: October 2017

In conversation with Ivan Putrov, the Man in Motion

We spoke to international Ballet superstar Ivan Putrov about Men in Motion, his latest production exploring the changing role of the male dancer. Ivan tells us all about the challenges of producing and performing and gives us an insight into what we can expect.

Tell us a bit about Men in Motion and how it began?

Men in Motion began as an idea to showcase the development of the man in dance over the last century up to the present day and as part of that to work with some of truly best dancers of today, an equivalent of 3 tenors in opera if you like.

With full backing of this idea from Alistair Spalding, the Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells, Men in Motion started dancing for the first time in January 2012.

The evening programme features classical ballet works such as Fokine’s Le Spectre de las Rose alongside contemporary work by Russell Maliphant and Arthur Pita, how did you decide which pieces to include in the programme?

I am looking for balance in showing the retrospective of the man’s development in dance. As Artistic Director of the project, I am excited about using great pieces of the choreography from the past and finding them the perfect match of a dancer (or the other way around sometimes as dancers ask to perform rare pieces) but also to commission new works and be inside (as a spectator) of the creative process.. It’s like a dream of a fan living out his fantasy. How do I choose? I rely on my inner fan instincts.

How did you decide which dancers to approach to be part of Men in Motion?

Keeping the idea of the best male dancers I have been honoured by those who have participated: Daniel Proietto, Edward Watson, Vadim Muntagirov, Sergei Polunin, Matthew Ball, Marian Walter, Igor Kolb, Andrei Merkuriev, Marijn Rademaker, Timofej Andrijashenko.. Many return to dance with Men in Motion again and some new dancers join – Mathieu Ganio Etoile of the Paris Opera Ballet will join this November, previously the schedules never worked out but the stars are in the right place this time.

Being a fan of dance myself I want to show in London (and see myself) the best there is in the world and this time it’s an outstanding line up from the greatest dance theatres from Paris, Berlin, Milan, Oslo, Amsterdam to London.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced being both the producer and a performer in Men in Motion?

I enjoy challenges! Well not always, but once they are in the past and you achieve what was planned – there is a sensation similar to when you dance on stage. You spend hours, days, weeks and months preparing and it’s over in a few hours. In that sense dancing and producing is similar and give similar injection of energy from the show.

The challenge is to keep everyone inspired and happy.

Have you ever done house dinner parties and thought later what was the point of that? Well it’s not like that, it is inspiring at the time and stays memorable to people on both sides of the curtain. I keep hearing from dancers and audiences who like to see/do more and how inspired they stayed. All the challenges worth it.

What can audiences expect from Men in Motion?

At any age you are good for dance. Dance is inclusive, intimate and open at the same time, unexpected and momentous, magical and hypnotic. Expect all this from Men in Motion.

Ivan Putrov – Men in Motion will be performed at London Coliseum between 22-23 November. Book tickets here.

Sadler’s Wells supports young people to start a creative career

Sadler’s Wells has collaborated with London Legacy Development Corporation and Create Jobs for the second consecutive year to deliver the Creative Opportunity Programme – offering east London residents aged 18-30 information, inspiration and guidance on careers in the creative industries. Twenty-six young people joined the two-week programme in September, where they took part in workshops, visited arts organisations across London and were given practical advice on applying and interviewing for entry-level roles.

The programme aims to introduce young people to a wider range of opportunities and careers in the creative and cultural sector, from digital marketing to costume design, and provide them with the skills, insight and confidence to successfully apply for jobs.

Over the two weeks, the participants visited a number of cultural venues, hearing from members of different departments within each organisation, gaining an insight into the sector and any entry-level jobs, internships and apprenticeships available. Organisations taking part in the programme included Sadler’s Wells, Whitechapel Gallery, the V&A, Stratford Circus Arts Centre and The Backstage Centre, a production venue in Essex.

The workshops focused on employability, networking skills and professional impact. The young people learnt how to match their specific skills with job descriptions, how to perform in interview and assessment exercises and how to create a professional profile.

The group benefited from a confidence building session with Dramatic resources, a specialist training organisation that draws on theatre and performance techniques to enhance communication skills, as well as from a workshop from marketing consultancy Co-Relate, who worked with the group to create a live marketing campaign for Spitalfields Music, a music charity serving the local community in Tower Hamlets.

We hope that the programme will have inspired and emboldened the participants to pursue a career path within the arts and cultural sectors, and we are delighted that a number of participants have already gained employment and signed up for sessions with the National College Creative Industries. One participant has recently joined Sadler’s Wells as a Visitor Services Intern as part of the STEP programme – a 12 month paid internship where interns undertake placements at two London-based creative organisations.

Images: Francis Augusto Photography

NEW FILM AIMS TO MOVE PEOPLE TO DANCE

The Lowry, Salford, Birmingham Hippodrome and Sadler’s Wells have formed a partnership called The Movement to programme high-quality large-scale dance, supported by a range of audience development initiatives, including the creation of social media content.

Three film companies based in each of the partner venues’ areas have been commissioned to create short films which challenge preconceptions of dance, with the aim of demystifying the art form, and encouraging more people to try dance at their local theatre.

The first film (‘What does a dancer look like?’) was launched on Wednesday 4 October at 4pm, and can be seen on The Movement’s social media channels on Facebook and Instagram or on Sadler’s Wells’ YouTube channel .

‘What does a dancer look like?’ has been created by Koala, based in St. Pauls Square, Birmingham, and utilises the talents of local artists. Solihull-based choreographer Catriona O’Brien was recruited to work on this film, and has been dancing and teaching in the local area for many years.

The performers in the film were discovered through a call-out to local networks, and were cast to represent a diverse group of dancers from the local area. Gemskii is a trained hip-hop dancer, and although she had retired 10 years ago, seeing the casting ad for the film encouraged her to come out of retirement.

“When I auditioned for The Movement film I felt the surge of inner well-being that vigorous dancing gives. Initially I felt completely out-classed by my fellow dancers having not dancing professionally for over 10 years, but taking part in this project has resulted in my pledging to attend tap classes for a year, because improvement and practice in ‘art’ brings joy and joy is something no one can  have too much of!” said Gemskii.

The film also features performers from Solihull. Pavneet attends her local dance school, and this is the first time she’s performed on camera. The other dancers Frank, Jon, Riley, Lola, Molly and Lara are training at various schools nationwide, and taking part in this film has given them a greater understanding of how to reach new audiences for dance:

“Doing this film has been a great way of sharing our love of dance, and hopefully it will encourage more people to get into dance, whether participating or watching!”

Further films are to be released in the next few months, and will all appear on The Movement’s Instagram and Facebook profiles.

The Movement have produced new commissions in Debut, from Carlos Acosta’s new company Acosta Danza, which is touring the UK now. Debut appears at The Lowry on 12-14 October, and at Birmingham Hippodrome on 18-21 October. For full tour dates read more here.

Supported by Arts Council England, The Movement aims to nurture talent and bring large scale dance productions to even wider audiences. To read more about The Movement, visit our website .

The Movement – Acosta Danza Social Mover Review

Evelyn Francourt is one of four London-based Social Movers for The Movement  – an Arts Council funded partnership among three of the country’s leading dance venues; Sadler’s Wells, Birmingham Hippodrome and The Lowry, which aims to promote dance across the UK.

Here Evelyn tells us about her first Social Mover engagement – attending the opening night of international ballet star Carlos Acosta’s new company Acosta Danza’s first UK Tour, at Sadler’s Wells.

The evening of Wednesday 27 September was a first for many reasons – the first time meeting my fellow London based Social Movers, the UK premiere of Carlos Acosta’s dance company, Acosta Danza at Sadler’s Wells, and my first experience seeing Carlos Acosta dance live.

Cuban choreographer Marianela Boán‘s El cruce sobre el Niágara (The Crossing Over Niagara), was the first performance of five. As the curtain rose there was immediate impact – low lighting and stillness, with a male duet, undertaking slow precise positions and balances. After I moved pass the initial ‘are – they, aren’t – they naked’ question, ( they are in thongs designed by Leandra Soto), I was enthralled. The technical ability and strength of the dancers is more than demonstrated in the way they held second position pliés, balances and lifts with such intense focus, poise and tenderness.

Mermaid, a duet for Carlos Acosta and company dancer Marta Ortega by acclaimed contemporary choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, was a stand-out performance for me. At the onset of this duet I believed it to be a seductively elegant metaphor for drunkenness; the glass, and Ortega’s wine-red dress led me to believe Acosta’s character was grappling with drink. However, in retrospect and with the title, Mermaid as a clue I now see that she plays an ethereal creative and Acosta’s character is haplessly ‘drunk’ by her beauty and charm. The live music was a hypnotic accompaniment to this piece. Featuring Korean vocals with Eric Satie on piano, it provided a haunting and other-worldly quality and enhanced the mesmerising performance. Carlos Acosta live, I mean, this alone was enough for me to feel elated. There is no mistaking the strength of Acosta’s training and experience – he is a masterful and dynamic dancer and beautifully paired with Marta Ortega whose dancing I look forward to seeing more of.

In contrast to this poetic piece was the final performance, Twelve. What a way to end the night! Physical, energetic, strategically precise. The company navigated their way around the stage whilst undertaking the throwing and catching of litre water bottles, with neon lights inside. They broke off into throwing/catching groups of pairs and fours interspersed with cheeky turns and twists keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Think of the nimble, Cocktail skills of an 80’s Tom Cruise, throw in neon bottles, dance and acrobatics, and magnify this with an entire dance company then you have an idea of this performance –  truly exhilarating. As an audience we were right there with them – defying them not to drop a bottle or lose the pace. There was whooping, clapping, stomping – the kind of interactive, physical performance that raises your spirits and gets you on your feet.

All in all, this was a night that showcased a young and exciting company with an array of dance skills, styles, techniques and talent. I am excited by this company and look forward to following its career.

The night was particularly special because I can finally say, I have seen Carlos Acosta dance live –  something to tick off my dance bucket list!

Acosta Danza’s Debut tour programme also includes Belles-Lettres by Justin PeckImponderable by Goyo Montero and Jorge Crecis‘ Twelve. You can see Acosta Danza at venues such as Birmingham Hippodrome and The Lowry. Click here for more details.