British Dance Edition 2006

panta rei dans lullaby

Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

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by Neil Nisbet

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British Dance Edition pulled off the covers and showed itself to a suspecting world once again in the northern city of Leeds. The bi-annual bun fight, hosted by Yorkshire Dance, got underway from February 9th to the 11th with an enormous variety of companies, styles and ideas on show for all to see. Our intrepid reader steps forward and asks the questions that are just begging to be asked!

British Dance Edition eh, so they let you in this time did they?

Yes they did, we filmed at ten shows and eight of them have made it onto Article19 for your personal viewing pleasure, because as you know, we do all of this for you! To be fair we were allowed into the last BDE, just not with camera’s which was kind of missing the point of us being there.

Why is it not just another festival then?

Well the main point of this thing is to allow the companies a platform to ply their wares to international promoters and theater's that may otherwise not be too interested in taking dance into their venue. So the masses gather and enjoy a wide selection of dance from the cream of the crop of British choreography and Michael Clarke (just kidding). In times gone by BDE was just one stage of a much larger competition and the first prize was money. Mercifully such nonsense has been consigned to history and it exists now as a festival in its own right.

Does it work?

There is no real way to be sure. Booking tours is a long drawn out process and the results, if any, don’t come until many months later. In today’s hi-tech world it seems a little unnecessary to bring all these folks together for the particular purpose of promotion. That said, people getting together and watching a lot of dance, meeting your peers, eating free food, etc, has to be a good thing and if we relied on dance using technology to tell the world about itself we feel sure the world would be non the wiser!

Indeed! Any scandal to report?

Not really, it all went off, as far as we could tell, without any problems. A few shows did run late which caused other shows to be delayed but that’s only to be expected when you have five companies performing in the same venue in one day. There was nothing to compare to the great ‘floor swapping’ debacle of BDE 2000 when the good folks were kept waiting for over an hour between shows while the stage crew had to turn a dance floor over because the choreographer wanted a black floor, not a grey one!

The end of event party was located inside Yorkshire Dance’s home in Leeds which was a little too small for the sheer volume of people crushed into it. Your correspondent, being the claustrophobic type, made his excuses and left!

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The High Point?

Well there were a few; Jasmin Vardimon Company with ‘Park’ is well worth watching if you can catch it in the near future. It won’t feature the current cast but you should really check it out if you get the chance. Luca Silvestrini choreographed the best ‘community’ piece we have ever seen, and that is a number far too high for us to care to remember, with ‘Alfresco’. Hofesh Shechter is one to watch for the future and Charles Linehan Co. is always classy. There was a lot of work we didn’t see so let us know if you did!

Protein Dance put on an excellent show with a great dig at Richard Alston’s company during their proceedings. Director of the Place, John Ashford, was sitting in the audience with a face like thunder, it was a priceless moment, caught on camera, during a great performance. The video shall forever remain in a secret vault here in the Lab. Are dance companies soon to become involved in open conflict with one another? We can only hope.

And the low point?

A rather misguided comedy skit between Wendy Houston and Yorkshire Dance Director, Bush Hartshorn. It was meant to be an ironic commentary on poor, out of work dancers, etc, etc. Only problem was, it wasn’t funny and their crime was compounded because Ms Houston was reading from a script which means it was written by someone and, god forbid, was probably rehearsed. Off to the tower with pair of them we say!

It should also be noted that during thankyou’s on the opening night the dancers and dance makers were not thanked, but the Mayor of Leeds was! As we all know, politicians make the arts work, don’t they?

Ouch, that’s gonna hurt in the morning, special mentions?

Has to go to Rosie Kay Dance Company and Asylum. An injury caused to dancer Guilherme Miotto could have caused the cancellation of the show. A rather clever cut between a pre-recorded version on DVD and a solo performance by Rosie Kay did save the day however and Mr Miotto had the good grace to come on stage and explain the situation beforehand.

If this was a promotional gig, did you guys get any free stuff?

We did get a free bag from Yorkshire Dance, the event’s organisers, but we lost it accidentally on purpose because we already had several bags of equipment to carry around. We do still have the free pen though. Best promotional gimmick has to be BareBones Dance Company with specially packaged tins of mints that were not only very tasty but caused a great comedy moment when someone dropped theirs on the way into the theatre for that evenings show. Sadly the always watch-able BareBones company were not at the festival.

So the whole thing was a success?

Yep. Well organised, they even had press passes, good shows, and thankfully the weather held off so there was no repeat of the snow and ice that hampered the proceedings a couple of years ago. We don’t know if the companies saw it as a success though, only time will tell.

You sound almost cheery about something, makes a change?

Enjoy it while you can, it won’t last, now go away!

Article19 would like to thank all the staff at Yorkshire Playhouse, The Quarry Theatre, Courtyard Theatre, Riley Theatre and Yorkshire Dance for their help during filming of the shows. A big thank you (love ‘n hugs etc) to all the dance companies and dancers for agreeing to be filmed and featured. (how soppy is that! Ed!)

[ BDE 2006 Super Feature ]

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