The News March 23rd - March 27th

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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'Avengers Age Of Ultron' Image courtesy of Marvel

Welcome dear readers to a roundup of the news, the frequency of which is so unpredictable it makes you want to punch someone in the lip and leave the band because "you just can't take it anymore", or something.

Better Together, Sort Of

Coming to a cinema near you next month is 'Avengers, Age of Ultron' the latest "the world is gonna end" movie from the studio that brought you, the first Avengers movie.

As well as providing us with a reason to use an image from said movie in the header of this piece it also furnishes us with a useful metaphor to use with this story.

You see, the Avengers are a conglomerate, if you will, of superheroes who get together to fight unspeakable evil. Although in this case the evil is speakable because said evil's name is in the title of the film and, if the trailers for the film are anything to go by, Mr Ultron never shuts up.

Instead of just IronMan you also get The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Vision, Captain America (go Cap! Ed!) and the guy with the bow and arrow who's a bit lame. The idea is that 10 superheroes are better than one, especially when the The BigBad™ is really really bad!

However, the Avengers spend most of their time bickering and actually fighting each other because they all have issues coupled with a highly suspicious disregard for the safety of thousands of civilians as they stomp around smashing up entire cities!

Keeping that in mind step forward DUK, ADAD, NDTA and YDE. If you don't know what all of those acronyms mean it doesn't really matter but Arts Council England, our very own BigBad™, has awarded the four of them £650K per year to get together and bicker and fight a lot about who gets to use the really big hammer to hit things with, or something.

ACE said this much about the award;

"This commissioned grant for £650,000 a year, for three years, awarded to the partnership between Dance UK, ADAD, NDTA and Youth Dance England, will strengthen the national dance infrastructure. Working through its joint national membership which includes dance agencies, higher education institutions, teachers, schools, professional dancers, choreographers and touring dance companies in every region, the consortium will support a more coherent national approach to the delivery of dance services."

As we all know this unholy partnership will almost certainly achieve none of those things because, let's face it, most of the plans hatched by ACE don't work and usually result in the formation of completely unnecessary and massively expensive National Youth Dance Companies (do you see what we did there? Ed!)

Let us also pause for a moment and consider the fact that £650K per year is going to be put into even more administration, paperwork, meetings and seminars.

This alliance will run for three years at least and after they have spent almost £2Million we imagine there will be a lot of leaflets lying about that nobody ever wanted, the National Youth Dance Company will be receiving more funding than the Royal Opera House and professional dancers, the foundation of all that is dance, will still be getting treated like crap.

Maybe we need to recruit the Avengers to fight this lot?

Dancing Babies

The One Direction of the contemporary dance world Hofesh Shechter has announced the formation of a new apprentice/post- graduate dance company or something.

Within the company there will be 8 dancers between the ages of 18 and 25. Now, we know what your thinking; "so what"? There are plenty of post-graduate companies around and they all do a pretty good job of prepping the dancers for a future in the wider world of dance.

One small difference with the Hofesh Shechter variant is that the dancers get paid for their efforts although there is no word on how much they get paid. So far, so good.

The stand out part of this story however is the name of the company which is, wait for it, "Shechter Junior" a name that couldn't possibly be more stupid, patronising and condescending if it tried.

You hear that name and you immediately think of 5 year olds in baggy pants bashing around a backlit stage while a group of 8 year olds thump on some really big drums before everybody starts crying because they want to take a nap!

The post-graduate group for Jasmin Vardimon Company is simply titled as JV2. The younger version of Nederlands Dans Theatre is NDT2. Those names are simple, effective and not all massively embarrassing. We suppose Mr Shechter could use HS2 but in the UK at least that acronym has some dubious connotations and far too many jokes could be made that must never be uttered out loud.

You get a C for effort as far as the company goes and Z- for the stupid name.

Over and Out

Finally we have the story of the demise of what used to be Hampshire Dance. After losing all of their funding from ACE a few years ago the organisation fought on for a long time under the name Dance Up, providing education and outreach work in their own corner of the country.

Hampshire Dance and Dance Up were also home to Hampshire Youth Dance Company, a group that started the careers of at least 2 highly accomplished dancers that we know of; Natalie Trewinnard formerly of Scottish Dance Theatre and now with Ballet Lorent and Alisdair Stewart, currently with Motionhouse Dance Theatre.

Now their number is finally up because there is literally no money left from anywhere. When you read the story above about some ridiculous dance super-agency getting £650K a year or, once again, National Youth Dance Company and their £450K budget or the Chancellor of the Exchequer bribing voters in London and over rated conductors with a million pounds here and a million pounds there it makes you wonder just what kind of future the wide world of dance is facing.

Have a nice weekend.

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