2004 End of Year Review

The end of the year is nigh and since we don ‘t know what nigh means and we can ‘t be bothered finding out writing an end of year review is probably the next best thing. There have been highs, a few, and lows, far too many and Article19 almost hit the delete key and called it a day, read on to find out more and if you know what ‘nigh ‘ means then let us know at the usual address.

The year began, for us at least, in Australia where we met with pretty much all of Western Australia ‘s contemporary dance scene in Perth. Despite their isolated location the WA ‘s manage to put together some pretty good performance work and turn out more than a few very talented students. If either Jenni or Eliza are reading we would love to know how you are getting on after leaving the WAAPA. Strut put on a good show with same excellent use of video but we fear the chances of them touring overseas are somewhat limited.

Just before we left for Perth there was a lot of fun and freezing temperatures to be had in Cambridge, the venue for British Dance Edition 2004. The event became a complete wash out because Dance East or Assis Carriero to be specific, prevented us from filming anything so sitting around and twiddling our thumbs became the fun way to pass the time.

We did endure some pretty horrific discussions by Wayne McGregor and some other folk who ‘s names have long since drifted from memory. Our right to publish would be brought into focus again later in the year.

January saw the first press releases detailing the emergence of the Place Prize a ‘Pop Stars ‘ like competition with audience voting, judges and a first prize of £25,000 for the winning choreographer. The format attracted criticism because it was fairly easy for local choreographers to stack the audience out with their friends and secure their votes for the nightly competition. It took until October before the winner was announced, it was Rafael Bonachela, nobody cared! The whole point of the exercise was to try and generate some publicity for dance, they failed.

In March the entrants were announced for the dance film Academy a semi-reality show to be filmed in Wales for BBC Four. Once again Rafael Bonachela was among the dance makers chosen to take part to win £100,000 to make their very own dance film. We would like to take this opportunity once again to point out the wide variety of dance makers in this country who work outside of London may also be deserving of an opportunity. This particular project is slated to air later on in 2005.

To The Beach

The summer saw us in Cornwall to cover probably the biggest outdoor dance event in the UK ‘s history when Motionhouse Dance Theatre took to the beach along with several hundred kids to present ‘The Edge. An outdoor extravaganza of movement, music, sand and big yellow mechanical diggers. A great time was had by all involved, we know this because we have the images to prove it. Our intrepid correspondent was almost lost to the quicksand and one camera received irreparable damage but the experience was worth it and the video material made the top 10 for the year. Hat’s off to MDT for the most ambitious and outwardly successful community event of the year.

More curious was Animated magazines take on the show. Animated is the community dance magazine and they managed to make the whole event sound like a wake for lost souls. Sack the writing team we say, whoever they are.

Top Ten Videos 2004
A top ten for videos is not very fair because some videos have been on-line for a lot longer. The top video has been on Article19 for the last 18 months. This list is based on the last 12 months.

1. IBM 401 A Users Manual, Erna Omarsdottir
2. BareBones2
3. Adventures in Black and Green, Maressa von Stokert
4. La Vie, BalletLorent
5. Planted Seeds, Phoenix Dance
6. 8iQ, Granhoj Dans
7. Give up the Ghost, Strut
8. Headcase, Full Force
9. Volatile, Motionhouse
10. Scottish School of Contemporary Dance

July brought us to Vienna and Impulstanz 2004 and almost the end of Article19 as you know it. Despite some sterling work on the video diaries from Vanessa Cook the whole event was a bit of a washout with quite possibly some of the worst performance work we have ever seen on show to the public. Ballet C ‘ De La B proved to be a highlight but the event left Article19 on the rack and looking for a way out of dance, permanently. We came within a day or so of deleting the whole thing from the server in a fit of anger and despair, but an unseen hand stayed the magazines execution. (more likely a timely power cut that brought the editor to his senses)

Upon returning to the UK a stinging editorial was delivered on not just the state of the work at Impulstanz but the entire contemporary dance profession in general. This provoked one of the largest written responses to date to us here in the Lab and you can view the feedback in our forum.

Article19 later rallied and began putting out new material including a superb piece of work by Helen Parlor and her six strong company ‘Full Force ‘. Despite a relatively short uptime on Article19 the video, ‘Headcase ‘ has made the top ten for this year. Our faith in the profession was restored a little and we continued looking for new work and new written material.

With the outcome of the US presidential election Article19 was reeling at the sheer stupidity and injustice of it all and we rallied further. Not being a political publication our reaction had to be kept offline but a new resolve was found to keep going and fight back against those who would rather we just slipped offline and left the progressive thinking in the dustbin.

Almost There

Late in the year brought us BareBones and the introductory tour for their new works by five new choreographers. Sporting some great movement, comedy and 5 excellent dancers BareBones are one of the brightest hopes for this profession but time will tell if they can survive funding cuts and apathy from ACE. The company will be touring throughout the New Year so catch them if you can along with children ‘s BareBones for the kids, performed by the kids that is. We did helpfully suggest that DanceXchange start up a version of BareBones for old folks called OldBones but the suggestion was looked upon with some scorn, we can ‘t imagine why!

November saw one of the strongest attacks yet for us to remove material form Article19 because of objections raised by a particular artist. Our right to publish was brought into question and accusations were flying thick and fast but we managed to prevail, eventually.

Another altogether more comical interaction with an arts administrator saw us being threatened with legal action to remove material. When we asked this particular individual to carry on with their legal action after we published all of their emails along with the name of the organisation they worked for all resistance seemed to fade away. The material we were asked to remove by the way is about as damaging as box full of feathers.

If we could sum up this year then we would say it has been a poor one for dance in general. Little or no progress has been made on the serious issues affecting the art form like dancers pay, company funding and the proliferation of exciting new ideas or lack thereof.

Here in the Lab we are getting a little tired of being perceived as a threat to the community that we are trying to celebrate. If anybody can point to an independent publication that does more than we do then we would be pleased to hear about it.

All we can say for the moment is thank you to everyone who has given us their support and assistance over the last twelve months we know who you are. We also need to thank all of our readers, the silent majority who watch the work, read the articles and occasionally send us their feedback, comment or criticisms.

Article19 ‘s future is, at present, uncertain but we will stay online as long as we can and will hopefully bring you a review of 2005 in 12 months time, but who knows?