Magazine article Dance Magazine

The English Channel: Immigrants Enliven the Contemporary Dance Scene

Magazine article Dance Magazine

The English Channel: Immigrants Enliven the Contemporary Dance Scene

Article excerpt

The contemporary dance scene in Great Britain has exploded in the last 20 years. With generous government funding and stimulating contributions from immigrant cultures, the creativity has been overflowing. A cross-section of this activity was presented at the British Dance: Edition 2008 (similar to Association of Performing Arts Presenters, which happens every year in NYC), in Liverpool in February. Forty-two companies, culled from 142 applicants, showed works in several venues. Attending were 500 delegates--presenters, funders, managers--from around the UK and Europe. With the addition of a group from Northern Ireland, every country in the UK was represented for the first time in BDE's 15-year history.

Two programs in Liverpool's 2,300-seat Empire Theater were open to the public and received a warmly enthusiastic response. These included a lively group piece from Richard Alston, a mainstay of British contemporary dance, inspired by gypsy music; Small Boats, the brilliant film-dance collaboration between Russell Maliphant and Isaac Julian that came to Brooklyn Academy of Music last fall; and Hofesh Shechter's breathtakingly raw and witty Uprising for seven men.

At smaller venues, there was the hypnotic Designer Body, from Liv Lorent, with seven dancers on revolving discs, slowly removing layers of extravagant Victorian clothing all the way down--to you guessed it--nothing. There was a late-night duet of rough and tumble physicality from Mark Bruce that was contained only by a thick rope circled on the floor. There was an intriguing Rashomon-style mystery perpetrated by Jasmin Vardimon, an Israeli choreographer now living in Brighton. …

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