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PREVIEWS | DANCE
CONTEMPORARY BALLETBOYZ: DELUXE Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Sun 1 Mar; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Sun 8 Mar
It was a trip to China that sealed the deal. William Trevitt and Michael Nunn, aka the BalletBoyz’ co-artistic directors, had been scouting around for the perfect double-bill to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary year. On tour in China, they arranged to meet Xie Xin, one of the country’s most exciting contemporary choreographers. And, by pure chance, a former BalletBoyz dancer was also in the country, performing a work by Maxine Doyle with London-based company Punchdrunk. So the pair went along to see him.
‘We went halfway around the world and then worked out what it was we were looking for,’ says Trevitt with a laugh. ‘All of those things in China seemed to tie together, and yet both choreographers are so radically different in terms of the way they create, the style of movement and emphasis on character or pure physicality. So it’s worked out to be a really interesting double bill.’
Both Xie Xin and Doyle have created brand new works for the BalletBoyz’ six male dancers, which will have their world premiere in Glasgow under the show title Deluxe. Known for her work with TAO Dance Theatre and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Xie Xin is making her UK debut, while Doyle, currently Punchdrunk’s associate director, is using live jazz music for her new piece.
‘Xie Xin’s work is very organic, very physical, and as you watch it you’re a little bit transported into another world,’ says Trevitt. ‘Whereas Maxine’s piece is much more immediate, dynamic, gritty and character-led. I don’t think you will, but you could almost imagine that you’d be able to smell it. We’re always looking for opportunities to show off the dancers’ versatility, and with these two choreographers there’s going to be a wonderful contrast on the night.’ (Kelly Apter)
P H O T O
: J O H A N P E R S S O N
ADAPTATION SCOTTISH DANCE THEATRE: ANTIGONE, INTERRUPTED Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 20–Sat 22 Feb, and touring
When a play retains its popularity for over 2000 years, it must be saying something worth listening to. But any company operating in the 21st century needs to move with the times. So when Joan Clevillé, artistic director of Scottish Dance Theatre, decided to adapt Sophocles’ Antigone, he knew he needed a mix of past and present-day thinking. ‘When you tackle something like a Greek tragedy, a lot of questions come up,’ says Clevillé. ‘Like why and how? Do you just reproduce what’s been done before? Does the world need another version of Antigone?’
Renaming the show Antigone, Interrupted helped him on his way, a title
borrowed from American feminist theorist Bonnie Honig, and a reference to how solo dancer-actor Solène Weinachter performs the piece. ‘Solène delivers text from the original but she also interrupts it several times, to change character, to comment on what’s happening or to relate it to her own story,’ explains Clevillé. Clevillé and Weinachter were both dancers with Scottish Dance Theatre
before working together in his own company, where text played a large part. For Antigone, Interrupted, Clevillé sought the help of dramaturgist Ella Hickson, then wrote several sections himself to sit alongside Sophocles’ words. ‘It’s probably about 50/50,’ says Clevillé. ‘I think it’s very clear when we’re immersed in the story, and then Solène might reflect on a particular event or describe the city of Thebes, setting up a scene before we dive into it.’ (Kelly Apter)
CONTEMPORARY RAMBERT Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 20–Sat 22 Feb
Scroll through the comments under Christine and the Queens’ ‘Tilted’ video on YouTube and you’ll find a lot of love for Marion Motin. Her choreography for the video receives copious praise, and as with her video for Dua Lipa’s ‘IDGAF’, the moves are quirky yet accessible, taking modern dance to a new audience.
Now, for the first time, the French-born hip hop choreographer has created work for a contemporary dance company. On Rambert’s current UK tour, her name will appear front and centre in a triple-bill alongside Wayne McGregor and Hofesh Shechter. ‘I don’t need people to know my name,’ says Motin modestly. ‘For me it’s much better to see comments saying “ah the choreography in this video is good: who did it?” I prefer that they know my work rather than my name. But of course with Rambert, the focus is dance and choreography, so I’m really proud to have my name on it.’
Creating ‘Rouge’ for Rambert, Motin found herself loving the technique the dancers brought; but bringing themselves proved a little harder. ‘I invited them to not just be a corps de ballet but to be who they really are outside of dance,’ says Motin. ‘That’s how I work with people, I like to get to know their personality. We had lots of discussions and it took time for them to just be who they are. But it was all such a pleasure because technically they are amazing and they understood everything so quickly. I would say “do you think you can do this?” And they always could. They have no limits.’ (Kelly Apter)
1 Feb–31 Mar 2020 THE LIST 95