September '99 Newsletter from London
After an exceptionally busy July, London dance lovers had something of a respite in August, except for those who made their way to Edinburgh to enjoy the riches of the International Festival and the Fringe. Nevertheless, some interesting events did take place down South over the past month.
Jonathan Burrows / Molly Rabinowitz
Burrows receives great critical acclaim in this country and perhaps even more on the Continent. In 1997 he was commissioned by William Forsythe to create a work for the renowned Ballett Frankfurt. In the intimate art-deco surroundings of Greenwich, Burrows and Lynne Bristow performed 'Singing' to some beautiful songs by Matteo Fargion, a long-time collaborator of Burrows. Moving rapidly to the slow songs, the duo performed the complex choreography with head, arm and hand movements playing as important a role as the steps. Burrows is a remarkable performer and he had strong support from Bristow in this thrilling and innovative piece.
The second half of the programme featured two solos by Molly Rabinowitz, an American who had been leading professional classes at Greenwich that week. Her first piece, 'Liquid Grip' was performed on and around a barre and made direct links to gymnastics, but it became repetitive for me in its latter stages. The second piece, 'Spiral Split Open' also featured an athletic movement vocabulary and I enjoyed the greater freedom and variety of this work, powerfully performed by Rabinowitz.
New York Ballet Stars
Sadler's Wells and Jackson's Lane Dancebase collaborated on 'Mosaics', an annual festival of cutting edge dance and performance, now in its eighth year. 27 small-scale companies from all over the country presented new work over a 4-week period. Sadly, the shenanigans in Edinburgh meant that dance critics were very scarce in London for most of August and thus Mosaics received little coverage. Jackson's Lane continues to provide a fine outpost for contemporary dance performance in North London.
Strictly speaking, Edinburgh is not part of my brief, but the Festival has highlighted some shows that are due to come to London, including 'Gumboots' and Meg Stuart's 'Damaged Goods'. David Dougill in The Sunday Times and Jann Parry in The Observer covered many of the leading events.
Another relatively quiet month for dance in London, but a chance to catch up on the gardening and the decorating before October brings the full force of Dance Umbrella. In September, the burden falls, not for the first time, on Sadler's Wells and The Peacock to provide us with interesting dance.
A new Flamenco star, Sara Baras brings her company to reopen Sadler's after the summer break and at the end of the month we can see the Siobhan Davies Dance Company in 'Wild Air'. This first full-length work by Davies has received rave reviews as it has toured the country, including this one from Ismene Brown in The Daily Telegraph.
For those who can only take their ballet seriously, The Peacock is a venue to be avoided in September. But for those, who like me, are entirely lacking in the finer sensibilities, the boys in tutus of Les Ballets Trockaderoes de Monte Carlo offer immense fun and subtle touches in between the pratfalls. The dancing is often good and the divas' personas are carefully preserved from piece to piece. One of the two programmes include a send-up of Merce Cunningham. Is nothing sacred? Have a good month.
Stuart Sweeney (courtesy of London Dance Network)
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