DANCE | Yorkshire Dance Showcase: new works by Northern choreographers

Photo: Yorkshire Dance

VICKI GALLOWAY-PLACE visited the Yorkshire Dance Centre to watch what was essentially five scratch performances of works in progress by a range of Northern choreographers.

“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.” Albert Einstein

I was really looking forward to this event for a few different reasons: I’ve not seen any dance for a while, and I am a huge advocate of new work and choreography. I knew I would see five very different pieces.

Like Rumours of Hushed Thunder was a duet performed by a male and a female dancer. Without knowing anything beforehand, it was interesting to try fathom the content. The piece seemed to be an exploration of a new relationship: finding a mate and working out how you ‘fit’ together. It was playful and fun. The two dancers were clearly talented and I so enjoyed the sections when they performed together, I would have liked to see more of this.

White Noise was an interesting concept, a solo performer exploring sound and sign language. There was scope to take this in many directions, but it felt a way off yet.

Whist I appreciated the concept of Exhibit F and the solo talented dancer who showed great technique and an interesting use of her hair to emphasise control and aggression throughout the movement, the decision to dance bare chested was unnecessary. It has been done before, will be done again, and serves no purpose. The piece would have been just as powerful with the performer fully clothed.

Lewys Holt’s piece Footnotes was hilarious.  Excellent comic timing and a unique concept, but again I would have liked to see more movement.

Afternoon of a Faun, choreographed by Beth Cassani and Joseph Mercier, was a fun, intriguing piece and my favourite for many reasons. I was intrigued by the content and the style of choreography. For an evening of dance, this piece felt like the only one that actually contained a sustained amount of choreography.

I am open minded enough to get the idea of exploration and delving into the question of what dance is, but overall I felt underwhelmed by the lack of movement for a night of dance. Afternoon of a Faun was the exception, fun and with a cracking soundtrack.

Really I loved the piece because Liam Morgan, one of my ex-students whom I had taught for seven years was in it, a student who had had to fight to study dance, despite being a gifted dancer. About to embark on a Masters in Choreography, imagine if Liam had sat Triple Science instead… *

While overall I wasn’t blown away by most of the pieces I saw, I am excited at the forward thinking, experimental culture that Yorkshire Dance is bringing to the arts in Leeds. Showcasing new work, choreography in progress and providing a platform for local artists and students to share their work is essential and long may it continue.

Visit Yorkshire Dance here  


I feel a little sad when I think of the demise of the performing arts in schools, and the lack of importance placed on creative subjects, in spite of the heaps of research that highlight how creative subjects support learning and progress across the curriculum. Will we ever get education right in the UK?