PDA in Cape Town

As promised, here is a short clip of us performing Public Displays of Affection at the V&A Waterfront as part of the Busker’s Festival and Cape Town Fringe.

We performed across the dock and waterfront complex in various spaces, but found Nobel Square’s setting – complete with mountain backdrop and our Nobel Prize winner’s statues – especially beautiful.

 

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Dance in the City – Cape Town Fringe

We had an absolutely amazing time performing as part of Cape Town Fringe last week.  Despite the threat of some classic wet and windy Cape spring-time weather, we took over the V&A Waterfront, covertly introducing our Public Displays of Affection to often unsuspecting, but incredibly receptive, audiences, and reveling in dancing against the backdrop of Table Mountain.

Here are a couple of photographs captured during our final performance – video to follow soon!

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Back to Bagel

We have a rather unhealthy obsession with bagels here at nylon HQ, and if you’ve seen Every Way Up, you’ll know we take our baked goods seriously! 

From scientifically choosing the proper bagel shop on Brick Lane, to reminiscing about a Cape Town Friday night classic and listening to podcasts about why New York’s bagels are best (the secret is apparently in the water), we’ve spent many an hour preoccupied with what makes the perfect boiled dough treat.

When I saw a picture of a Kossar’s bagel on Instagram, I just had to share the review that went along with it.

http://www.onehungryjew.com/blog-2/2016/6/18/kossars

Maybe now is the time for us to curate a walking and talking Bagel tour of NYC…

The Memory Project Trailer

Remember last summer we worked with Vanessa Van Wormer Dance on their upcoming work, The Memory Project?  We’ve just seen the trailer for the finished piece, and wanted to share it with you all!

 

Performances are on April 1st and 2nd at The Yard in Rochester, NY – do catch it if you happen to be in the area!

 

Dear Akram…

If you’re a UK dance person, you probably know all about Akram Khan’s badly misjudged comments on female choreographers and opportunity in the dance industry.

We’re not going to rehash it, but in a nutshell, he said that there was no need for more female choreographers (i.e. opportunities for female choreographers), just more need for good choreographers.  He didn’t mention whether the two were mutually exclusive, orrrrr…

Ahem.

Suffice to say, there was a measure of consternation at nylon HQ.  Mr Khan has never shown himself to be the most diplomatic, measured, educated or eloquent of dance mouth-pieces (see also: UK training sucks, Arts Council cuts = Good – my paraphrasing), but this latest declaration seems like an additional suckerpunch, right in the…ovary, or mammaries, or some other inconvenient lady-part that just gets in the way of making good dance.

There’s been quite a lot of back and forth on this in the press (including a statement signed by hundreds of industry professionals – male and female – rebuking his comments), but so far we really like this response from Article 19:

http://www.article19.co.uk/theevilimp/the_anatomy_of_a_non_apology.php

And thus, the ever spiraling conversation about women in dance – and perhaps more specifically in choreography – continues, ad infinitum.

What do you think?  Should we be moving the conversation beyond ‘why does this happen?’ to ‘what should we do about it?’  Or rather, what should or could be done to address the current status quo?

Fringe Thanks

We can hardly believe it, but our run at the Brighton Fringe, 2015, is now complete!

We had such an amazing time – four days, ten performances, four dozen bagels, countless trays of kugel, and two very tired  pairs of feet later, we loved sharing our stories with new audiences and friends. The momentary sunshine and sea air was of course a spectacular bonus!

We’d love to thank everyone who came, and also everyone who made it possible – from the entire team at Brighton Fringe, Katherine Prior and Father Andrew at St Mary’s, Tiff Gibson for her sterling prop-transportation service, Rocco Sulkin and Ed Carr of Electric Copy Films for helping us to put together an amazing trailer, Bagelman and his incredible team for supplying us with loads of amazing bagels, Drew Potter for her invaluable administrative assistance  and awesome can-do attitude, James Carlyle for helping us with accommodation, Ian Jeffries for collecting our tired bones at the end of the last weekend, and most importantly, everyone who came, shared, enjoyed and chatted.

If you need us, we’ll probably be snoozing somewhere – Fringe recovery, here we come!

Bagels!

We are thrilled to share that Brighton’s favourite bagel shop, Bagelman, is very generously providing us with bagels for our performances of Every Way Up Has its Way Down at the Brighton Fringe Festival.  It was important to us to work with a local bakery, and we were overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of our newest nylon theatre partner.  The bagels in Bagelman are linked to the traditions of the London’s East End bagel shops – the place at the heart of our show – so it was a perfect fit!

Not only that, but we’ve heard that their chicken soup is incredible!  We cannot wait to try some properly this weekend when we’re in Brighton for our first performances.  There’s nothing like a comforting bowl of chicken soup to make your day!  (And now you know that best place to go for bagels the next time you’re in Brighton!)

Don’t forget to book your FREE ticket and join us for stories, Bagelman bagels, and dancing this Friday & Saturday.  See you there!

http://boxoffice.brightonfringe.org/theatre/9151/every-way-up-has-its-way-down

Artists in need of a kitchen!

Our performance space at the Mason's home. photograph by Caroline Silver Lewis

Our performance space at the Mason’s home. photograph by Caroline Silver Lewis

We’re looking for a venue for the Brighton Fringe festival with some unusual requirements – we’d like to perform our show Every Way Up Has its Way Down in a kitchen!

Whilst we’ve performed the show in traditional performance venues before, we’ve also performed it in kitchens (both in someone’s private home as well as in a kitchen in a community centre).  This caters for smaller audiences which allows the themes of domesticity, womanhood and cultural heritage to resonate in a more intimate, relevant context.

Do you have any potential ideas or leads for organizations that may wish to host us or people who may be willing to invite us into their home?

If so, please contact us at nylondancetheatre@gmail.com ASAP.  We would be most grateful!

With London as our backdrop and home, in Every Way Up Has Its Way Down, we look back to a time when Brick Lane meant Beigels and trace the footsteps of historic Jewish immigrants in the East End.  Simultaneously mapping the paths of our own ancestors, our cultural experiences, and how in 2013 we find ourselves both inside and outside of these inherited and learned social conventions, we ask:  ‘Do we know where we are going, if we don’t know where we have been?’

The piece interrogates our relationship with unknown pasts whilst considering our current etchings on the city’s landscape.  Sharing a Jewish background, we have each grown up and experienced this heritage in very different ways, in locations on opposite sides of the globe.  Now, we are both aliens in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world uncovering the past in order to   place ourselves in the present.  Every Way Up charts our attempts to find home in a place and context where we feel like outsiders.

You can find more information about Every Way Up Has its Way Down is here: https://nylontheatre.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/every-way-up-has-its-way-down-photo-gallery/

You can read more about our dances in kitchens here: https://nylontheatre.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/photo-gallery-every-way-up-dancing-in-kitchens/

Public Displays of Affection Review

The wonderful Graham Watts came along to the London Bridge Live Arts Festival last week, and wrote a lovely review of Public Displays of Affection!

A quiet oasis of tranquillity nestles underneath the imposing presence of the Shard. The King’s College Memorial Gardens are situated in a central courtyard of Guy’s Campus, a surprisingly secluded place just a stone’s throw away from one of the city’s busiest transport hubs at London Bridge. Sited on a wall at the entrance to the gardens is a little circular blue plaque, which commemorates the remarkable fact that Ludwig Wittgenstein turned his back on philosophy in late 1941 to become a medical orderly, working incognito at Guy’s Hospital during the blitz. A life-sized sculpture of Wittgenstein sits in a shelter enclosed within a tiny wild meadow where it is possible to enjoy the peacefulness of this place by sitting next to ‘him’.

The inner beauty of these gardens is that one simply comes across the Wittgenstein figure among other hidden treasures. I found a tree from which personal memorabilia (including family photographs and ornaments) hung like a giant mobile. I have no idea who the people in the ancient photos are (or were) but the randomness of this encounter adds extra lustre to the intimacy of this precious place. These Gardens provided the perfect location for a “pop-up” event such as this half-hour show by nylon theatre, which has made an outdoors interactive installation out of a work that first saw the light of day in a more traditional theatrical context as part of The Place’s Resolution! Festival in January 2012.

These four performances, spread over two days as part of the London Bridge Live Arts Festival, have actually taken Amy Watson’s Public Displays of Affection back outside since the origins of her work emerged from research and development on the South Bank in late 2011. As Watson wrote in a blog back then, the piece evolved out of her favourite pastime of “people-watching” and – in particular – casually witnessing “real-life displays of affection…..tiny intimacies….snapshots of contact and affection on a grey London day”.

Four female dancers, each dressed variously in shades of mustard, opened the work, as surreptitiously as their colour co-ordinated costumes would allow, occupying different corners of the gardens and moving imperceptibly through people busily on their way from A to B. Some didn’t notice the performers amongst them as they walked on by: one woman sitting on a bench in the centre of the area had told me beforehand that she had come specifically to watch the open air show but then sat, eating her sandwiches for several minutes after it began, blissfully unaware of the activity around her! The four performers (Watson herself, plus Stacie Bennett, Evangelia Kolyra and Hanna Wroblewski) moved among the people in the gardens, pulling out earphones to attach to smart phones and offering spectators the opportunity to listen (Bee offered me the chance to hear some dialogue from an unknown contemporary movie). Throughout the show it was notable that the dancers paid special attention to any children, many of whom were captivated by their actions.

The choice of music (uncredited) was compatible with the tranquillity of the setting, enhancing the dominant feeling of peacefulness that occupied the area. Some people watched; others just went on with their business and the dancers’ interaction with the public clearly made each show very different. One guy joined in wholeheartedly, marching between Wroblewski and Kolyra while trying to keep in step; another student searched through his garishly-coloured rucksack to find some missing item completely oblivious to Wroblewski’s undulating movement as she danced no more than a metre to his left. It was as if such exhibitionism is a regular feature on Guy’s Campus (and for all I know, perhaps it is).

By far the best of all incidental influences were two young lovers, kissing tenderly while lying on the grass in front of the four dancers during the one brief interlude in which they all danced together in the same place. This young couple were both as significant and as incognito as Wittgenstein had been in this same place over 70 years’ ago, and quite unknowingly – and without credit – their small snapshot of intimacy gave free expression to the title and intention of the piece.

Graham Watts writes for londondance.com, Dance Tabs, Dancing Times and other magazines and websites in Europe, Japan and the USA. He is Chairman of the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle and the National Dance Awards in the UK.