Dane Hurst – Choreographer, dancer with Rambert, talking about his Dulwich Picture Gallery Commission

Dane Hurst.© Tom Rowland. (Click image for larger version)

Dane Hurst.
© Tom Rowland. (Click image for larger version)

www.danejeremyhurst.com
 
Rambert Revealed: open rehearsal with Dane Hurst
13 October 2015. Full details
Prud’hon : The Moving Body performed on 16/17 October 2015
at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Full details
Gallery of pictures by Stephen Wright: Dane Hurst working on Prud’Hon: The Moving Body at Dulwich Picture Gallery
 

5 Questions to Dane Hurst on his Dulwich Picture Gallery commission

To link with their exhibition of life drawings by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, Dulwich Picture Gallery are bringing the gallery to life (16/17 October) with live music, live drawing and dance, which Dane Hurst is masterminding. Dane will be dancing with some fellow Rambert dancers and the Royal Ballet’s Romany Pajdak, in some new and existing work. We wanted to know more…

Congratulations on getting such an unusual commission – what’s the background?

I was approached by Ellie Manwell, Head of Communications at Dulwhich Picture Gallery, after she saw my choreography Primitive at RichMix last September. She asked that I make a proposal for an evening of dance that could somehow include life drawing to tie it in with their current exhibition of Pierre Paul Prud’Hon’s sketches of the human body. I made a proposal to create a new dance alongside two existing works, included some live photography and music, assembled a team of creatives and here we are; the show opens in about 3 weeks.
 

Brenda Lee Grech, Dane Hurst and Seren Williams working on Prud'Hon: The Moving Body at Dulwich Picture Gallery.© Stephen Wright. (Click image for larger version)

Brenda Lee Grech, Dane Hurst and Seren Williams working on Prud’Hon: The Moving Body at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
© Stephen Wright. (Click image for larger version)

What was your first response on seeing Pierre Paul Prud’Hon drawings?

When I first saw Prud’Hon’s sketches I was struck by the performance quality of the figures, by how he created a dramatic tension by capturing the essence of movement in the simplest and most direct way. Even within the still image you experienced the sensation of movement, a snapshot of the sensual aesthetic of everyday bodily mechanics. As a dancer and choreographer I regularly deal with bringing focus to the ethereality of the moving body in space and similarly found parallels with how Prud’Hon crafts and captures the inner emotional tension that is exposed through the position of the body in space.
 

How are you structuring the evening – solos, duets, more? And where are you in the creative process?

I’m in the process of creating two new, short dance works for an all-female cast but we’ve not had much rehearsal time as I’m currently on tour and employed full time with Rambert. It’s a bit of a juggling act so the pressure is on to complete the choreography in time.
 

Dane Hurst and Romany Pajdak working on Prud'Hon: The Moving Body at Dulwich Picture Gallery.© Stephen Wright. (Click image for larger version)

Dane Hurst and Romany Pajdak working on Prud’Hon: The Moving Body at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
© Stephen Wright. (Click image for larger version)

If all goes well I will be dancing a solo, a duet with Romany Pajdak of the Royal Ballet and a male duet with a yet unknown performer. There will be performances by violinist Satoko Fukuda and soprano Sarah Gabriel, live photography by Tom Rowland alongside performances by eight female dancers performing to music by Tom Rowland and Paul Gladstone Reid.
 

You are working with a dramaturg – how is that going? And what’s this about an open rehearsal people can see?

Peggy Olislaegers has recently been appointed Associate Artist at Rambert and will be leading an open rehearsal of my choreography for the Prud’hon event. I’ve not been working with her on this event but she was part of my creative process for O’Dabo, the solo I created for Rambert’s Evening of New Choreography, which will feature at Dulwich. Peggy is a remarkable woman and a fearless artist and critic; she will be challenging my creative decisions in a one-off event at Rambert on 13 October. The evening will be an inside look at the creative process behind the choreography as well as being a rehearsal and an opportunity to bring all the dance elements together.
 

Dane Hurst in his O'dabo.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Dane Hurst in his O’dabo.
© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Beyond Dulwich, what else have you got coming up?

I’m quietly excited about plans to set up a dance centre in South Africa and am currently in discussions with the architects and seeking potential funders to have a design ready for the launch of the charitable project in the new year. There’s also a BBC Radio 4 programme scheduled for May 2016 that will feature the journey of a recycled dance floor that I purchased and rescued from the old Rambert building in Chiswick, transporting it from London to Port Elizabeth.
 

Dane Hurst and Simone Damburg Würtz in Didy Veldman's <I>The 3 Dancers</I>.<br />© Stephen Wright. (Click image for larger version)

Dane Hurst and Simone Damburg Würtz in Didy Veldman’s The 3 Dancers.
© Stephen Wright. (Click image for larger version)

There’s also an interesting dance film for Dutch Television that I’m working on with acclaimed film-maker Clara Van Gool who directed Lloyd Newson’s Enter Archilles. Closer to home I have been working on two new creations with Rambert and will perform in the upcoming world premieres of Didy Veldman’s, Picasso-inspired 3 Dancers in Plymouth and Kim Brandstrup’s Transfigured Night in Birmingham. The London shows will open at Sadlers Wells in November and the programme includes Rooster by Christopher Bruce so I’m looking forward to performing in that triple bill.
 

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