Author: Josephine Leask

Josephine Leask is a dance writer and lecturer. Having written for a range of dance and art publications, she currently writes for Londondance and the Dance Insider. She lectures in cultural studies at London Studio Centre. Follow her on Twitter @jo_leask

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs.
Claire Cunningham.© Peter Dibdin. (Click image for larger version)

Interview – Claire Cunningham and her new Elvis inspired work “Thank You Very Much”

Interview – Claire Cunningham’s latest work “Thank You Very Much” uses the phenomenon of Elvis Presley and Elvis tribute artists as a springboard to explore impersonation, identity, acceptance and the challenges of being yourself. Josephine Leask finds out more from the lively Cunningham…

Ben Duke and Solene Weinachter in Juliet & Romeo.© Jane Hobson. (Click image for larger version)

Lost Dog – Juliet & Romeo – London

★★★★✰   Juliet and Romeo is a clever work on many different levels.

Company of Elders at the 2019 Elixir Extracts Festival.© Ellie Kurttz. (Click image for larger version)

Company of Elders – Dare I Speak, Natural 2019 – London

★★★★✰   Over the years that I’ve seen them, this extraordinary company of quirky individuals have become more adventurous about what they perform and flexible in how they perform…

Gary Avis in The Firebird.© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Firebird, A Month in the Country, Symphony in C – London

★★★★✰   Three short but densely packed ballets infused with a strong Russian flavour were at the heart of the Royal Ballet’s last bill of the season.

The Rite of Spring by Seeta Patel.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Seeta Patel – The Rite of Spring, Dance Dialogues – London

★★★✰✰   Rite of Spring: Through the perspective of a South Asian gaze, the brutality and finality of the original ballet’s pagan sacrifice is tempered by a rich spirituality and the optimistic suggestion of an after-life. It’s still scary but less barbaric.

Nora in Where Home Is.© Camilla Greenwell. (Click image for larger version)

Nora – Nora Invites Deborah Hay: Where Home Is – London

★★★✰✰   Nora’s show combines a piece made by Hay for the company followed by a short lecture-demonstration in which they guide us through different frames for watching dance – inspired from their viewing of Hay making a solo.

Jean-Guihen Queyras and Marie Goudot in Mitten wir im Leben sind / Bach6Cellosuiten.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

De Keersmaeker, Queyras & Rosas – Mitten wir im Leben sind / Bach6Cellosuiten – London

★★★★✰   What unfolds over the two hours is an extraordinary conversation between musician and dancers.

Corali Dance Company.© Jon C Archdeacon. (Click image for larger version)

Corali Dance Company with Thick & Tight – Technicolour Everyday bill – London

★★★✰✰   Even as I leave the show not really having understood every bit of it, I’m touched by the multi-skilled performers and their unforced honesty.

The Yonis.© Alex Gent. (Click image for larger version)

Woman SRSLY – Takeover: Wildlife in Strange Waters – London

★★★✰✰   Woman SRSLY’s feminist energy exploded all over the Place last Thursday. The foyer and bar area were transformed into a colourful pink fun-fair.

Virgin Territory Film Installation, here at the Brighton Festival.© Bosie Vincent. (Click image for larger version)

Vincent Dance Theatre – Virgin Territory Film Installation – Margate

★★★★✰   Vincent Dance Theatre’s visceral and timely response to how social media is wrecking our children, hypersexualising them and stealing their childhood co-opts the very technology that it warns us about.

Chihiro Kawasaki and Rhys Dennis in Within Her Eyes.© Camilla Greenwell. (Click image for larger version)

James Cousins Company – Epilogues bill of duets – London

★★★★✰   Cousins and company both surprise and stir us.

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in Since She.© Julian Mommert. (Click image for larger version)

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch – Since She – London

★★★★✰   Papaioannou weaves in many references to Bausch’s work and deliberately asks us to find them, the work is fuelled by his love for her. But he also invites us to move on from the nostalgia trip.

Forced Entertainment's That Night Follows Day.© Hugo Glendinning. (Click image for larger version)

Forced Entertainment – That Night Follows Day – London

★★★★✰   Performed by a cast of seventeen children ranging from ages 5 – 15, Forced Entertainment’s delightfully humorous and poignant work reveals how adults shape children through their projection of values and beliefs.

Luke Brown Dance in the For You I Long the Longest bill.© Luke Brown Dance. (Click image for larger version)

Luke Brown Dance – For You I Long the Longest: Second Self, Princess – London

★★★★✰   Luke Brown Dance’s For You I Long the Longest is an intense and intimate work that needs to be experienced in a small, contained theatre.

GöteborgsOperans Danskompani, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Antony Gormley's Icon.© Mats Backer. (Click image for larger version)

GöteborgsOperans Danskompani, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Antony Gormley – Icon – London

★★★★✰   Sidi Larbi Cherkaouis’s work is full of surprises. Icon, first premiered in 2016 is another fruitful collaboration between Anthony Gormley and Cherkaoui in which clay moulds both the theme and the dancers.

Rosie Kay Dance Company in MK Ultra.© Brian Slater. (Click image for larger version)

Rosie Kay Dance Company – MK Ultra – London

★★★✰✰   Rosie Kay’s MK Ultra is an ambitious project which tackles complex thematic sources – conspiracy theories, brain washing and mind-control, not to mention myths about secret societies such as the Illuminati…

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in Contagion.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance – Contagion – London

★★★★✰   Overshadowed by the atrocities of WWI, which is commemorated loudly and frequently, the killer Spanish Flu, which killed an estimated 50-100 million people, is at last fittingly acknowledged on its 100th anniversary in Shobana Jeyasingh’s work Contagion.

Sasha Milavic Davies' Everything that Rises Must Dance.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Sasha Milavic Davies – Everything that Rises Must Dance – London

★★★★✰   One of the highlights of Dance Umbrella’s 40th anniversary was watching 200 women perform Everything that Rises Must Dance…

Julian Warner and Oliver Zahn in Situation With Doppelganger: Essay Performance.© Nicole Wytyczak. (Click image for larger version)

Hauptaktion at London’s Collisions Festival 2018 – Examing cultural appropriation and Minstrel shows

Thoughtful report about thoughtful work that probes and presents how the dance of yesterday and today borrows and distorts the culture of others. Makes you think!

Sarah Blanc in My Feminist Boner.© Jonathon Vines. (Click image for larger version)

Sarah Blanc – My Feminist Boner – London

★★★✰✰   Blanc shares her struggles with dieting, exercise regimes and the pressure to look perfect to the point where she has an epiphany which she calls her feminist boner.

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