Dance GB echoes the British Olympic team, Team GB, translating the Olympic ideals of “faster, higher, stronger” into dance terms. Each company will commission a new work from a leading contemporary choreographer: Martin Lawrance will create a new work for Scottish Ballet, Christopher Bruce for National Dance Company Wales and Itzik Galili for English National Ballet. The tour will visit Glasgow’s Theatre Royal and the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. The final performances will be part of a week-long series of events in a big top tent in the historic grounds of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London.
Martin Lawrance’s work for Scottish Ballet will have designs by the Glasgow-born, Turner Prize-nominated artist Martin Boyce. Boyce first worked with the company last year, in choreographic workshops exploring the relationship between dance and visual art.
Ashley Page, artistic director of Scottish Ballet, said: “Developing younger choreographers has always been important to Scottish Ballet, and it’s in this capacity that I have been watching Martin Lawrance’s work over the past few years. He has been steadily growing in maturity and originality under the guidance of Richard Alston. It is a great pleasure to be able to provide Martin with another opportunity to grow as a creative artist, and we are greatly looking forward to working with him.
Itzik Galili’s new work for English National Ballet is named And the Earth shall bear again. It will be danced to music for prepared piano by John Cage. The cast comes from around the world, with ten nations represented. It will include senior principals Elena Glurdjidze, Erina Takahashi and Fernanda Oliviera, alongside Vadim Muntagirov, Ksenia Ovsyanick, Esteban Berlanga and Laurretta Summerscales.
The Greenwich performances of Dance GB will be part of a series of events in the Big Top, as part of Big Dance 2012. English National Ballet, Greenwich Dance and Greenwich Council will work together on an interactive programme, giving everyone the chance to dance. Events taking place include a big top tea dance, a ballroom bonanza and show-stopping cabaret and circus performances.
Ann Sholem, artistic director of National Dance Company Wales, said: “We are very proud to be part of Dance GB, which is a great opportunity for us to be part of the London 2012 Olympics and to showcase the tremendous dance talent in Britain today. We are delighted to work with Christopher [Bruce], who has enjoyed such a successful career. I know his work will be exceptional and mesmerising – just what you would expect from an internationally-renowned choreographer.”
Alongside the performances of Dance GB, learning teams from each company will work together to produce Dancing Parallel, a national project bringing together 60 young people from schools in Aberdeen, Cardiff and London. The young dancers will work with professional dance artists from the three companies for eight months, developing new skills including ballet, parkour and contemporary dance. They will work towards a dance film, directed by filmmaker Nic Sandiland, to be shown alongside Dance GB. There will also be a masterclass in the Big Top tent, led by the dancers and creative teams from Dance GB.
Tickets are now on sale for the Dance GB performances:
June 19–23, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
June 28–30, Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
July 4 – 8, big top tent in the grounds of Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Picture: Dancers of English National Ballet at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Left to right: Barry Drummond (in navy), Ruth Brill (in blue), Nathan Young (in white), Nancy Osbaldestone (in red). Photograph: Annabel Moeller