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First, good news for Londoners. Although this programme has been sold out for weeks at ROH, Yolanda Yorke-Edgell told me yesterday that she is hoping that an extra performance will be offered on 16 May. She is hoping that the ROH website will include it at the end of this week. The ROH website says there will be one interval but last night there were two.

 

This very talented and innovative company performed in Leeds last night as part of a tour before arriving at the ROH in mid May.

 

The first piece, Playground, one of MacMillan's dark works, will interest those of you who have indicated a wish to see My Brothers, My Sisters again. Many of us will find the choreography interesting but the content disturbing (what MacMillan wanted, of course). However, to see dancers of the calibre of Romany Pajdak, Jonathan Goddard and Dane Hurst supported by other excellent dancers, makes the experience worthwhile if harrowing. The second piece by a choreographer new to me, Sophia Stoller was a short contemporary dance for two female and two male dancers (including Dane Hurst). The third dance, Communion, was specially created by the 94 year old Robert Cohan for the company. It starts slowly with repetitive, almost minimalist, movements but eventually a complex series of solos (notably for Dane Hurst, dancing with infinite fluidity, also Jonathan Goddard) and small group dances. Much of it seems to refer to ritual and community (as the title suggests). A most interesting work. Unfortunately I was unable to stay for the final piece, Imprint, by Yolanda herself, for 6 dancers to a mixture of music excerpts, including the currently ubiquitous Max Richter remix of Vivaldi.

 

 

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I saw the première of this at Pavilion Dance Southwest earlier this year - one of the most interesting and satisfying dance evenings I have seen for a long time.  All the choreographers were there, Lady MacMillan representing her late husband.    All the pieces were good,  and the cast must have been exhausted, but the evening definitely belonged to Jonathan Goddard and Dane Hurst.

 

There was a Q & A session afterwards, but as it was one of the snowy nights, many of the audience didn't stay.  Robert Cohan didn't speak as he is quite elderly and also left.  Sophie Stoller was very likeable - as was her choreography. 

 

Lady MacMillan talked about Playground.  She said it had been commissioned for the 1979 Edinburgh festival, but the corporate backers were so shocked it was never seen again!  It is definitely shocking even today but I did like it. However, does anyone know if it really has never been performed as I felt I had seen bits before.   It was also nice that they also had senior students from Rambert and Central taking part.

 

As it was getting late I had to leave then so I wouldn't be snowed in, so didn't hear Yolande speak.  But her piece was well crafted and I would have liked to hear her.  I have refrained from writing more as it would probably be too much of a spoiler.  Beg, steal or buy a ticket if you can!

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4 minutes ago, Pas de Quatre said:

Lady MacMillan talked about Playground.  She said it had been commissioned for the 1979 Edinburgh festival, but the corporate backers were so shocked it was never seen again!  It is definitely shocking even today but I did like it. However, does anyone know if it really has never been performed as I felt I had seen bits before.   It was also nice that they also had senior students from Rambert and Central taking part.

 

 

Playground was performed by SWRB in September 1979 at Sadler's Wells (I saw it). I suppose that was soon after Edinburgh. Perhaps it has never been performed again since the SW performances?

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Yes I saw it at SWRB too. Far prefer My Brother, My Sisters - it’s a far stronger piece choreographically. Playground was a great vehicle for Marion Tait and Desmond Kelly. At the time I thought MacMillan wanted to give SWRB at least one originally created tough piece to counterbalance some of their “Pineapple Poll” repertory. It had some amazing moments. Would like to see it again, but I felt it was a little dated back then. A sort of x-rated Solitaire. Whereas MBMS is amazing....

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On 21/03/2019 at 18:46, bridiem said:

 

Playground was performed by SWRB in September 1979 at Sadler's Wells (I saw it). I suppose that was soon after Edinburgh. Perhaps it has never been performed again since the SW performances?

""Playground" was performed on the Spring 1980 SWRB tour;I saw it in Stratford and Birmingham .

"Dance and Dancers" listings show it also in Liverpool,Sunderland,Norwich.Bristol as well as Sadler's Wells and ROH.It was programmed between either Concerto and The Grand Tour or Concerto and Elite Syncopations except at ROH (Grosse Fugue and Paquita).

I look forward to seeing the Yorke Dance programme in Banbury on Thursday.

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The Mill,Banbury is a small welcoming venue with a space rather than an actual stage.

I agree wholeheartedly with Sheila's initial report that this is an excellent group of dancers who presented four varied pieces with total professionalism and aplomb.

The running order was changed to put "Playground" as the central piece;I recall it as being pretty dislikeable thirty years ago but  this smaller scale version(the orIginal must have been 10/15 mins longer?)was harrowing.

It was also so good to see a piece of Cohen after so long........happy memories of London Contemporary Dance Theatre..........

Deservedly sold out at the Linbury,I reckon and I look forward to catching them again soon.

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