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BRB at the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2012

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BRB gave three performances of a mixed programme at the intimate Crescent Theatre in Birmingham as part of that city's International Dance Festival. I saw the matinee yesterday (4th May).


BRB dancer Kit Holder was commissioned to expand his piece "Printer Jam" that was shown at a choreographic event a couple of years ago. He has expanded his 5 minute saucy duet to 20 minutes for 9 dancers now called 9-5. I thought it was sensational! It starts off with lots of wit and humour as you see office workers on a train/bus going to work and then their arrival. Joseph Caley is perhaps contemplating a romance with Laura-Jane Gibson. The boss is played with evil intent by Samara Downs.


She calls Caley into an office and has her wicked way with him - we are left in no doubt that she is harrassing him. His other colleagues assume that he is a toady and they bully him. You can see that this piece has some meaty subject matter (I should point out that the interpretation above is my own). Laura-Jane Gibson tries to console him.


The end is left open to interpretation......


The choreography involves the use of office chairs and, I'm almost ashamed to admit (well not really!) reminds me of antics we used to get up to when we first got chairs that revolved! The duet for Caley/Gibson is romantic and lyrical and the one for Caley/Downs sharp and edgy. I thought Joe Caley was sensational as the downtrodden office worker, his acting was natural and very convincing to the extent that I wanted to give him a hug and advise him on how to take out a grievance case. Larua-Jane Gibson and Samara Downs were also terrific in their roles.


I thought this work was absolutely superb and hope we have plenty more opportunities to see it.


After the interval we were treated to Lyric Pieces by American choreographer Jessica Lang, whom I must admit I had not heard of. The piece is for 8 dancers and "accordians" of black paper and is danced to piano music by Edvard Grieg. It is utterly joyous. The paper accordians of various sizes are used as props by the dancers. I started out by thinking I was absolutely going to hate it but actually the props enhance both the movement and the music (by the rustling sounds the paper accordians make as they are moved). The title of the piece is very apt as I found the work to be very lyrical and free-flowing. I thought the whole piece was absolutely gorgeous but there are two particular highlights - the duet and a solo sublimely danced by Jenna Roberts/Iain Mackay and Tzu-Chao Chou.


We ended the afternoon with a scintillating and thrilling performance of David Bintley's Take Five to the music of Dave Brubeck. Again this piece is full of humour and fast and precise footwork. The whole cast was exceptional.


As you can see, I had a fantastic afternoon.


I know other users of this board saw one or more performances. I, for one. would love to hear what you thought.

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It was interesting to see BRB perform in this small theatre in Birmingham. It was almost like the start of the mid-scale tour. That tour proper begins tomorrow and will include Lyric Pieces in the North and Take Five in the South-West. Therefore I prefer to leave a discussion of these ballets until I have seen them again on the tour. However, I will add that together with 9-5 they formed a wonderfully enjoyable triple bill.


9-5 is not beeing taken on the tour although maybe it should next year, so I will comment on that now. It was not universally admired but my impression was that the majority liked it a lot. That was my own view and I felt it was impressive to see how Kit Holder had no so much added to Printer Jam but rather had taken it apart and then reconstructed it as a longer piece. I do hope, though, that Printer Jam wont be lost but will be brought out now and again on special occasions.


The leading role gave Joe Caley plenty to get his teeth into and he gave a splendid performance. His character was downtrodden but there was also the impression that he could not understand what on earth was going on in this awful office. I agree with Janet that Samara Downs and Laura-Jane Gibson were excellent.


On Friday evening Mathias Dingman, Ruth Brill and Karla Doorbar took the leading roles and were also very good.

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Dear All,


I've just moved 3 posts from this thread into a new one I have started that specifically relates to BRB's North East Midscale Tour. If anyone has seen the performances so far in Durham and York it would be great if you could put your comments on that thread: http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/931-brb-midscale-tour-north-east-2012/

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