Fri: Remotegoat

"Intriguing spectacle of bodies' scope."
by Patrick Cash for remotegoat on 28/03/10

Contemporary dance can often divide its spectators into a distinct dichotomy of those who appreciate its futuristic innovations in movement and those who are left rather cold by a seemingly bizarre set of surreal kinetics displayed upon the stage. However, what the Cloud Dance Festival's Trouble & Desire successfully did at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington was to create a vibrant, original and varied programme of as many strikingly unique dance acts as possible, so that there appeared to be something for every individual member of the audience. Whether you were a dance aficionado of twenty years' experience or simply a grudging father dragged along by his ballet-obsessed daughter, the sheer energy and piquant spice of such a show couldn't fail to enthrall one at some point.

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Sun: Londonist

The first Cloud Dance Festival of 2010 presented a hugely mixed bill, featuring seven very different pieces, at Pleasance Theatre, last night. Here are our highlights:

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Abi Mortimer (Lila Dance)

We wrap up our Cloud Interview series with Lîla Dance, a young company with roots in West Sussex. Abi Mortimer and Carrie Whitaker share the credits for the solo they presented at the Cloud Dance Festival, Here, Still Here, Still, and while Carrie was preparing for the performance, Abi kindly discussed the absent presence at the heart of the work, the company’s community projects, and their recent collaboration with outside choreographers. Interview conducted by Laura Cappelle of Bella Figura.

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Melody Squire (Sol Dans)

London-based dancer and choreographer Melody Squire does it all – from musicals to films and commercials, her career has spanned a range of genres, and she brings that experience to her young company, Sol Dans. Returning to the Cloud Dance Festival with an energetic premiere, Groundlings, she spoke engagingly of her American roots and her current experimentations. Interview conducted by Laura Cappelle of Bella Figura.

How did you start dancing?

I’ve been dancing since I was two and a half – my parents put me in dance classes before I even knew I loved it, so it’s something that I’ve always known, it’s just been my life. I started in jazz and ballet when I was a little girl, and then I went to Point Park Conservatory to train in the US. I later went to Paris with Wells College for the Arts abroad, and then I got a degree at London Studio Centre. I also trained with Intoto Contemporary Dance in my final year.

I started this company because I love contemporary jazz, and I felt like there was work to be made with people that I knew. I thought I could facilitate all of their talents in a group, and it organically came together. The first thing we did was Resolution!, in 2008, and since then we’ve worked on several projects. Groundlings is our third piece.

What was the thinking behind this piece?
For Groundlings I tried something different – sometimes I’m quite regimented in choreographing everything, but this time we were exploring with our movement material. I’ve enjoyed it – the dancers collaborated as well, and they’re all very strong performers on their own. I just wanted to experiment, as that is what is great with Cloud Dance Festival: it’s a really good platform for emerging choreographers. It’s hard when you’re in that in-between place where you’ve got good work, great dancers, but you’re waiting for funding.

How would you define your style?
It’s physical, emotive, and raw.

What are your inspirations?

I love film – I love to tell a story, I’m also inspired by music and art. I’ve seen concerts, circuses that were simply amazing. I come from Chicago, and I grew up with Hubbard Street Dance and Alvin Ailey coming through – they inspired me, and I come from that background of emotional movement, where music is quite strong.

What’s next for you after the festival?
We’ll break up for the Christmas holidays, but we’ll start looking for festivals to take part in again in 2010. We will also try to get funding, as we don’t have any yet. Hopefully that way we’ll be able to get another piece or two together, and have an evening of works to present.

Any Christmas wishes for your company?
I just hope the dancers enjoy themselves, because they worked very hard, and that the audience will enjoy Groundlings as well. I like the audience to be entertained and engaged in what they’re watching.

Many thanks to Chantal Guevara for making these interviews possible.