Curious about contemporary? A season of dance to suit all appetites…

Contemporary dance is always one of those tricky things… it seems to some like an impenetrable art form, devised by dancers for dancers, but even not being a dance fanatic myself, some of my best memories of going to the theatre in my youth are around some of the incredible motion I saw on stage from dance companies that seemed to do the impossible with just the same legs and arms that you and I have. It’s the awe and splendour of seeing those incredible physical shapes and the power of great choreography that give those youngsters, much like I was, such an impression.

All this and a bit of a break from dance performances myself, have led me to get quite excited about our upcoming season of dance here at The Courtyard. We’ve a pretty mixed programme and there should be something for everyone – those seeking superior symbolism, those who want to get to grips with the community experience of sharing dance and those with a bit of curiosity who just fancy trying it out. Well, if you’re one of the latter, this season is the time to break out of whatever shackles are holding you back – there’s going to be something that takes your fancy.

Rosie Kay Dance Company

Rosie Kay Dance Company

If you like your contemporary dance uncompromising and brutally symbolic, then make your way to see ‘There Is Hope’ by the Rosie Kay Dance Company (Fri 3 May). Visceral and demanding, it’s contemporary dance at it’s most confrontational and experimental and brings a world of darkness and retribution to the stage. Powerfully choreographed, it’s the sort of show that will knock you sideways and entice you to ask some of the big questions, about life and death and survival.

Following this hell-for-leather introduction to The Courtyard dance season, we’ll be striding on with a physically-charged series of episodes from the Verve 13 (Tue 14 May). James Wilton, Sadler’s Wells Global Dance Contest winner, combines movement from modern contemporary with martial arts and capoeira; Ben Wright warms the heart with music and comedy; with further choreographers creating a fresh mix of interesting technical pieces and dynamic passion.

Verve Dance Company

Verve Dance Company

Nestled into the summer calendar, Courtyard residents 2Faced Dance Company bring forth their Youth Summer Platforms in the form of Fresh 2013 (20 + 21 June), a fabulous collaboration that creates opportunities for primary, secondary and FE college students to share their dance skills with the community. Showcasing break, street, contemporary and fusion performances, this is the perfect warm-up to 2Faced’s evening Youth Dance Company urban and contemporary performance, ‘The Calling’.

With an explosion of dance, music, live vocals, percussion and powerful, folkloric contemporary movement, Jugni will come storming in like a whirlwind of rhythm, motion and rhyme (4 July). Bring on this revolutionary, new take on Kathak dance choreographed and musically realised by Sonia and Sarvar Sabri. Striking and colourful with enchanting vocals, this promises to be a show the like of which you’ve never seen before.

Sonia Sabri Company

Sonia Sabri Company

And the icing on this dance-laden cake, comes in the form of ‘Express Yourself’ brought to us by the Hereford Academy of Dance (20 July); a fabulous showcase of passionate dance brought to you by local students and raising money for the Little Princess Trust, great dance with a feel-good factor.

So whether your interest is passing or fervently passionate, try out a dance show or two at The Courtyard. We’re even offering a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ offer on ‘There is Hope’, ‘Verve 13’ and ‘Jugni’ so it’s never been easier and cheaper to get your dose of contemporary dance and be awed by some fabulous skills.

For more information and to book tickets call the Box Office on 01432 340555.

Written by Toki Allison

Jens Lens ~ Take 5: Off the page and on to the stage

National storytelling week kicked off on Saturday 26 January and to celebrate it, we are taking a look at one of the productions that The Courtyard are taking off the page and putting on the stage.  This is Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

Jungle Book background

The production involves 275 children from The Courtyard’s Youth Theatre classes, ranging from the youngest members at 4 years old, up to the oldest at 14.  The children will act out the parts of Baloo, Mowgli and Sheer Khan under the direction of Youth Theatre Director and Education Officer, David Durant.

David Durant, Director of The Jungle Book, said: “It is very exciting to be directing The Jungle Book.   A story which centres upon the life of Mowgli, a boy brought up by wolves, in the Indian Jungle. We shall be mixing together a blend of Indian dance, with the charms of the Jungle, to bring it to life. It is always a pleasure to work with young people, especially our youth theatre, as they’re such an enthusiastic bunch!”

The piece incorporates exotic influences with Sarah Jane Matthews of The Hereford Academy of Dance choreographing dance and movement with a Bollywood influence.  Rab Handleigh is the Musical Director for the piece, channelling the Indian themes of the production through alluring melodies and colourful rhythms.

Grant Brisland, Learning, Participation & Programming Manager at The Courtyard said: “Children and family theatre has a positive impact on young people and The Courtyard strives to programme and produce the highest quality productions to celebrate the wealth of stories we all grew up with. Bringing to life stories such as The Jungle Book allows us to reminiscence on our own childhoods but also to share our love of books with a new generation.”

The Jungle Book runs at The Courtyard from Wednesday 10 to Saturday 13 April, with performance times of 2pm and 7pm.