CriticalDance Forum

Arc Dance Company: 3 - 6 November
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:48 am ]
Post subject:  Arc Dance Company: 3 - 6 November

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WHEN: Wed 3 - Sat 6 November 8pm
Matinée Sat 6 November 3pm
WHERE: Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House
TICKETS: 020 7304 4000

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen, choreographer Kim Brandstrup and collaborators, including filmmakers the Quay Brothers, present an extraordinary production inspired by Andersen’s remarkable life and writings.

Stage size video projections, film animation and live performance seamlessly navigate the audience between the real world and the fantasy world of the fairytale. Scenes from The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen and The Shadow are interwoven with incidents and people from Andersen’s life, creating an imaginary and epic journey into the world of his fantastic stories. Performed by a distinguished company of nine dancers from the worlds of ballet and contemporary dance, the piece is set to a score by Ian Dearden, inspired by the music of Franz Schubert. Costume design is by Craig Givens and lighting design by Tina McHugh.

"Brandstrup creates his works like a filmmaker, an invisible camera panning over the dancers."
The Guardian

<small>[ 29 September 2004, 08:10 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arc Dance Company: 3 - 6 November

Born in the wrong body
Hans Christian Andersen's fables have inspired countless ballets. Few people know, however, that he was a failed dancer himself. Judith Mackrell reports for The Guardian.

The ugly duckling... Hans Christian Andersen was ridiculed as a child but eventually found celebrity and glory

By the time Hans Christian Andersen was a teenager he was pumped up with a belief in his own destiny, already convinced he was going to be a star. What he yearned for, however, wasn't literary fame, but the dazzle of the stage. He imagined himself singing in the limelight, acting and - for a brief, deluded period - dancing. That was why, aged 15, he presented himself at the house of Copenhagen ballerina Anna Margrethe Schall for an impromptu audition.

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Author:  kurinuku [ Fri Nov 05, 2004 6:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arc Dance Company: 3 - 6 November

Arc Dance Company

the Guardian

Again, if you know the life story it's apparent how cleverly Brandstrup has selected these tales. The mermaid's hopeless pursuit of her prince echoes Andersen's frustrated homosexual desires; in The Snow Queen, Andersen is present both in Gerda's dogged loyalty and Kay's blinded fascination with the Snow Queen's icy glamour.

Author:  Lyndsey Winship [ Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arc Dance Company: 3 - 6 November

Arc Dance Company
Hans Christian Anderson – The Anatomy of a Storyteller
Linbury Studio Theatre

There was a palpable frisson in the auditorium at the Linbury on Friday night, but it wasn’t so much the anticipation of Kim Brandstrup’s new work for Arc Dance Company, based on the life and work of Hans Christian Anderson, more the fact that Pop Idol Will Young was in the audience.

Once the curtain was raised though, there was plenty to keep our attentions fixed on the stage.

Brandstrup has taken some of the revered Danish storyteller’s tales and combined them with themes and incidents from Anderson’s own life – his poor upbringing, his startling social progression and his sense of alienation from certain artistic circles, and his ambiguous sexuality.

It is a beautifully realised piece of theatre, thanks to Brandstrup’s collaborators, filmmakers The Quay Brothers and lighting designer Tina MacHugh. The stage space is transformed by images projected onto both the backdrop and a gauze across the front of the stage – ripples of water, lamp-lit streets, forests, snow and ice. It’s sparsely and sensitively done, for example, a single rocking window is all that’s needed to conjure up a boat at sea.

Rambert's Mark Baldwin recently asked Brandstrup to create a new piece for the company’s all-Mahler programme at Edinburgh. He chose the Danish choreographer because he was, in Baldwin’s opinon, the only contemporary choreographer whose work could match the emotional power of Mahler’s music. Brandstrup’s talent definitely lies in creating dance that has strong narrative and emotive qualities but lacks no integrity in its sweeping, lyrical movement.

To achieve this he needs dancers who can act as well as move, and Gildas Diquero is a fine example. In The Shadow, Diquero plays a character filled with echoes of the author himself. A writer falls in love with a woman he sees in a window across the street, and unable to approach her, he sends his shadow instead. But when the shadow consummates the relationship it begins to take on a life of its own, leaving the writer a mere observer and eventually just a shadow himself. Kenneth Tharp plays the stealthy shadow gaining substance while Diquero, the bewildered writer, loses his autonomy.

The intimacy of the Linbury is ideal for seeing this dramatic work. Clemmie Sveaas’s performance as the Little Mermaid is full of subtle expression. When she rescues the drowning Prince her astonished eyes are gradually transformed with wonder and delight at his presence, as their undulating bodies roll though the water.

The original story is, of course, much darker than the popular Disneyfied version. The mermaid is granted her wish to become human but the Seawitch steals her voice and slices the soles of her feet. Unable to make the Prince love her she must kill him in order to return to her mermaid self. When she can’t, she is washed away as foam on the sea.

The darker side of Anderson’s stories, and his own life story, is well captured, hanging over the stage like a cloak, and reinforced by a brooding soundtrack mixing Brahms and Schubert with music and electronics from composer Ian Dearden.

The whole company is excellent, their effortless dancing light in touch but heavy with emotion. But this piece is very much more than just the steps, it is a beautiful piece of collaborative storytelling.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arc Dance Company: 3 - 6 November

Lyndsey, your review makes me hope I get the chance to see this new work from Brandstrup, who is on a roll at the moment. His interest in narrative contemporary dance has sometimes left him appearing isolated in the UK dance scene, but he has stuck to his guns and his work is distinctive and satisfying when seen in the context of the abstract, hyper-kinetic style of much of current UK dance.

<small>[ 07 November 2004, 04:47 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Nov 09, 2004 5:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arc Dance Company: 3 - 6 November

Anatomy of a Storyteller
By Donald Hutera for The Times

KIM BRANDSTRUP has previously found inspiration in literature for dance productions based on Shakespeare and Dostoevsky. For the latest piece by his London-based Arc Dance Company, the Danish choreographer has turned to the life and work of a famous fellow countryman.

Born in 1805, Hans Christian Andersen became one of the world’s best-loved storytellers. Yet despite enormous popularity and success, personal satisfaction eluded him. Saddled with a deep-rooted inferiority complex, Andersen was sexually inexperienced and emotionally passive.

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Author:  kurinuku [ Fri Nov 12, 2004 12:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arc Dance Company: 3 - 6 November

Suspend and disbelieve

the Independent

His work for Rambert and for Johan Kobborg's company was weightier: bolder gestures, cleaner phrasing, tauter drama. But The Anatomy of a Storyteller is back to the usual Brandstrup.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Nov 12, 2004 7:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arc Dance Company: 3 - 6 November

Hans Christian Andersen - The Anatomy of a Storyteller
By Gavin roebuck for The Stage

Hans Christian Andersen was a great storyteller. Kim Brandstrup is not.

The work on its own fails to be effective in communicating its meaning to the audience, since it is necessary to read the programme notes before viewing. It is about the psychosexual nature of Andersen’s own life and his folk tales, including The Shadow, The Little Mermaid and The Snow Queen. The music is by Ian Dearden, Schubert, Brahms and Schumann.

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