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 Post subject: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2002 2:08 am 
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Rubber and no restraint
The Cholmondeleys, Featherstonehaughs And The Victims Of Death In "3" [not "Smithereens" as it says in the headline, which was their last show]. By Sarah Frater in The Evening Standard

Lea Anderson is not one for restraint. The doyen of decadence piles fetish upon fetish and deviance on desire, her signature choreography an unnerving smorgasbord of repression run amok.

Her two troupes, the all-female Cholmondeleys and all-male Featherstonehaughs, are enthusiastically in on the act and danced her new work, the cryptically named "3", with relish. Part Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, part Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills, the triptych begins with all 10 of Anderson's dancers in girlish smocks and misapplied smears of make-up.

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<small>[ 25 May 2004, 06:05 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2002 10:47 pm 
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Lea Anderson’s 3 has a set theme for each dance, namely childhood, sex and death. In the opening piece ‘The Realms of the Unreal’, the dancers on stage are in sinister clown make-up and brightly coloured dolly dresses and do a disturbing dance to a dystopic live score provided by The Victims of Death. The movement is instense and personal weaves itself across the stage in the form of mini-solos, duets and trios. It isn’t ‘pretty movement’ by any means, if anything it is grotesque and reminiscent of a movement in European theatre called The Theatre of Pain. <P>Dance #2 is ‘The Black Rose Mandala’ – by far the most compelling, is an ironic look at images presented to us around S&M pornography. The costuming is camp – think Rocky Horror Picture Show – and the set is made up of 4 white bands that cross the stage which the dancers entangle themselves in and out of in various fits of bondage. Anderson puts these images on display for us in a kaleidescopic fashion, paying special attention to symmetry in her choreography.<P>The final piece is ‘Limbo’. Here we find the dancers on stage in wild almost Hallowe’en like make-up, conjuring images of the cult classic film ‘Return of the Living Dead’. Fluorescent tube lights hang vertically on stage and the dancers make their way around them. There is more of the grotesque physicality in this piece that harkens back to ‘The Realms of the Unreal’, images of stabbings, hari kari and the like pour out on to the stage through the dancers bodies. Again, we have Victims of Death playing their electronic sampled acoustic score tying together this piece.<P>Anderson’s attention to set design, costuming and in general, all things visual is great. The evening was like watching a tryptych painting in motion. But for me, the physical movement did not push itself far enough to qualify as ‘dance’ and it made me wonder how she manages to get ‘dance’ funding for her work when it is so obvious that 3 sits in the ‘dance theatre’ arena. <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2002 12:58 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
1 - In the Realms of the Unreal: Clad in Victorian children's smocks the dancers skip and whirl maniacally in a candy-coloured nightmarish playtime.

2 - Black Rose Mandala: Forming multi-limbed tableaux the high-heeled, corseted and top-hatted (and that's not just the women) dancers strut one by one through a giant grid of elastic.

3 - Limbo: A Hammer Horror zombie dance of death.

Thanks for this review Christine. In answer to your point about funding, the way the Arts Council of England is currently organised means that all the dance theatre companies such as DV8 come under the Dance Department. I'm not a great one for categorization, so this seems like a sensible arrangement to me.

The ideas behind "3" largely eluded me, but for the first two sections my interest was retained by the strong visuals, high performance standards and the clever manipulation of movement from children in the first section "In the Realms of the Unreal" and soft porn in the second, "Black Rose Mandala". However, the writhing and static quality of the third section, "Limbo", with heavily made-up ghouls, made no impression on me. I felt sorry for the dancers as they came out to luke-warm applause from the audience, who I suspect would have been more enthusiastic about the first two sections.

However, Lea Anderson, the choreographer and Artistic Director of the Chums and Fans has come up with the goods on many occasions and I shall look forward to seeing her future works.

[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited April 10, 2002).]

<small>[ 25 May 2004, 06:05 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2002 1:50 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Stephanie Ferguson gets a kick from the macabre "3". A review from when the show was touring last year.<P><B>Playtime for a mad genius</B> <BR>4 stars (out of 5)<BR>Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs<BR>Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield<BR>By Stephanie Ferguson in The Guardian <P><BR>Clad in black corsets, stockings and suspenders, they sashay and goose-step in four-and-a-half-inch heels. And that's not just the women. Lea Anderson's latest venture, 3, veers from the louche decadence of Weimar Republic cabarets to the undead of Michael Jackson's Thriller, via nightmarish playtime with traumatised children, like something from a Romanian orphanage. <P>In contrast to the minute fragments pieced together in her last work, Smithereens, Anderson has created a triple bill of 20-minute pieces for the all-male "Fans" and female "Chums". Inspired by photographs of children, In the Realms of the Unreal features the 10 dancers as grotesque youngsters in Victorian smocks, faces clagged with paint, mouths forming scarlet O-shapes in silent screams. They rock, tiptoe and hug themselves in this surreal junior bedlam.<P><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4282990,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2002 12:39 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in The Sunday Times (please scroll down)

Quote:
Simply naming Lea Anderson’s two dance companies, The Cholmondeleys (female) and The Featherstonehaughs (male), plus their musical duo The Victims of Death, occupies space — and I’ll take up a bit more by complaining that the in-joke names have by now worn thin. Their latest joint extravaganza, titled 3, is indeed in three parts.
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<small>[ 25 May 2004, 06:07 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2002 12:56 am 
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Two articles from the Scottish press:

Fans of chums
An uncredited interview with Lea Anderson from The Evening News (Scotland)

THE Cholmondeleys and The Featherstone-haughs are not your normal dance company. For one thing, they’re actually two companies who often (but not always) work together, both founded by their joint artistic director Lea Anderson.

Then there are those names, their ridiculously posh titles both a joke at the expense of the dance establishment and its image and also a sly way of distinguishing their own elite who know how to pronounce them (for the record, it’s Chumleys and Fanshaws, or the Chums and the Fans to their, er, fans).

Still, it’s nevertheless a surprise to hear the cheerfully unpretentious Anderson admit that the good thing about the latest show from the two companies is that there’s an interval. "It’s good to be able to do that, because sometimes modern dance can be a bit of a hard slog," she says.

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*****************************

Stripped
Kelly Apter in The Scotsman does not enjoy The Chums etc, but is impressed with Anna Krzystek.

ADULTS skip across the stage in little girls’ frocks and clown make-up; men dressed in high heels and suspenders bend suggestively over vast strips of elastic; and the living dead throw menacing looks into the audience. Yet despite this bizarre cocktail of events, the strangest thing about 3 from The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs is how a show so superficially entertaining fails to engage on any other level.

Artistic director Lea Anderson has been in the business so long she could create a show with her eyes closed, which is one possible explanation for the distinct lack of choreography.

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<small>[ 25 May 2004, 06:08 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2004 1:28 am 
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Quote:
Hot dates for your diary

The Observer
April 11, 2004

19 Dance
Double Take: The Cholmondeley's and the Featherstonehaugh's 20th Anniversary Tour

Lea Anderson reunites her two companies, The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs (The Chums and Fans) for a Double Take tour of gems from the past.
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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 5:54 am 
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Boys will be girls
Lea Anderson is still cocking a snook at dance convention, says Donald Hutera for The Times


Anderson rose to the front ranks of British dance in the 1980s, alongside Bourne, Clark and Lloyd Newson of DV8 Physical Theatre. Starting in 1984, Anderson diligently carved a place for herself within the industry as a choreographer with a style more original — if less commercially viable — than that of Bourne, a fellow Laban conservatory graduate, and less provocative than Clark’s.

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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2004 2:44 am 
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Quote:
Whatever way you say it, they can still cut it 20 years on

By ROSE JENNINGS
The Observer
May 23, 2004

Ten years on, and 20 from the founding of the Chums, and both she and they are still going. This 20th anniversary is marked by a double performance: the Featherstonehaughs perform Flesh & Blood, which was originally created in 1989 for the Cholmondeleys, while the Chums perform selections from the all-male Featherstonehaughs' repertoire. The music is by Steve Blake and the band Victims of Death, the costumes designed by the Oscar-winning Sandy Powell and Emma Fryer.
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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2004 2:10 pm 
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The Cholmondeleys and the Featherstonehaughs – ‘Double Take’
Queen Elizabeth Hall
20 May 2004

Lea Anderson’s Chumlees and Fanshaws (it’s easier to write them the way they’re pronounced) are 20 years old this year and what better way to celebrate than a birthday bash. To add a bit of a twist to the proceedings, Anderson has thrown in some characteristic gender bending. From Shakespeare to panto to drag, there’s always been something intriguing and entertaining about a man playing a woman’s role, and vice versa, and Anderson carries on the noble tradition. In this case, the all-male Fanshaws dance ‘Flesh and Blood’, a piece created for the all-female Chums in 1989, and the female troupe serve up a selection of short Fanshaw pieces from the repertoire.

The girls look like they’re having a ball in a series of cabaret inspired, pulp/pop culture pieces. Dressed like spivs in suits and quiffs, they drink and banter round a smoky bar room table waiting for their turn in the spotlight. The simplest ideas are often the best. ‘Greetings’ is a duet composed entirely of gestures of greeting that is inventive, comic and acutely observed. ‘Strangers’ sees the dancers combining a karaoke rendition of Strangers in the Night with a Twister-style game of contortion. Best of all is ‘Elvis Legs’, a montage of the King’s most hip-swinging dance moves. A crowd pleaser yes, but a brilliantly executed piece of dance too.

One of Anderson’s best qualities is the ability to create radically different worlds just by changing her dancers’ gait and gestures. She can completely dissolve their personalities, their egos and their human qualities in one twist of a torso. The men in Flesh and Blood are monk-like, in floor-length lamé dresses and rouged cheeks. Their square shoulders bulge in their frocks, their presence is alien and their obsessive, repetitive moves slightly disconcerting. One minute they’re seemingly chained to the earth, their limbs making mechanical moves, the next they’re spelling out delicate hand gestures like overgrown geisha.

It’s hard to believe these are the same men who tumble back on stage at the end of the show to join in with the girls in a spirited finale. Bouncing up and down in t-shirts, sweatpants and big smiles they look like any other gang of pretty boy dancers. Just goes to show what a difference a dress makes.


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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 11:10 pm 
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Quote:
Double Take

By JUDITH MACKRELL
The Guardian
May 25, 2004

Most of the dancers in Double Take are new, but it is proof of Anderson's singularity of vision that none of the works have dated, and that they accommodate the gender swap so effectively.
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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 11:16 pm 
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Quote:
Double Take, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

By ZOE ANDERSON
The Independent
May 24, 2004

For their 20th anniversary, The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs have switched gender. In the current tour, Lea Anderson's two groups - all-female Chums and all-male Fans - borrow each other's repertory.
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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 1:07 am 
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<img src="http://www.thecholmondeleys.org/currentproduction/l-front.jpg" alt="" />

The Cholmondeleys and the Featherstonehaughs – ‘Double Take’
Queen Elizabeth Hall
21 May 2004


I really enjoyed this show. The all-male version of "Flesh and Blood" had power and guts, if not the finesse, of the earlier all-girl versions. It provides an opportunity to assess what is distinctive about Lea Anderson's choreography. My impression is that she makes greater use of unison than her contemporary dance peers, whether it be for the full ensemble or with sets of dancers performing unison in contrapuntal mode. Gestural movement is also important, especially in the trio at the front of the stage early on in "Flesh and Blood", speeding up to a frantic pace. Anderson also finds unusual movement, such as the dancers on the floor performing sinister scorpion-like oscillations. Overall this study of obsession and ecstasy retains its power and the designs, so cutting edge when first seen, still look good.

I saw an early version of "Double Take" which closed the opening Gala for Laban and again it provided as much fun as I've had with my clothes on. It's based on a cabaret format reflecting the origin of the ten short dances in bars and clubs with beer-covered floors. Girls in suits always have a head start and "Walking Woman" with hats as well again shows Anderson's skill with unison and variations. "Greetings", based on forms of.... greetings, is fine fun leaving you wondering what will come next as we pass quickly through typical hand-shakes and cheek kissing on to uncharted waters of knee grabbing and other arcane practises.

The high spot has to be "Elvis Legs" which takes some interesting moves from The King and transforms them into a wonderful trio dancing on the spot and set on a diagonal. In "Elvis" and other numbers Maho Ihara's pure dance skills stand out in a talented team of dance theatre artists. Centred, full of precise dynamism and swinging her arms and legs to the beat, Iharo is truly a King or perhaps a Queen.

Happy 20th Birthday Lea and here's to many more, combining humour and high-class choreography.

<small>[ 25 May 2004, 06:15 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 3:46 am 
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Where women wear the trousers
By Debra Craine for The Times


GENDER has always been an issue in Lea Anderson’s work. She started with an all-female dance company, the Cholmondeleys, in 1984 and several years later formed the all-male Featherstonehaughs. Occasionally they danced together, but for the most part Anderson created distinct choreography that saw her two single-sex dance troupes develop along separate, and quite individual, lines.

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 Post subject: Re: The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs
PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 3:56 am 
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The Cholmondeleys and the Featherstonehaughs, with Victims of Death - Double Take
By Diana Evans for The Stage

The Cholmondeleys and the Featherstonehaughs would not be who they were if they did not mark their twentieth anniversaries with a twist.

Lea Anderson's eccentric all-female and all-male companies have swapped genders. The Cholmondeleys are now six men in metallic olive-green dresses, walking into the smoke of Anderson's 1997 classic, Flesh & Blood, as the Victims of Death unleash a noisy, hard-edged rock arrangement into the atmosphere.

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