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 Post subject: Dance Umbrella 06 - Martha @ the Wells
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:15 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 140
Location: London
Martha @ the Wells
Dance Umbrella 2006
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London
Sunday 5 November 2006

The culmination of this year’s edition of Dance Umbrella was a Gala to honour Val Bourne, the woman who started the festival 28 years ago and the woman whose artistic endeavour has taken the festival from strength to strength to its present established presence in the dance calendar of the country. Next year Betsy Gregory, who has been working with Val Bourne for years, will take over the direction of the festival and the Gala was in as much a celebration of Bourne’s career as a welcome event for Gregory.

For the occasion, Richard Move introduced all the different acts through his impersonation of the great legend and “mother” of contemporary dance, Martha Graham.
His speeches and remarks were fantastic and they created such a warm and positive mood and response from the audience that, if only for that reason alone, the evening would have been worthwhile.

However, there were plenty of reasons to praise the evening’s contents other than the introduction speeches… the performances were wonderful. Rarely can one get to see such variety of styles, performances, choreographers and works in one evening. It simply reminds everyone of the richness and variety of dance and, more specifically, of contemporary dance. It seems quite unbelievable that in such a short span of time contemporary dance achieved so much, but then, the speed of the 20th century and the new millennium should never be underestimated.

The evening started with Mark Morris’s “Love, you have won”. The piece had been Morris’s presentation in Dance Umbrella in 1984 and it is still a beautiful and musical piece. It struck how classical it was in terms of steps and yet, how contemporary in the way those steps were used.

Like wih Morris’s piece, every single choreographic fragment had been chosen by the choreographers present because of their artistic associations with the festival. Some of the choreographers even created new pieces for this particular gala.

The list of artists taking part in the event was impressive. Apart from Mark Morris and Richard Move, who would perform Graham’s solo “Lament” in the second part of the programme, there were performances by Trisha Brown Dance Company, Michael Clark Company, Charles Linehan Company, Aletta Collins, New Art Club, Kim Brandstrup, Seosamh O’Neachtain and Richard Alston Dance Company, who closed the programme.

It would be difficult to single out one act. The choice would be totally subjective as the real success of the evening lay in the variety and contrast between the styles and in the richness of the works and companies represented. It was like a good, a really good dance history lesson made live through the work, the determination and artistic vision of a woman who once decided that Britain should have a festival of contemporary dance. What this gala achieved was to present the rewards of that vision as an artistic reality that has spanned through generations of dancers and theatre goers.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:59 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19616
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I've consolidated two topics here:

Dance Umbrella Gala, Sadler's Wells, London
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent
published: November 7, 2006

Val Bourne's farewell gala was held on 5 November, with fireworks lighting the foyers before and after. Inside Sadler's Wells, the performances tended to be less flashy, and much warmer. This was a well-planned gala programme: affectionate, nostalgic, brisk.


Martha@The Wells
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian
published: November 8, 2006

Two women starred in Dance Umbrella's closing gala on Sunday. One was the late Martha Graham, whose grandiloquent spirit was channelled on stage by the diva of all dance impersonators, Richard Move. The other was Val Bourne, who, after 28 years of being midwife, mother, director and all-purpose saint of Umbrella, has just directed her final festival.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:44 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 6467
Location: Estonia
Dutch National Ballet, Sadler's Wells, London
Yippeee!!, Sadler's Wells, London
Dance Umbrella, Sadler's Wells, London

by JENNY GILBERT for the Independent
published: November 12, 2006

Such has been Bourne's longevity and reach that even a cursory scan of the audience revealed many more stars than were billed to perform.
more in the ending paragraph of the linked article

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