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 Post subject: Amu - Random Dance
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 10:36 am 
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Location: London UK
Amu
Random Dance
Sadlers Wells, London
15th September 2005


For his latest work, “Amu”, Wayne McGregor has joined forces with distinguished composer John Tavener, who in recent years has become more and more influenced by eastern music and religions and particularly those of the Persian Sufi beliefs. “Amu” is based on the Sufi legend of Laila and Majnun, which has also inspired Russian choreographer Kasian Goleizovski in the past. This theme of tragic love however doesn't really spill over into McGregor’s choreography, as romantic yearnings are mostly absent. Solo dancers often appear wracked with anguish, experiencing some inner pain, the cause of which we can only guess at.

As a deep feeling of spirituality infuses all of the devout Tavener’s work and McGregor is one of the most musically aware of choreographers “Amu” takes McGregor along musical paths he has never ventured down before. The music opens with a throbbing heart beat that recurs throughout the score soon replaced by gravelly bass voices with vocal and instrumental passages alternating before closing with the ominous heartbeat.

There is a centre passage of intriguing light effects when the dancers vacate the stage to be replaced by a column of mist which hints at a nuclear explosion before forming two squares, one above the other, that seem to disintegrate along the edges, dissolving and re-forming into ghostly forms rather like the idea of ectoplasm. When two dancers return to the stage to perform a pas de deux, the light shapes break up into scores of small wriggling microcosms, like the contents of a Petri dish. A curious feature of this second half is the isolated figure of a woman amidst the other dancers, her stillness put me in mind of Stravinsky’s chosen virgin in Rite of Spring.

The work ends when the motionless figures of the dancers slowly begin to ascend upwards (towards heaven or perhaps to some transcendental state), it makes a memorable and beautiful finale.

McGregor’s trademark high-energy movement is still apparent though on this occasion tempered by the mystical elements of the score. It is a tour de force performance by the nine dancers of the company, but the production team must share the honours in creating an exciting visual experience.

I found “Amu” an intensely moving work, it was about the heart and it touched mine.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 7:01 am 
Quote:
Random Dance Company
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

At one level Tavener's score narrates the story of a Sufi poem in which a poet journeys on a quest for love and transcendence. As it charts the highs and lows of this quest the music embraces ritual drumming, deep throated chants and ululating melodies. Dramatically it is erratic, winding to peaks of ecstasy, plunging into dark thickets then flattening into repetitive trance. Choreographically it is a near impossible challenge.

published: September 16, 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 1:32 am 
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Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Hearts and minds
Medicine and mysticism meet on stage with mixed results. By Jann Parry for The Observer:


Wayne McGregor's curiosity knows no bounds. In his latest piece, Amu, for his Random Dance Company, he has investigated the working of the heart, both literally and metaphorically. Thanks to cardiovascular technology, he and his nine dancers have watched their hearts pumping, seen their corpuscles circulating. The research was part of McGregor's collaboration with the composer Sir John Tavener, a cardiac patient whose music aspires to transmute affairs of the heart into those of the soul.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 11:01 pm
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
AMU, Sadler's Wells, London
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent

This sense of pattern is a departure for the choreographer. McGregor's aggressive, wriggling style has often lacked rhythmic shape. The rhythms of Amu don't feel subtle or complex, but they are sustained.

published: September 19, 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:11 pm 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
What was that all about?
in the Guardian

According to the programme, Random Dance Company's Amu "interrogates the biological, electrical and neurological aspects of the heart". What did the audience make of John Tavener's music and Wayne McGregor's choreography?

published: September 21, 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 4:07 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Amu
By Debra Craine for The Times


If you thought about it too much it could haunt you. Each minute of every day, through a complex web of arteries, your heart is pumping the body’s lifeblood.

It’s a fact of nature that we take for granted but it’s something that the choreographer Wayne McGregor and the composer John Tavener want us to think about. Their fascinating new collaboration Amu (Arabic for “of the heart”) is all about the organ, seeing it through McGregor’s embrace of science and Tavener’s famous spiritualism.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:53 am 
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Location: Birmingham Uni / UWM Milwaukee
I'd been looking forward to this all year, can't believe i missed it! :(


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:27 am 
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Me too, Alex! I was out of the country. I take heart from the fact that Random is still touirng "AtaXia", so I'm sure we will see more of "Amu", especially as it was so well received.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:32 am 
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Indeed, I intend to go and see Ataxia for the 3rd time(!) in Cheltnam in November. I hope Amu tours soon, anyone know anything about it? the website says nothing.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:40 am 
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Amu
By Gavin roebuck for The Stage


Amu (of the heart) is Random Dance’s most ambitious, emotive and provocative collaboration to date. The world premiere of this Sadler’s Wells-commissioned contemporary dance and music event featured 50 musicians, seven singers and only nine dancers.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 5:28 am 
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Amu
By David Dougill for The Sunday Times

Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance has been the resident company at Sadler’s Wells since 2002. This relationship has now resulted in an ambitious new production, Amu, employing, besides Random’s nine dancers, seven singers in the pit and the 50 musicians of the Southbank Sinfonia (conducted by Paul Goodwin) in a commissioned score — his first for dance — by John Tavener.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:53 am 
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Tour dates taken from the Random Dance Website:

7 Feb
Amu @ Durham
(live music by Northern Sinfonia)
Durham Cathedral, UK
0191 261 0505

7 March
Amu
Malvern Theatres, UK
01684 892277

14-19 March
Nemesis
Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Centre for the Arts, Australia

22 March
Nemesis
Myer Music Bowl, Commonwealth Games, Melbourne, Australia

31 March-2 April
AtaXia
Athens Arts Centre, Greece

3-14 April
Uzbekistan Residency
(supported by British Council)

20-21 April
Amu
Theatre Royal Winchester, UK
01962 840440

29 April
Amu
(live music by Southbank Sinfonia)
Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Suffolk
01728 687110

2-3 May
AtaXia
Dance City, Newcastle, UK
0191 261 0505

24 May
New work (live music by Plaid)
Brighton Dome, Brighton Festival, UK
01273 709709

17-18 June
Amu (live music by Fenice Orchestra)
Venice Biennale, Teatro La Fenice, Italy

Autumn 2006
Random will tour to the USA and Mexico.

Full tour schedule tbc


I really want to see Amu and the performance at the Malvern Theatre would have been perfect in terms of location, trust me to not look at the website until it's too late! :cry:


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