On Friday, CM and I popped into the studio at National Dance Company Wales to see the open rehearsals for Alternative Routes 2015.
If there’s anything to remind you how great the arts can be in attracting and retaining new talent, it’s understanding the programmes which literally offer a stage to unlock the great potential being nurtured within the Arts.
And this was my first introduction to the National Dance Company Wales’ annual professional development scheme, and it was great to hear that opportunities are made available to ensure that talent isn’t lost once dancers reach ‘retirement’ that these ‘alternative routes’ are not only encouraged but supported.
This opportunity is to get involved in a six-week development process, with partnerships created through the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama which partners with choreographers to realise a vision.
Alternative Routes culminates in four days of performances at the Dance House, Wales Millennium Centre and I was fortunate to be able to make opening night to be inspired by five choreographers.
The programme offered describes the motivation, inspiration and journey travelled by Elena Thomas (France), Mathieu Geffré (France), Declan Whitaker (UK) and Joseba Izaguirre (Spain).
What I loved about watching each piece was how incomparable they were. The joy of seeing what can be created by a blank piece of paper. Distinctly recalling giving children the same instruction and ending up with very different results, what was wonderful about Alternative Routes is being able to gain an insight into how ideas are visualised. Intensified by Declan Whitaker’s microcosm of this, of seven dances with no relationship but an entirely inspiring piece to witness.
I think my favourite piece was Elena Thomas’s Late Night Routine, a wonderful concept which whilst truly reflecting an everyday situation demonstrated so much strength and beauty on stage, it had humour and a situation regardless of familiarity with dance you could associate, but you could not help but recognise the intelligence of the choreography, taking such a clumsy movement of intoxication and making it graceful.
But each piece was inspired, incorporating Matteo Marfoglia’s talent beyond dance and choreography, of filmmaking, brought an additional dimension to the scope that dance can infiltrate, taking the concept of desensitising one step further by removing the immediacy for the audience.
As a first timer, I feel inspired by this opportunity. The open rehearsals adding a further dimension to the creativity process, the partnerships that are necessary to bring dance to the stage, to reality. It resonates, in everything we do. Seeing such determination in choreography, seeing teamwork across disciplines and the cross-over of talent amongst dancers into direction.
Alternative Routes resonates, the process sought by many, to realise a kernel of idea, in which ever way, into reality. And in this case, with the benefit of the beauty, grace and strength of dance.
Alternative Routes is at the Dance House, Wales Millennium Centre from 24-27 June 2015. Tickets are available at wmc.org.uk
Disclosure: I was invited to Alternative Routes 2015 for the purposes of this review.