So, after a first appearance to unenthusiastic reviews in 1983, the Trisha Brown company returned to Umbrella in 1987 to win an Olivier award. Merce Cunningham was a regular feature, and several UK premieres took place in the festival, including Split Sides in 2004. The 2009 event, the year of the choreographer’s death, was dedicated to Cunningham.
This year’s festival is crammed full of gems. We’re doing individual previews of three of its most exciting events, including the Spanish trailblazer in modern-day flamenco Rocio Molina; London welcomes for the second time Beijing’s tremendously exciting and original contemporary dance company, TAO Dance Theatre; and especially for 8-12 year olds a varied and engaging triple bill at Unicorn Theatre involving a hip hop duo, Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance Company and a piece from Norway on the theme of young friendship.
Breaking the mould
Elsewhere in the programme the notion of dance will be truly stretched with Le Patin Libre: a collective of prize-winning Canadian ice skaters innovating new forms of choreography with speed and invention. Their Vertical Influences will be the first DU performance at Alexandra Palace.
Acclaimed ‘non-dance’ choreographer Jérôme Bel’s Disabled Theater is a collaboration with the actors with learning disabilities of Swiss Theater HORA. Half-play half-dance, it puts disability centre stage, unapologetically making it the subject as well as the medium of the piece.
Every festival needs its dose of the truly bizarre, and this year that comes in the form of ‘mesmerisingly odd’ Eduardo Fukushima, who presents a movement ‘without roots’, a ‘crooked dance’ for the titular Crooked Man.
Talks alongside the performances will allow spectators to ‘meet’ several artists including Jérôme Bel, Eduardo Fukushima and TAO Dance Theatre, and the ‘Talking Amongst Ourselves’ series allows for audience opinions without fear of offending an artist or expert.
Look out for Body Politic, a panel discussion investigating participation, and the value of non-professional participants on the professional stage. The panel of writers, dancers, film-makers and artistic directors in London will be video-linked to others at BAM in New York, where Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch will be performing Kontakthof.
|What||Dance Umbrella, London 2014|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
14 Oct 14 – 31 Oct 14, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information and bookings via the Dance Umbrella website|