Dancing at Illuminations

23rd April 2020

John Wyver writes: the current embrace of streaming performance by cultural organisations, broadcasters and audiences means that, amongst a cornucopia of online delights, you can find a rich range of Illuminations’ productions and collaborations involving dance. Highlights of the available productions in which we have been involved include the following…

Tomorrow night, at 7.30pm on Friday 24 April, Sadler’s Wells premieres An Evening with Natalia Osipova, which will be available for a week on the Sadler’s Wells Facebook page. Included in the programme of works with the astonishing dancer is Qutb, a complex and intimate work choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, which premiered in 2016. Natalia Osipova performs alongside dancers Jason Kittelberger and James O’Hara in a showcase of the technique, energy and precision which feature throughout the great dancer’s work. We filmed the dance as part of a trilogy of performances for Sky Arts, with Ross MacGibbon as screen director and Lucie Conrad as producer.

The programme from Sadler’s Wells also includes the ‘ravishing six-minute ballet’ (as The New York Times described it) Valse Triste specially created for Osipova and American Ballet Theatre principal David Hallberg by Alexei Ratmansky, as well as the beautifully emotive Ave Maria by Japanese choreographer Yuka Oishi set to the music of Schubert.

Our co-production with New Adventures on Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake premiered on Sky Arts last Sunday and can currently be seen on NOW TV. From 7 May this beautiful production will be available for digital streaming or download-to-own from Illuminations and elsewhere. From June it will also be released on DVD and Blu-ray along with a new documentary, The Making of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake.

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet, another Illuminations collaboration with New Adventures, premieres this Sunday evening on Sky Arts. Follow us on Twitter for news of digital availability and a release on DVD and Blu-ray. Once again, for each of these Matthew Bourne productions, Ross MacGibbon directed for the screen and Lucie Conrad was the producer.

Two of our recent dance films have recently been made available on BBC iPlayer as part of the BBC’s terrific Culture in Quarantine: Great Performances initiative. The dazzling film of Hofesh Shechter’s Clowns (above; photo by Todd MacDonald), choreographed and directed by Hofesh to his own score, is a compelling half-hour of inventive and disturbing and compelling performance. Hofesh Shechter’s Clowns was commissioned by the BBC as part of the Performance Live strand – a partnership between BBC Arts, Arts Council England and Battersea Arts Centre. Henny Finch and John Wyver were the producers.

Winged Bull in the Elephant Case, also now available on BBC iPlayer as part of Culture in Quarantine, brings together a remarkable range of talents. Robin Friend’s film features choreography by Wayne McGregor, with additional choreography by Charlotte Edmonds, Botis Seva and Bonetics, performed by Company Wayne McGregor, Alessandra Ferri, Bonetics, and Far From The Norm. The music is composed by Joel Cadbury, with performances by pianist Joanna MacGregor and cellist Tunde Jegede, and spoken word performed by Isaiah Hull. Rhodri Huw was screen director for the beautiful sequences filmed at the National Gallery.

Both Hofesh Shechter’s Clowns and Winged Bull… can be freely accessed in the UK for at least the next two months.

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