We are now only weeks away from Can you Dance? in Leeds (parents: please see the letter on the letters page for details of this and other upcoming events). Our pieces is just about finished with a few tweeks and lots of rehearsal needed. (dancer: check out the rehearsal video on the closed facebook page). This is a new event for many of our dancers and it feels like a real treat: a day immersed in all things dance. There will be master classes and many amazing performances to inspire us.
We are really excited about showing our new piece ‘Kaleidoscope’ as it’s a real upbeat jazzy number – perfect for the event.
All our dance pieces from this year will be being performed at our annual dance showcase (again: see letter for details)
This is our first run through of our latest piece – Amicus Curiosus (Curious Friends). We are performing this piece in the Cumbria Youth Dance Festival and also applying for Lancashire Dance Festival (fingers crossed we are selected).
We filmed a rehearsal run for the Lancashire Dance Festival team to cast their eye over. There are two dancers missing, a few mistakes and we haven’t got all the choreography down yet, but we feel it’s a strong piece and are happy to show it off.
A true Curious Collaboration; everyone in the company has contributing something to the creative process. With this being our third piece we wanted to create a work that reflected our growth as a company – With a Little Help From My Friends – seemed a very apt choice.
The big builds in the Joe Cocker orchestration enabled us to play with the number of dancers on stage. At times filling the stage with our twenty strong dancer. Then dropping down to a focused few and occasionally just a solo.
We now have serious rehearsing of all our three pieces to do with four performances coming up over March and April. It’s been an amazing year so far and we have a lot more planned.
There is a letter with the information about our excursion to Huddersfield Stage Dance Festival. I will hand the letter out on Thursday or the dancers can collect one from my office at any time. The letter is also in the letter section of this website but this is now password protected. I will give the password to the dancers at Thursday rehearsal.
We are delighted to have the date for our first festival: 5th November. This gives us our first target to aim for. We now have our deadline in which we need to have completed our choreographies and to produce polished performances.
So far we have been meeting all together for a Curious class. This has been a contemporary workout with Megan, an improvisation session with Mrs Winstanley and specific focus on turns with Mr Marriott. This gives us a chance to be a whole company of twenty dancers -we occasionally come back together at the end of rehearsal to share our progress so far.
Then we split into Curiosus and Curiosum (I think the two groups have swapped names at some point!) to work on our separate choreographies. Both groups made a surge of progress initially and the pieces began taking shape very quickly.
We then began focussing on the detail, making sure every step was clearly executed and that the choreography was effective. This is where the hard work and dedication of the dancers really counts. It is the dancers that bring a choreographic vision to life and turn it from an idea into an exciting watchable piece of theatre. When we are on a creative roll the choreographic ideas flow effortlessly and many of the magic moments come from a spark of inspiration of a dancer in the moment.
We’re having a great time making our festival pieces and now we’re really looking forward our first festival to perform at.
1: having a desire to learn or know more
2: strange, unusual or unexpected
This is a good starting point to understanding what The Curious Dance Company is about.
Our mission statement reads:
The Curious Dance Company strive to inspire, challenge and develop all
our dancers to be the best performers they can be. We do this through
being the dance company that; works the hardest; enjoys the most;
innovates with creativity; applauds the loudest, loves to dance and is
curious in all we do.
It has been a long and complex journey over many years to take an after
school dance club through to being a company that creates full length
contemporary ballets and runs two performance groups; creating work
specifically for festivals.
The Curious Dance Company is now quite complex in structure and works
The Curious Dance company is a broad title for all we do; The Curious Dance Studios is what we call our festival focused groups and each group also has a name – Curiosus and Curiosum (both Latin for curious). Confusing? Yes it is but that’s ok. What is clear is the quality of work we create is outstanding and the quality of dancers that are choosing to be Curious is humbling. I am very excited about this next phase of our Curious journey.
Seeing our Curious dancers being challenged in a contemporary class,
exploring new ideas in an improvisation session and beginning learning the
choreography for their first pieces was truly amazing. We have plenty of
hard work ahead of us but the journey promises to be a curious one.
The Curious Dance Company has had many young performers go on to train and work professionally in dance. Some of our previous company members have agreed to write about their time with Curious and what they are up to now.
I performed with Curious for four consecutive years taking part in performances pieces that were taken to The Lowry for U.dance 2011, and the Peter Scott Gallery at Lancaster University as well as a dance film and numerous showcases at QES. I was involved with Curious’ first ballet, The Nutcracker, where I played one of the children and a cupid duet.
I then went on to have the leading role in the following ballet ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’. This was something very new to me as I had never had such an important role in a production. The role of Alice meant I had to be confident on stage but also a confident story teller. I remember feeling very nervous and slightly embarrassed that I had to over act my movement but especially my face. There was one rehearsal where Mr Marriott and I were creating a scene which I was nervous about, the ‘Crying’ scene. This scene involved me having a tantrum and crying. I struggled massively with the facial expressions previously, but in this rehearsal I remember just going for it and it was sort of a break through moment and I finally found my Alice character. This was also a moment where I found my love for this kind of performance style.
Curious were incredibly grateful for the media coverage of ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’. We were lucky enough to feature twice of the ITV border news. I had a small interview about my experiences and feelings towards performing Alice. This gave me a professional experience of working as a company.
Alice was also taken to the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster where we performed three shows. Having the opportunity to perform in a professional theatre, this gave me an insight into working in a professional environment.
After leaving Curious I went on to study a BA Hons Dance Degree at Edge Hill University where I am now heading into my final year. Being involved with Curious it gave me experiences of working with a company and a professional studio environment, which lead me to want to pursue a performance career. Also with the experiences I gained from Curious I now work with Edge Hill’s Undergraduate Dance Theatre Company ‘3rd Edge’.
When we start the process of choreographing a new work we often immerse ourselves in the choreography of other. This serves to remind us of what we like, what works well and provides a springboard for our own imagination. Here is just a few pieces that we at Curious have watched, shared with each other and have been inspired by. I love the musicality in these pieces; there is some great examples of music visualisation, I love the technical precision of the dancers in all the works and the quirky and original movement material the choreographers have developed.
Please leave comments on these or any pieces you enjoy watching or have been inspired by.
Auditions are always scary – often because it is unknown what will be expected of you. Do you need to prepare anything? Is there anything you should be rehearsing or practicing?
If you are planning on auditioning for the brand new Curious performance groups then hopefully we can ease some nerves by explaining what you will be doing in the audition.
So what will we do?
There will be a warm up class. Nothing too difficult just some dance technique exercises you may already be familiar with. This will prepare you for the audition both physically and mentally. This is your time to ease into the audition process so try and relax and enjoy the class. Many of you will have done a lot of dance classes before so this will be familiar ground.
You will be taught a movement sequence to a piece of music. This will be to see how well you pick up and perform movement material. Don’t worry, this won’t be too difficult – we are not trying to catch you out – we just want to challenge you a little. You will not be performing these just yet.
In small groups you will add some more movement onto the sequence. You will use the same music and can put any move in you like. This is about your creativity and your ability to perform as a group.
And that’s it!
So nothing to prepare, you can stick with your friends and you get to throw your own moves! You will NOT be asked to perform on your own as this is an audition for a performance group. There will be a panel of Curious staff who may write some notes to help them make their choices but ultimately they will be there to enjoy the dancing… and so should you.
When will you find out?
We will aim to make the decision of who is in the company as soon as possible – maybe even for the next day. But just to be sure we will have the final list ready for Monday September 12th. We will put the list up at QES and on this website. If you are not successful this time around – there is always next year.
We hope to see you at the audition on the 8th September 2016 at 3.30pm in the Harlequin Theatre.
A South Cumbrian school has devised a contemporary ballet that’s so good it’s to be performed in a professional theatre.
Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale are the first to have pupils perform a contemporary ballet professionally and will perform at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster.
To interest theatres in their work they’ve had to form their own professional youth dance company called The Curious Dance Company. It’s the brain-child of dance teacher and choreographer Jasper Marriott.
The school hopes being part of this will add something different to the children’s CVs in an increasingly competitive field for jobs and further education.