This is the final post for my series Dutch Girl Does Art & Culture October-December 2015 in which I share with you my personal cultural tips for things to do in London, the rest of the UK and abroad. In this post you’ll find my tips for music & dance and travel. You might have noticed from the title that I’m slightly cheating it and included the previous quarter in here as well 😉
DANCE & MUSIC
Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Autumn 2015 @ Dutch tour)
This was by far one of the best dance performances I have seen in recent times! It was a daring crossover of the Dutch National Ballet Junior Company and hip hop group ISH, which resulted in a truly spectacular show. Everything worked in it, from the dancers to the costumes, the stage props, lighting and video projections. The best part of it all however was the music that gave the entire performance its unique energy. I might be biased as the music was written by my hubby, who has worked with the Dutch National Ballet on many occasions, but it truly was some of his best work I have heard! The performance has toured around the Netherlands last year and hopefully it will go abroad in the near future.
You can see the trailer below and get the music here.
Rambert – Love, art & rock n roll (November 2015 @ Sadler’s Wells)
This show by British dance company Rambert was a triptych of love, art and rock and roll. In the first part (Transfigured Night) we witnessed a dramatic love story, while the arty second part (The 3 Dancers), based on a Monet painting, showed a complicated love triangle. The show finished with Rooster, entirely choreographed to Rolling Stones songs. While it was great to hear the famous Stone tunes played at such a volume at a theatre as Sadler’s Wells and even see dancers dressed like the cheerleaders straight from Nirvana’s video Smells Like Teen Spirit, the choreography itself was a bit awkward.
I’m looking forward to seeing the next Ramber production Tomorrow, which is based on Shakespeare’s MacBeth and premieres in London this May. This will be a collaboration between New Zealand choreographer Lucy Guerin and, yes again, my busy hubby!
I started dancing flamenco back in the Netherlands and am grateful to be able to continue my hobby here in the UK. I am very lucky that the London flamenco scene has so much to offer, from the annual Flamenco Festival London to incredible performances in smaller venues to some of the best teachers I’ve ever had! Here are some shows I’ve seen or participated in the last months.
Akram Khan & Israel Galván – TOROBAKA (July 2015 @ Sadler’s Wells)
I’m usually not too keen on crossover flamenco performances as I prefer flamenco puro. I made an exception for this show by Khan, one of the leading figures in contemporary dance, and Galván, a significant figure in modern flamenco. It was an interesting performance that was led by the exotic crossover rhythms of kathak and flamenco. It is general belief that gypsies from India brought flamenco to Spain and in many ways you can see and hear resemblances.
The show was pure, primitive, sophisticated, raw, hypnotic and even funny. My only problem with the show were the vocalists singing in Latin (I believe it was Latin).
España on Fire – Ollie Giffin & María Vega (July 2015 @ Ronnie Scott’s)
On the first Sunday of the month the famous Soho jazz venue Ronnie Scott’s hosts a fiery night of flamenco under the name of España on Fire. The best dancers, singers and musicians from the UK and overseas are invited to the stage for an amazing night of flamenco. Last July my current flamenco teacher Ollie Giffin performed there. He is one of London’s top dancers and I feel so fortunate to have found his classes. You can admire his fantastic skills in the video below.
Flamenco – IdeaStore (July 2015 @ Brady Arts Centre)
It was also time to get my own feet moving and perform for an audience. In July our flamenco troupe performed for the annual End of the Year Show at Brady Arts Centre in Whitechapel, east London. Every year for two nights all performing arts students of IdeaStore courses show off what they’ve learned that year for their friends, family and other supporters in a 2.5-hr long (free) show. It’s always great fun to do and to see and hear hundreds (I’m not kidding!) of spectators go wild for flamenco, African dance, Bollywood and so many other dance genres. IdeaStore courses are good, fun and cheap. Have a look at the online course guide to inspire you.
Our flamenco teacher is the wonderful Rowena Ritchie and every week we dance to the live guitar music of the amazing Steve Homes. Much sought-after flamenco singer and guitarist Angus Cruickshank accompanies us for performances.
Flamenco Academy (December 2015 @ The Courtyard Theatre)
In December I strapped on my flamenco shoes yet again for student performances. This time I was part of the Flamenco Academy show which celebrated the first anniversary of Ollie Giffin’s flamenco school. I sensed that the audience expectations were high and heard someone say afterwards that this was the highest level of student performances. The advanced students were truly amazing and I do hope to get somewhere near their level! Besides student performances, there were also professional performances by Ollie and Spain-based dancer Yinka Esi Graves (and amazing food cooked by our very own teacher!).
Alessandro Corsini (August 2015 @ Cafe Oto)
Great show by Italian-born composer and writer Alessandro Cortini, ex-Nine Inc Nails and How to Destroy Angels. More info on the show here.
James McVinnie with Bedroom Community (September 2015 @ Southbank Centre)
Did you know that there’s a huge organ tucked away above the main stage at the Southbank Centre? Well, I didn’t! No idea how they manage to keep such an enormous instrument so well hidden! Last September musicians of the Icelandic label Bedroom Community presented music for the organ.
Musicians on label include our friends Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Frost, who are two of the three co-founders. More info on the event here.
Incubate Festival (September 2015 @ Tilburg, NL)
It’s great to see how alternative festival Incubate in my old hometown of Tilburg has grown in such an international success in a few years time. Both Incubate and Roadburn Festival have put Tilburg on the map for cutting-edge cultural festivals, each year attracting thousands of visitors from abroad.
This year Incubate held their first DIY Synth Convention, which we of course had to visit since our own growing collection of modular synths.
Scanner & Joel Cadbury (October 2015 @ Belfast)
In October yours truly was invited over to Belfast to be part of the Belfast International Arts Festival, alongside husband Scanner and friend Joel Cadbury (previously from the bands UNKLE. While I made my first onstage appearance as a professional arts & culture blogger, Scanner and Joel did a special live set. You can read more about their show and my stay in Belfast in my blog post Dutch Girl in… Belfast.
Between July and December of last year I travelled to Belfast, York, Hull and the Netherlands. Here are my favourite shots from these visits.