Posts Tagged ‘carmen sweet

07
Feb
14

Expressions Dance Company 2014 season launch

 

EDC 2014 Season Launch

QPAC Concert Hall

Thursday February 6 2014

 

Attended by Xanthe & Poppy Coward

 

 

EDC Season Launch_feb2014

 

Expressions Dance Company launched their 2014 season last night on stage at QPAC’s Concert Hall. That’s right. We joined the company on the stage, gathering early for social pics and drinks and all that stuff, and right on cue, as the lights changed dramatically, we moved back around the edges to allow current company dancers to move in exquisitely controlled slow motion across the space. It was a suitably dramatic opening preceding heart warming speeches that celebrated the company’s success over thirty years and looked to the future.

 

edc_launch1

 

edc_launch2

 

 

EDC’s 2014 program features three home seasons and a tour, including the world premiere of Artistic Director Natalie Weir’s new signature work The Red Shoes, and the return of Australia’s only solo dance festival.

SOLO is dance nourishment for the soul; a tantalising menu curated by Natalie Weir to showcase individual dancers and choreographers in an evening of beautiful artistry and bravura. Produced in association with QPAC & featuring artists from –

Expressions Dance Company (Brisbane)
The Australian Ballet (Melbourne)
Australian Dance Theatre (Adelaide)
Chunky Move (Melbourne)
Dancenorth (Townsville)
Shaun Parker & Company (Sydney)
And Australia’s brightest independents

solodancefestival

 

“As we enter EDC’s 30th-year-anniversary of commitment to producing and showcasing exceptional dance, we thought it the opportune time to bring back some of the company’s most-loved works from recent years, alongside a major new signature work and a contemporary dance festival,” Artistic Director Natalie Weir said. It’s Weir’s sixth year at the company, and her fifth as AD – she shows no signs of slowing down but rather, a fierce determination to take the company to the world!

 

EDC_Web_Seasons_TheRedShoes

CARMEN SWEET + R&J

A Natalie Weir Double Bill
Wednesday 19 – Friday 21 February 2014
EDC Studio, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

SOLO FESTIVAL OF DANCE

Australia’s only solo dance festival
Thursday 15 – Saturday 24 May 2014
Cremorne Theatre, QPAC
Presented by EDC in partnership with QPAC

THE RED SHOES

A Natalie Weir Signature Work starring Elise May
Friday 18 – Saturday 26 July 2014
Playhouse, QPAC
Produced by EDC in partnership with QPAC

CARMEN SWEET QLD TOUR

Thursday 2 October 2014, Ipswich Civic Centre
Tuesday 7 & Wednesday 8 October 2014, Centre of Contemporary Arts Cairns
Friday 10 October 2014, Empire Theatre Toowoomba
Produced by EDC in partnership with QPAC
01
Nov
13

Carmen Sweet

 

Carmen Sweet

Expressions Dance Company & QPAC

QPAC Cremorne Theatre

31 October – 2 November 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

Natalie Weir's Carmen Sweet. Pictured EDC's Elise May, Benjamin Chapman. Image by Dylan Evans.

 

Natalie Weir’s Carmen Sweet finishes tomorrow, which is an absolute travesty, because apart from Katherine Lyall-Watson’s Motherland at Metro Arts and QTC’s Design For Living in the Playhouse next door, Carmen Sweet is Brisbane’s other must-see show at the moment, at a time when our theatre seasons are wrapping up and the festive season and its drinks are beginning to take over our evenings. “Come for drinks,” “Just drop in for drinks,” “It’s just drinks,” “We’ll bring the drinks.” Does that sound familiar? Well, at the Cremorne Theatre, for Carmen Sweet, you can take your drinks in with you. I know! The festive season comes early to QPAC! I love the Cremorne in its cabaret configuration, and to get up close to performers who are practically artworks themselves is a joy. So book a table! I’m sure the strength, tone, balance, flexibility and focus of this ensemble, which we see up close from said table, can be attributed not only to the rigorous demands of training and rehearsal, but also to the work being done with the team at West End’s Core Yoga. The secret of course, is to make it all look effortless during performance, and these dancers do just that.

 

The Cremorne space is much more intimate than The J, which is where Poppy and I enjoyed the first version of this show, during the Noosa Long Weekend earlier this year. The second half of a double-bill, and the only dance piece in the program, Carmen Sweet stood out and when I knew it was to return, I locked it in early! Last night, Natalie Weir and her exquisitely talented dancers wowed us again, with a passionate and playful performance of the full version; it features a guest ensemble of young local dancers this time and flows more smoothly from one number to the next, and right to the bittersweet end. Rodion Shchedrin’s Carmen Suite is “quirky and sublime”, the perfect choice for Weir’s reimagining of the famous femme fatale’s tragic tale. Why do we still admire her and want to be her? Because she is FABULOUS! The story has made her so, and the women who play her in Weir’s version are FABULOUS.

 

Natalie Weir's Carmen Sweet. Pictured EDC's Elise May, Michelle Barnett, Jack Ziesing, Riannon McLean. Image by Dylan Evans.

 

All three Carmens are exceptional, presenting contrasting and conflicting aspects and alter egos of the woman. They are Elise May, Michelle Barnett and Rhiannon McLean (sadly, this season is McLean’s last). They are equally matched in skill and strength, and in their fierce commitment to the character, but Elise May is something else, drawing all eyes, regardless of what else is happening on stage and even when she is completely still. She is simply incredible to watch and makes me think, every time I see her, of our Cate. That’s right. Elise May is the Cate Blanchett of Australia’s contemporary dance scene. I wonder how much longer we’ll have her?

 

The girls are joined on stage by beautiful, powerful performers, Daryl Brandwood (he is fate or Carmen’s conscience), Jack Ziesing (the hapless soldier) and Benjamin Chapman (the famous toreador). Brandwood’s entrance and subsequent solo performance particularly, is simply exquisite, and drew gasps from those sitting behind me on opening night, as did the opening motif featuring Elise May on the red-lips-lounge in a superb black gown, designed and created by Bill Haycock. Similarly, the lighting states by Ben Hughes are impressive, evocative, the icing on the cake.

 

Natalie Weir's Carmen Sweet. Pictured EDC's Benjamin Chapman, Riannon McLean, Jack Ziesing. Image by Dylan Evans.

 

And speaking of cake, I keep thinking about what Brisbane continues to offer us, not just at the moment, but year-round, in terms of its theatrical seasons and support of our artists, and dance being no exception; we can have our cake and eat it too. We are missing out on very little, really (I mean, who has the time to see much more?!), thanks to the incredibly talented individuals who choose to create and produce their work in Brisbane. Having said that, because I’VE NEVER BEEN TO MELBOURNE BEFORE Sam and I are off to Melbourne at the end of next week, just for a few days, and we’ll see King Kong and The Beast …I’m expecting to be bemused by one and entertained by the other! Follow us on Instagram and Twitter #xsgoestomelbourne

 

You don’t have to go to Melbourne to see Natalie Weir’s Carmen Sweet. It’s world class contemporary dance happening right here in Brisbane, but only until tomorrow night!

 

 

To find out about becoming a dancer at EDC or to apply for their week-long contemporary dance intensive in January 2014 see expressionsdancecompany.org.au

 

21
Jun
13

EDC: Natalie Weir’s R&J and Carmen Sweet

 

Natalie Weir’s R&J (Act 1 – Passion) and Natalie Weir’s Carmen Sweet

Expressions Dance Company

The Noosa Long Weekend Festival

Thursday 20th June 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 

 

 

Rhiannon McLean Carmen Sweet

 

See Barry Alsop’s images here

 

NATALIE WEIR’S R&J (ACT 1 – PASSION) 
From age to age, one classic story is as timeless as love itself… 

Winner of Outstanding Achievement in Choreography at the 2012 Australian Dance Awards, Natalie Weir’s R&J presents three versions of events inspired by the star-crossed lovers at the heart of Shakespeare’s greatest love story. Exclusively for the Noosa Long Weekend, EDC will revisit the explosive first act, transporting audiences to the beating heart of the modern-day club scene where passion and desire erupt in a dangerous and tragic love triangle.  



 

 

NATALIE WEIR’S CARMEN 
This iconic tale of Spanish heat and gypsy passion unravels when naïve soldier Don José has his heart ignited by the fiery Carmen, discarding his childhood sweetheart and deserting the army. Josè’s attempts to tame the freedom-loving beauty are futile, and when she leaves him for the famous toreador Escamillo, all three are engulfed in the flames of jealousy and revenge. Opera’s most famous femme fatale is stripped. Weir’s Carmen is a free spirit; dangerous, volatile and vulnerable, brought to vivid life by three dancers playing her different states of mind and alter egos.

 

The only dance event of the Festival in 2013, Expressions Dance Company (EDC as the rebranding goes), could have sold out twice over. The full house included many young dancers and their mums and dance teachers, from various Sunshine Coast schools and studios. With the Noosa area schools best represented (NPDA REPRESENT!), I couldn’t help but wonder where the rest were. Surely, a chance to se the acclaimed Queensland company on home turf is more appealing than making the trek to Brisbane on a cold, rainy night? I know, sometimes I make that trek up to four nights a week, and it’s really not as bad as many Coasties make out, but I also appreciate seeing so much top notch stuff, so much closer to home during the Festival.

 

Actually, it’s moving day today (can you believe we’re moving house in between rehearsals for West Side Story and The Noosa Long Weekend?), so I haven’t been tweeting much! Tonight I have the opportunity to see David Pomeranz’s Chaplin: A Life. In Concert & Meow Meow, and I’ll be letting you know how both those shows go.

 

EDC did not disappoint (they rarely do). This was indeed, as the Festival program promised, “a delectable double-bill of two enchanting short works.” Poppy and I were excited to see so many young friends in the audience and we enjoyed the buzz before the show began. (We also enjoyed our own little “supper club” at Gaston after the show had ended. Poppy and Jason swapped magic tricks, and we had the best duck spring rolls, dumplings and dessert!).

 

Natalie Weir’s R&J (Act 1 – Passion)

Natalie Weir’s R&J is, I believe, just one version of three – the first act revisited for this performance – and now I wish I’d seen the other two at some stage. It’s not new news, but nevertheless, it’s a bold statement to set this age-old tragic tale in the throbbing modern day dance club scene. Something about setting the story in this environment seemed cruel! But even Poppy, at seven, missed nothing and look, I’m never sorry to have taken her to a more sophisticated re-telling of any classic story…it’s never too soon to start talking about making good choices when it comes to party drugs.

 

Representing a mass of moving bodies on a dance floor can be a challenge, can’t it? But EDC opened this piece with a stunning cinematic scene of writhing figures under coloured lights, which established immediately, a sense of intimacy, urgency and helped to build the anticipation for a well-known story. It’s not like we don’t know how it ends, but the thing about a new take on anything is that we like to see how we GET to the end!

 

The star-crossed lovers are superb in their roles, the passion is there, and we really feel for them, as Juliet becomes the prize in a fight on the dance floor between Romeo and a Capulet dude, whose final blow is a king hit, knocking Romeo unconscious. This gives Juliet the opportunity to demonstrate her grief in a beautifully executed solo before taking a few too many party pills and dying in Romeo’s arms.

 

I’m under the impression we have no new young male dancers on the Coast at the moment, because if we did, they could would should have been there to see these guys. This is the kind of contemporary dance that is easy to watch and wonderful to remember. We know the story, despite the twists and turns in its retelling, and the dance is so good that, unlike when I was growing up dancing and wanted to be living that life on stage, I watch now and want to live that life IN MY LIFE. That applies more to Carmen though. Obviously, I don’t want to OD at a dance party.

 

Natalie Weir’s Carmen Sweet

I love Bizet’s Carmen. It was my first favourite opera, and for me it still trumps all the rest in terms of story, character, sound, and entertainment value. And this reading of his Carmen absolutely blew me away. With three Carmens in one last night, we were able to consider the various aspects of the famous, flirty, fiery woman. Her vulnerability doesn’t always come through in the opera, but we see it in Weir’s piece. We see the passion, the ambition, the determination, and with just six EDC dancers, to the sumptuous sound of Shchedrin’s Carmen Suite, we see the jealousy, rage, and the ultimate revenge. It was a double-bill of bold love affairs and death!

 

After seeing Sheridan Harbridge perform during her sold-out Supper Club at berardo’s on Wednesday night, her own sexy version of Habanera: “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” (Love is a rebellious bird), I wasn’t sure how hot this show would be, but hot it was! The dancers are in fine form, and it’s easy to see why Elise May received the Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer Award for her work in this production. She seems to channel every aspect of the sultry, sexy Carmen, and watches while her two alter egos (Michelle Barnett & Riannon McLean) play ruthlessly with her heart and mind. The performances by Daryl Brandwood, Benjamin Chapman, Thomas Gundry Greenfield and Jack Ziesing are equally compelling and technically proficient. I’m so impressed with this show; it left me on a high, and not the Juliet pill popping one. I’m continually impressed with Natalie Weir’s work and I can’t wait to see more from this company. Let’s hope we see them back in Noosa next year.

 

Again, I’m going to say to Sunshine Coast artists and teachers, FIND A WAY TO SEE THE BEST IN YOUR FIELD! When the shows come to you there’s really no excuse. The Noosa Long Weekend Festival showcases artists who you can’t afford to miss if you’re truly serious about teaching and/or working on your craft, and the ticket prices are excellent value (it was just $55 for EDC’s 90-minute performance at The J Theatre).

 

Unfortunately, considering the number of dance lovers on the Coast, that’s it for dance at this year’s Festival! But there are still plenty of events happening over the final three days of the Festival, including the sensational Festival Highlights Celebration Concert on Sunday at the Outrigger from 12pm – 4pm.

 

Book online noosalongweekend.com

 

And what’s next for EDC? When Time Stops September 6th – 14th at QPAC’s Playhouse.

 

Book online expressionsdancecompany.org.au