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The Crack Magazine

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Dancing in the City

Dance City in Newcastle city centre has an enviable reputation for the depth and quality of their dance classes, but they also stage productions from some of the hottest choreographers you’ll find anywhere. We’ve just had a sneak-peek at their forthcoming programme and let me tell you, it’s packing heat.

Dance City has already won rare praise this year (not least from The Crack) for platforming thrilling productions that have touched on everything from sexuality to the eco crisis. And, moving forward through the rest of 2023, they’ve lined up another bunch of shows that look set to continue in that vein. One of the most eagerly awaited of these is Some Times (Saturday 23 September), which has actually been commissioned by Dance City. This new, full-length work from J Neve Harrington, will be performed in the round by an intergenerational cast of professional artists alongside a community cast of local young adults. Harrington leans into neurodivergent ways of processing information, taking audiences on a sensory journey through different ways of experiencing time, changing patterns and relationships.

Dance Edits (Thursday 28 September) – from Dance City itself – is an informal platform for new work presented by regional and national dance artists. This promises to be a truly enlightening evening where you can experience a range of different dance work and meet the artists who are making it. There will also be a chance to share your feedback and insights in a relaxed setting.

Payal Ramchandani will then visit Newcastle for The Forest Dream (Saturday 7 October), an interpretation of the life story of Jadav Payeng, the ‘forest man of India’, and his selfless bond with Aranyani, the Goddess of Forests. This performance (presented in partnership between Dance City and GemArts) will feature a stylistic blend of three dance forms – Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam and contemporary dance – to celebrate nature. It’s also a plea for empathy and a call to action – all set against a rhythmically rich tapestry of music.

Everyone will be off to Northern Stage for the next production, Forbidden (Friday 20 October). Presented in collaboration with GemArts and Northern Stage, Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company will pose the question: why is the world scared of female sexual desire? In this powerful solo work, Aditi Mangaldas reflects on a question that is more urgent than it has ever been. This piece explores – in a unique vocabulary of contemporary dance based on Kathak – the root of this fear and persecution.

Deciphers (Thursday 2 November) is a physical work-in-progress performance by Naishi Wang and Jean Abreu that brings together elements of Chinese folk dance, Brazilian dance styles, spoken word, breath, and ink on paper. Both artists – who will participate in a Q&A – share a concern for the corporeal connections between immigration and translation as a linguistic phenomenon centering the immigrant experience.

Moxie Brawl’s Punk Alley (pictured - Sunday 5 November), meanwhile, is a loud, wild, unapologetic joyride of live original punk music and high-energy dance. It’s a vibrant and fun space for young people to explore what they want to use their voice to fight for. It’s also fully BSL interpreted and everyone is invited to participate in creating songs, writing placards, and playing music.

In 2019, butoh artist Vangeline created Hijikata Mon Amour, a solo piece that paid homage to the founder of butoh, Tatsumi Hijikata (butoh originated in Japan in 1959 and was originally named ‘ankoku butoh’ or ‘dance of utter darkness’). The piece was originally performed in New York to five-star reviews, and it will be at Dance City on Friday 10 November.

Little Murmur – from Aakash Odedra Company (Sunday 19 November) – combines visual design and technology with dance and humour and explores the warped and exaggerated realities of living in a world you struggle to process. This stunning piece is an honest and heartfelt conversation about the trials and tribulations of living with dyslexia, facing challenges and overcoming the odds. The exciting production – presented in partnership between Dance City and GemArts – is suited to a family audience and both morning and matinee performances will be staged.

ACE Dance & Music’s Unknown Realms (Thursday 23 November) is a double bill that transcends the past and present. Performed against dynamic multidimensional soundscapes, two stunning contrasting works examine the past and present. Six dancers rise from the ashes with powerful explosive dance that uncovers the rich history of lives lived, human struggle and people letting go.

LORE (Thursday 7 December) is the new production from award-winning dance company James Wilton Dance. It’s a folklore-inspired journey into a pagan world of gods, demons and humans, all embodied through otherworldly athleticism. LORE is about connection to nature, making you feel the energy that flows from the ground, through our bodies and back into the earth.

Dance City, Temple Street, Newcastle. Information on all the above, including times, ticket details etc from:

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