Friday, 10 June 2011

The End of Year Show starts tonight!

Hello everyone,

We are pleased to announce that the End of Year Show starts tonight! Take advantage of our special ticket offer: Buy 3 get one free. Bring 4 friends for the price of 3!

See you there!

The production team

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Brief history of dances performed at the EOYS

Contemporary dance is a genre of concert dance that employs compositional philosophy, rather than choreography, to guide unchoreographed movement. It uses dance techniques and methods found in ballet, modern dance and postmodern dance, and it also draws from other philosophies of movement that are outside the realm of classical dance technique.
The term "contemporary dance" is sometimes used to describe dance that is not classical jazz or traditional folk/cultural dance. The hallmark of contemporary dance is an awareness of the limitations of form. Sub-genres recently defined by dance critics include non-dance, conceptual dance and pedestrian contemporary.
African dance refers mainly to the dance of Sub-Saharan Africa, and more appropriately African dances because of the many cultural differences in musical and movement styles. These dances must be viewed in close connection with African music, as many African languages have no word to define music.
These dances teach social patterns and values and help people work, mature, praise or criticize members of the community while celebrating festivals and funerals, competing, reciting history, proverbs and poetry; and to encounter gods. The most widely used musical instrument in Africa is the human voice.
Although nomadic groups such as the Maasai do not traditionally use drums; in villages throughout the continent, the sound and the rhythm of the drumexpress the mood of the people. The drum is the sign of life; its beat is the heartbeat of the community. Such is the power of the drum to evoke emotions, to touch the souls of those who hear its rhythms. In an African community, coming together in response to the beating of the drum is an opportunity to give one another a sense of belonging and of solidarity. It is a time to connect with each other, to be part of that collective rhythm of the life in which young and old, rich and poor, men and women are all invited to contribute to the society.


Hip-hop dance refers to dance styles primarily danced to hip-hop music or that have evolved as part of hip-hop culture. This includes a wide range of styles notably breaking, locking, and popping which were developed in the 1970s by Black and Latino Americans. What separates hip-hop dance from other forms of dance is that it is often freestyle (improvisational) in nature and hip-hop dancers frequently engage in battles—formal or informal freestyle dance competitions. Informal freestyle sessions and battles are usually performed in a cipher, "a circular dance space that forms naturally once the dancing begins." These three elements—freestyling, battles, and ciphers—are key components of hip-hop dance.

Ballet is a formalized form of dance with its origins in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 20th century styles of ballet continued to develop and strongly influence broader concert dance, for example, in the United States choreographer George Balanchine developed what is now known as neoclassical ballet, subsequent developments have included contemporary ballet and post-structural ballet, for example seen in the work of William Forsythe in Germany.
The etymology of the word "ballet" reflects its history. The word ballet comes from French and was borrowed into English around the 17th century. The French word in turn has its origins in Italian balletto, a diminutive of ballo (dance). Ballet ultimately traces back to Latin ballare, meaning "to dance".

Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from North India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers. These bards, performing in village squares and temple courtyards, mostly specialized in recounting mythological and moral tales from the scriptures, and embellished their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. It was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures, to enliven the stories. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement. From the 16th century onwards it absorbed certain features of Persian dance and Central Asian dance which were imported by the royal courts of the Mughal era.
The name Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit word katha meaning story, and katthaka in Sanskrit means s/he who tells a story, or to do with stories. The name of the form is properly कत्थक katthak, with the geminated dental to show a derived form, but this has since simplified to modern-day कथकkathak. kathaa kahe so kathak is a saying many teachers pass on to their pupils, which is generally translated, 's/he who tells a story, is a kathak', but which can also be translated, 'that which tells a story, that is Kathak'.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Interview with choreographer Jean Johnson-Jones

About Dr Jean Johnson-Jones

Jean Johnson-Jones’s research examines Laban Movement Analysis (LMA), Labanotation (LN) and anthropological methods as effective tools for understanding and documenting movement as cultural code particularly in reference to African Peoples’ Dance.

Her PhD research (The Nama Stap: (Re)Constructing a Cultural Code Among the Nama) involved field-research among the indigenous people of South Africa, the Khoisan, and merges LMA/LN and anthropological methodologies.  This research has exposed the need for further research relating to issues concerning the limitation(s) of Laban Analysis to the documentation of non-theatre dance forms and the question of what is ‘African’ Dance in the 21st century
In collaboration with the Centre for Cross-Cultural Music and Dance Performance and Badejo Arts she is analysing and documenting the movement of Bata, a dance tradition of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Outputs from this research will consist of text based and interactive visual scores cataloguing the music, dancing, history, and context of Bata in its home context and the Diaspora.  Extended research will address Bata in its western context in which transformations in the form will be examined.

About the piece Water Study (1928)
Choreography: Doris Humphrey                                     Staged by:  Jean Johnson Jones

Choreographed by Doris Humphrey, one of the ‘pioneers’ of the American modern dance movement, Water Study is performed by an ensemble of ten (sometimes fourteen) female dancers.  It is performed without external accompaniment—music or sound—and projects Humphrey’s mastery of spatial design, her characteristic use of energy, dynamics, body/breath rhythm, and celebrated ‘fall and recovery’ phrasing.  This restaging of Water Study is a reconstruction from the Labanotated score.  The reconstruction is distinctive in its approach to the revival of the dance. 

Through the application of the principles of various somatic body practices such as: Bartenieff Fundamentals, Body Mind Cantering, Laban Movement Analysis, Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates, the dancers were introduced to the ‘Humphrey style’ as revealed in Water Study.  This approach to the dance provided the dancers with a contemporary view of Humphrey’s style and a connection with a dance material that they had little, if any, bodily experience of.    

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Interview with choreographer Jo Read

The End of Year dance show will include a piece by recent graduate and emerging choreographer Jo Read. Jo's Hip Hop piece, North Wind and Wind and Sun was recently commisssioned by Woking Dance Festival and features dancers from the Dance, Film and Theatre. 

About Jo Read

Jo's interest in choreography was sparked when studying dance at the University of Surrey, gaining a BA hons in Dance and Culture (1st class) in 2009, and an MA (dist) in Dance Cultures Histories and Practices in 2010. She works as a choreographer and a teacher for a range of organisations and institutions, specialising in hip hop and street dance styles.

About her piece The North Wind and the Sun

 'The North Wind and the Sun', was first choreographed for her final degree piece, and when she became an Associate Emerging Artist for Woking Dance Festival in January 2011, she was commissioned to recreate and extend the piece to be performed as part of Spring Shorts 2011 and a Schools Tour in the South East. This hip hop piece tells the story of the North Wind and the Sun, one of Aesop's Fables. The piece explores the journey of a girl wearing a new jacket, and series of strange events that take place after her bus is late and she has to walk. Whilst on her way through a busy town,the forceful, she catches the attention of the aggressive North Wind, who challenges the wise, patient Sun to a game; to be the first to take the girls jacket off, which has unexpected consequences. 

The piece is designed for key stage 2 children, and Jo is interested in how thought provoking and useful messages can be conveyed to children this age by telling stories using popular dance and music, rather than in the traditional way using words. 

People involved in the piece

Title: The North Wind and the Sun - A Woking Dance Festival Commission
Choreographer: Jo Read
Dancers: Sofia Klepacz, Sam Jones, Sylva Cardew, Laura Mercer, Giovanna Lopez, Katie Paris, Rachel Gildea, Vicky Giles, Celena Monteiro, Sophia Davis, Emily Labhart, Jill Douglas.
Music: Jamie Harber
Artwork: Alexia Vassilarou

About Me

Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
Dance students at the University of Surrey invite audiences to see a wide range of dance performances, ranging from Contemporary to Ballet, African, Kathak and Hip Hop. Always a wonderful finale to the year, these shows are a fantastic opportunity to see young emerging choreographers and dancers to showcase and celebrate their exciting new work. The evening will also include pieces by Jean Johnson-Jones, Lecturer in Dance Studies, and by recent graduate and emerging choreographer Jo Read. Jo’s Hip Hop piece, North, Wind and Sun was recently commissioned by Woking Dance Festival and features dancers from the Dance, Film and Theatre. Water Study, staged by Jean Johnson-Jones is an ensemble piece designed for ten female dancers.