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Subject: "George Piper Dances. Roundhouse." Archived thread - Read only
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Carly Gillies

17-10-01, 03:06 PM (GMT)
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"George Piper Dances. Roundhouse."
   Not a review. Just a recommendation to see this if you can.
It would almost have been worth the ticket price just to watch Trevitt and Nunn in Maliphants 'Critical Mass' but the rest was great too - and a pleasant surprise to find that Matthew Hart is part of the company.
The dancers all looked as if they were enjoying it every bit as much as the audience.
Lets hope this is the start of good things for them.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: George Piper Dances. Roundhouse. Patricia 17-10-01 1
  RE: George Piper Dances. Roundhouse. Tomoko.A 17-10-01 2
     RE: George Piper Dances. Roundhouse. Carly Gillies 18-10-01 3
         Georgepiperdances Roundhouse, London 18th October 2001 Brendan McCarthymoderator 19-10-01 4
         RE: George Piper Dances. Roundhouse. Jane S 19-10-01 5
             RE: George Piper Dances. Roundhouse. Tomoko.A 28-10-01 7

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17-10-01, 05:13 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Patricia Click to send private message to Patricia Click to add this user to your buddy list  
1. "RE: George Piper Dances. Roundhouse."
In response to message #0
   Carly...thanks for that...we are going on Sat evg so it`s good
to hear your view. What a treat to see Matthew Hart again...I
look forward to it even more!

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17-10-01, 11:10 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: George Piper Dances. Roundhouse."
In response to message #0
   I'm going to see them in Bath. The only problem is....it will be in December and I can't wait !! Patricia, I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Enjoy !

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Carly Gillies

18-10-01, 10:27 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: George Piper Dances. Roundhouse."
In response to message #2

A few more quick thoughts about this.

The venue: the Roundhouse: - Unpromising from the outside, but GPD have managed to create an intimate dance space inside with a large diamond shaped stage with seating up from the 2 front sides.

The company: William Trevitt and Michael Nunn. Also Christopher Marney, Oxana Panchenko, Matthew Hart, Lucy Dodd and Justine Doswell.

The program: 5 dances. 2 intervals, and with some brief film clips of the ballet boyz in between.

Forsyths ‘Steptext’ kicked off the evening – Christopher Marney starting in silence while we were all still getting seated, and then joined by Trevitt, Nunn and Panchenko.
Very stylish, difficult, slick, with aggressive/arrogant/confident undertones, and beautifully performed by all four

Maliphants ‘Critical Mass’ ended the evening – the highlight for me – The synthesised music, and the fluidity and strength and restlessness of the movement, the inter-dependent lifts and balances, combine to create a hypnotic quality in this duet for two men.
Some of the striking lighting effects of the original were missing, but the overall effect was still stunning and it was performed flawlessly by Trevitt and Nunn, whom you can only conclude must love dancing this sort of thing.

The 3 pieces in between haven’t been so warmly reviewed by The Proper Critics. We enjoyed all of them.

Number 2 on the program was by Trevitt and Nunn ‘Moments of Plastic Jubilation’.
6 dancers. Bits of film as a backdrop. Lots of movement, lots of fun. Interactions front stage between individuals and silhouetted movement back of stage against the film.
Odd silver underpants. Some live filming – Trevitt walking around Nunn as he danced and simultaneously projected film of him.
Interesting stuff, and the piece the friends with me liked best of all.

Number 3; ‘Tangoid’ by Trevitt: - Hart, Dodd and Doswell in a fun threesome. Sometimes sexy, pretentious and posturing, othertimes reminiscent of children having fun dressing up like grown-ups. An ideal piece for Matthew Hart with his ability to charm and inject humour, and like everything else, danced beautifully.

‘Sigue’ by Paul Lightfoot was number 4 on the bill. . This had lots of slow controlled lifts, and was a sensual, moving, emotionally suppressed duet for Trevitt and Panchenko. – Or at least I thought so.-
Conversation with friend afterwards:
He: “Wow, that was amazingly sexy !”
Me: “ Yes, Quite moving too don’t you think ?”
He: (pause) “No. Just amazingly sexy”

So there you go – back to that old chestnut of different opinions and dance enjoyment being subjective and all that.

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Brendan McCarthymoderator

19-10-01, 12:17 PM (GMT)
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4. "Georgepiperdances Roundhouse, London 18th October 2001"
In response to message #3
   LAST EDITED ON 19-10-01 AT 02:18 PM (GMT)

Television made Michael Nunn and William Trevitt. “Ballet Boyz” gave them a creative licence they could not have known otherwise. It conferred celebrity, gave them a distinctive “brand” and place in popular culture, and it taught them, if they did not know it already, how to entertain. Television played to their incipient sense of irony, and it gave them a language with which to guy traditional notions of the male dancer. Now, it is clear, television is shaping their sense of theatre. Nunn and Trevitt are in earnest about communicating dance in new ways and to new audiences; their programme at the Roundhouse amounts, in effect, to a manifesto.

It is an interesting cocktail with some very disparate ingredients. William Forsythe’s Steptext was an appropriate prelude. While it has a clear anchor in classicism, it steps in and out of traditional grammar, and in and out of conventional notions of performance. We are never quite certain if the dancers are in class, in rehearsal, or “on stage”. Steptext shuttles backwards and forwards between a language that is traditionally balletic, and one that is semaphoric and disjointed. Last night’s performers with Nunn and Trevitt were Christopher Marney and the very impressive Oxana Panchenko.

Moments of Plastic Jubilation, choreographed by Nunn and Trevitt, and Tangoid, choreographed by Trevitt, owed much to the traditions of show dance, cabaret and, perhaps most of all, light entertainment television. Moments was an interesting exercise in choreographing live dancers in close synch with material projected on a giant video-wall at the back of the stage. While it had no great artistic pretensions, it was fun to watch and showed Nunn and Trevitt to have sound entertainment values. These are not dishonourable: Ashton learnt his trade in the cabarets of the 1920s and 1930s and de Valois much of hers in the variety theatre of the early 20th century.

The evening was punctuated with shamelessly self-referential videos, material from previous series of “Ballet Boyz”, and untransmitted material from the series to come. In the funniest clip, we see Trevitt trying (and failing) to navigate his way out of Manhattan. Cut to a walking shot as the camera tracks along a forest trail, and a Blair Witch Project like voiceover: “Two ballet dancers took a camera into the woods of Vermont: they were never seen again”.

Paul Lightfoot’s Sigue was an oddly moving duet between a frenetic Panchenko and a Puckish Trevitt, which made impressive demands on both. But it was Russell Maliphant’s “Critical Mass” which proved the highlight of the evening.

The video wall set the scene with a montage of boxer stills, followed by images of Nunn and Trevitt entering a boxing ring. Cut to the stage. Both men wear jeans and blue shirts. The intended images are industrial, perhaps even of prison uniforms? The first section is unyielding, with movement that is unforgivingly synchronised. Think of the Dance of the Cygnets in Swan Lake and raise that synchronicity to the power of twenty. There is no room here for error, and certainly no room for the personal. I could not help but think of the notion of the soul as “the ghost in the machine” (here a fighting machine). The following movement, a tango, charts the beginnings of a journey from the soulless towards a more realised humanity. While in the penultimate section the two men are apart and alone, they join in the mutually supportive lyricism of the close. There are some quite breath-taking lifts in which Nunn raises Trevitt shoulder high. While the lifts are wrenched from the context of the romantic ballet, they are completely appropriate here, and without sexual nuance. When the lights came down on “Critical Mass”, the audience roared its enthusiasm. Michael Nunn and William Trevitt had set themselves a task of brutal complexity and they had a triumph.

The evening raises as many questions as it answers. Georgepiperdances is a star vehicle for its two principals. As such it has a finite life. However it is an interesting test-bed for dance programming in which artistic and light entertainment values co-exist with each other. In the long-term Nunn and Trevitt may be carving out a future for themselves as Artistic Directors of larger companies. They have demonstrated their creativity as artists, in taking risks, in using new technologies, and in seeking new audiences. Perhaps they are thinking ahead to a second application for the Artistic Directorship of the Royal Ballet.

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Jane S

19-10-01, 05:09 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: George Piper Dances. Roundhouse."
In response to message #3
   Of all the strange and unexpected goings-on in the George Piper Dances programme, the strangest of all was what happened to William Forsythe's Steptext. In the unconventional surroundings of the Roundhouse, where you sit with absolutely no expectations of what sort of dance you will be seeing, all the aspects of the piece which can alienate and disturb an audience in an opera house setting suddenly become perfectly normal. The lights go on and off, the music starts and stops, dancers arbitrarily appear and disappear - and you think, why not? It might just as well be this way as any other. If you've seen it before, you notice the actual choreography rather more, and being so close to the dancers you're a lot more aware of the physical effort that's going on; but almost all the shock effect is gone. A good thing, or not? I'd guess audiences like it better seen like this, but Forsythe himself might think it had lost a lot of the point he was trying to make.

Either way, it's a neat illustration of what Michael Nunn and William Trevitt are trying to do: to to get rid of some of the preconceptions about what dance 'ought' to be, and thereby to bring it to a wider audience. Opening at the Roundhouse was part of their defence against being too easily categorised. It was something of a gamble, but judging by the size and enthusiasm of the their audiences, it seems to be coming off - there were very few empty seats, even midweek. Steptext opened the programme and was very well received, but the real hit came at the other end of the evening with Russell Maliphant's Critical Mass, a triumph for the two stars (and for the choreographer). If they're not careful they'll be stuck with ending the show with this piece every night, for ever.

These two dances, repeated from GPD's opening performance in Harrogate, make the framework for a fine programme. What comes in between needs sorting out, though. Nunn and Trevitt see their future role as producers rather than choreographers, so presumably what they've provided for this programme are by the way of stopgaps. Their Moments of Plastic Jubilation is the Boyz playing with their Toyz - wall-to-wall technology, mildly entertaining to see once, but probably a lot more fun to make than to watch - and Trevitt's Tangoid, danced the night I was there by Lucy Dodd, Justine Doswell and Christopher Marney, is a sketchy series of sketches, not adding up to very much. Paul Lightfoot's Sigue gets a much better performance that it deserves from Trevitt and the admirable Oxana Panchenko. For the company's next London appearance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in December, a piece by Charles Linehan joins the repertory, I imagine to replace one of these three: if the directors can also harness their obvious passion for video into valid new work, GPD could become a welcome, and unique, addition to the dance scene.

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28-10-01, 01:36 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: George Piper Dances. Roundhouse."
In response to message #5
   I didn't need to wait long. I was in Marlborough tonight to see them. The performance took place at the Memorial Hall, a beautiful small college hall, which was packed with the curious people. What a wonderful evening ! I could feel their energy and the audience was really enthusiastic. The lady sitting next to me had never heard of this company. She picked up a leaflet from her hairdresser's and decided to come. She was enjoying herself very much. This performance was presented by an organisation called "Operaluna", whose main aims are to encourage and promote young artists, to introduce new audiences to high quality opera and ballet at low ticket prices. Well done to Operaluna to bring GPD to Marlborough ! Michael and Billy were both in execellent forms. And I hope many people will go to see them in the next weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing them again in Bath.

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