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Some true things about dance:

1. A performer can be more technically skilled than another performer
2. A piece of dance can be more artistically interesting than another
3. A piece of dance can have a greater emotional impact than another piece of dance

Some false things about dance:

1. One dance performance can be more legitimate than another dance performance
2. Dance is only art if it is serious
3. Dance isn’t artistic unless it’s done on a stage

Even if you’ve never been to a theatre,  you’ll already have a favourite dance piece. It’ll have made an impact on you of some sort. It’ll have been emotional, or fun, or surprising. 

Dance used to be confined to stages and ballrooms, but is now everywhere. You see it in movies, adverts and music videos. And in many cases the dance is incredibly artistic and like nothing you’ve seen before. Just because it only lasts thirty seconds and pops up in a commercial break on T4 doesn’t make it any less artistically interesting. The important thing is that it’s done with commitment and imagination and displays a high level of skilled dance.

Here’s a few examples of dance in pop culture that you’ll probably already be aware of. Some are quite simple, but they’re all artistically valid. In each case, the piece is about the movement, rather than about who’s performing it.

Two of them were choreographed by people who’ve staged shows at danceXchange, at Birmingham Hippodrome, but I’m not going to tell you which ones for the moment, just take a look and enjoy the movement.

The third one’s not available in full, but there’s excerpts here along with an interview with the chorographer:

Two quick questions for you now:

1. What did you think of the dance shown in these videos?
2. Can you see any similarities between these and what you saw on Friday night?

On Friday 6th March five groups of young people from across Birmingham met for the first time at Birmingham Hippodrome to watch Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Pomp and Circumstance triple bill featuring Serenade, Enigma Variations and ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café.

Those who came met a colourful host of endangered animals seeking shelter from the storm in ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café and will have been introduced to a morris-dancing flea, a ballroom-dancing ram, a sleepy rat, a woolly monkey and many more.

Now it’s your chance to tell us what you thought! Did you like the show? Which animal was your favourite? Have you evr been to see a ballet before? If not, what were your first impressions?

Just a quick post: there are a couple of videos available showing bits of the rehearsals ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Cafe.

I’ve included them below. While the choreography in them looks quite straight forward, it’s incredibly physically demanding as there’s just so many leaps and spins. Don’t forget that the Kangaroo Rat is also danced with a bulky rats head on too, which limits your vision and gets really hot on the inside. Anyone who thinks boys doing ballet are soft should give this choreography a go!

OK, so today has been a day of behind-the-scenes work on the blog, establishing what we want to get out of it and how it can help us to keep in contact with everyone between workshops and sessions.

The decisions are simple, but there’s a lot of them!

One of the first issues is that while this blog is for all you taking part in our current project, we would hope that the things that we do will be of interest to the general public. If you’re not directly involved in the project, and have just stopped by to take a look at what we’re doing, then hello to you, and welcome to our blog. 

We have exciting work to be getting on with, so we won’t be able to keep stopping and explaining what we’re talking about all the time. If you do need a run through of the basics of our work, check the links at the top of the page. Otherwise, everything we write will be intended for all you project participants out there, and so we’ll be assuming that you know what we’re on about when we write about stuff like dancing penguins.

As project participants, there’s no need to welcome you to the blog because it’s already yours. By this we mean it’s here for you to get involved in. Comment on our posts, come up with topics, send us write ups of your fortnightly sessions, and share your feelings about dance and how the project is going, whatever you fancy.

There is a short editorial policy which you can find by following the link at the top of the page marked ‘this blog’. So take a moment to familiarise yourself with it and start writing!

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