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The We Are Birmingham shop in Birmingham City Centre has granted us the space to display some of the brilliant costumes from our performance of Cinderella, on their gallery level, until 18 February.

An exhibition consisting of fourteen of the costumes has been installed, including eight-foot tall prints of photographs taken during the general rehearsal. You can see close ups of four of them here:

If you’d like to go an visit the exhibition, the address is: King’s Parade, Dale End, Birmingham, B4 7LN (If you walk down High Street from the Bullring, it’s past Marks and Spencers and MacDonalds, on the right).

The shop’s opening hours are:

Monday: closed
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 12-5.30
Thursday: 12-5:30
Friday: 12-7:30
Saturday: 12-5:30
sunday: 12-4:30

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the performance on Friday. Here’s a little clip that shows the journey you took learning the finale piece!

I know you’ve all been waiting for this one! Here’s a clip of the film taken by our Sutton College students. I think this really does show just how far you’ve all come.

Here’s a short clip of one of the workshops at The Pump from March this year. Just going over balance at control. For those of you in different areas, the dance artist leading the session is Dennie Wilson.

New clips to follow shortly!

Okay, there’s an edit of a Beyoncé video that we’ve been trying to post here for a while, but it seems to be disappearing from the internet at the moment. We’ve found a version which we can’t embed here on the site, but you can see it by following the link below. Hopefully it’ll still be there by the time you read this…

Before you go and take a look though, let me explain what it is you’re about to see and why we’re posting it here.

Ages ago, someone posted a video of a piece of dance from the 1960s on YouTube, with the original music replaced with ‘Walk It Out’ by DJ Unk.

The video featured three ladies, all dancing in synchronisation. It was originally choreographed by Bob Fosse, who did the choreography for Chicago, and various other things. The steps in the clip are fairly straight forward, but there’s lots of stuff with the hips and the head on the off-beat, and it was filmed all in one take, with no room for error.

Some time later, Beyoncé saw the clip on YouTube, and thought it looked hot, and wanted to do a modern version. She was due to do the ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’ video, and so they based it around this routine, with her and two others playing the parts of the three women in the original film clip.

beyonce-11-05-08-2

Anyway, someone’s now edited together the Single Ladies video with some footage from the original 1960’s clip so that you can see the bits that Knowles used, which is what you’ll see if you click here: (external site)

Beyonce/Fosse “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)

Beyoncé’s been quite open about the fact that she based a lot of the video on this 1960s routine. But do these look like 50-year old moves?

The costumes are different, but the steps are the same…

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?

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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