22 Nov 2016

Who gets your vote? Hull Dance Prize 2016

Five incredible dance companies are up for this prestigious prize.

Hull Dance Prize gives dance artists from across our region the opportunity to showcase their work in front of an audience of dance industry experts, while offering them the chance to win two cash prizes.

This year’s event, taking place tomorrow evening (23 November) at Hull Truck Theatre, will see five diverse dance companies perform work that draws on a range of disciplines. There’s a huge variety of work on show, with the acrobatic skill of theMiddletonCorpus, all-female contemporary group LO:CUS, self-confessed ‘apocaloptimist’ Lydia Cottrell, high-energy all-male group JoinedUp Dance Co and the cerebral theory-based work of Rachel Clarke Company all on the bill.

The Specialist Panel Award of £3,500 will be awarded to whichever company the three expert judges (Pete Shenton, Lea Anderson and Jo Fong) decide show the most promise. The winner of the evening’s Audience Award of £1,500 will then be judged by the audience themselves, using real-time audience response technology to pick a winner.

 JoinedUp Dance - © JoinedUp Dance

The two Hull-based companies competing for the awards, all-male JoinedUp Dance and all-female LO:CUS Dance, approach their work in incredibly different ways. JoinedUp Dance aim to help encourage young boys and disadvantaged children into dance through the creativity of dancers James Danville and Joe Davis. With the help and direction of Mark Pearce, the three of them have created the piece Big Shift, Small Change which directly focuses on change, exploring how Hull has changed in the last 10-15 years with music composed by Joe Roper.

“Hull is a different place to what it was years ago” says Mark, but people will mainly be noticing this change next year”. Mark has also highlighted the change in school systems and the diversity of pupils. “It’s taken a while, but we’ve become a lot more cultural now”.

All-female LO:CUS Dance, on the other hand, met through the Hull Dance’s professional class, and discovered they were all looking to take their work in a similar direction.

Made up of dancers Stephanie Potter, Carla Morrill, Lottie Hanson and Tamar Draper, the group decided to base their piece for Hull Dance Prize Whistle a Storm around Hull’s fishing heritage. Researching the piece, the company collected personal stories from family members and their wider community to discover the untold dramas of life in a fishing port town, creating a dance piece that has become an abstract story of labour and the sea.

Years ago, one of the many superstitions that people believed was that if you were to whistle on board a trawler, you would whistle up a storm. We used the idea of superstition as one of our devices for choreographing material.

Tamar Draper, LO:CUS dance

The most interesting discovery made by the girls was the story of Harry Edom – the only man to survive Hull’s triple trawler tragedy – leading them to reflect on the ups and downs of life for a trawling family.

The group all bring a varied knowledge base coming from different backgrounds and play on each other’s strengths “The beautiful thing is that not only are we able to support each other, grow as artists and experiment in our own space” says Tamar “we have also formed really close friendships which is great.”

Although JoinedUp and LO:CUS explore very different ideas in their work, it’s clear that both companies are taking a close look at their roots here in Hull, demonstrating a passion to celebrate the history of their city which (in our very biased opinion) makes them both winners. Hull Dance Prize 2016 – 23 November, 7.30pm – Hull Truck Theatre. Grab your tickets here.

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