by Jessica Wilson
The London School of Contemporary Dance’s postgraduate performance company, EDge, is preparing to invest in auditions in cities across North America for 2012-2013, continuing to widen international dance connections and develop the art form we all know and love.
Additionally, auditions will be taking place for other postgraduate and undergraduate programmes at The Place, extending this investment across the breadth of London Contemporary Dance School and connecting dance further. It is the third year of their holding of auditions in the States, with a number of American students currently company members of EDge, extending dance horizons positively in the direction of further development.
Auditions for EDge have been held yearly in the UK and Europe for both postgraduate and undergraduate programmes, with the transition to incorporate US auditions extending dance even further. As the cultural context of dance continues to widen, the future of dance looks extremely bright indeed.
Throughout dance history – and ballet and modern dance particularly – practitioners have travelled extensively, spreading their dance influence and initiating their own dance strands within distinctly differing countries. From Isadora Duncan to George Balanchine and beyond, dance contexts have gradually developed and flourished beyond conception through choreographic and training work in many different cultural contexts. The investment of London Contemporary Dance School in auditions within North America is a clear symptom of an increasingly global approach to contemporary dance training. EDge, amongst many other dance companies, is continuing this through their international auditions and further through the appointment of American artistic director Jeanne Yasko in September 2010.
Yasko is “just at the beginning of my second year, since returning to the UK. I am partly re-visiting UK contacts from long ago and partly getting acquainted with the very exciting and diverse dance community here in the UK. I am perhaps more familiar with European and Scandinavian dance as I’ve spent so many years working and touring in that part of the world.”
EDge tours almost constantly between April and July, benefiting from Yasko’s vast experience as a dance practitioner, as her own experience continues to evolve from her links with both the UK and the US. “Since being in London, I have had more contact with US choreographers and dancers. I guess that says something about the exchange that must be happening between the UK and the US! The Dance Umbrella festival in London often brings in the US companies; UK companies are going to the States, and most recently the Richard Alston Dance Company performed at the Fall for Dance Festival at New York’s City Centre.”
Yasko believes the international auditions will guarantee diversity through “a great variety of backgrounds and cultures providing dancers and teachers many opportunities for learning from each other” – “there is a great deal that dancers from both countries can give and learn from each other and the energy is just fantastic!”
EDge specifically shows dance to be merging across continents through much American influence, spelling promise for the future in creating a super-power art form. “I look for dancers who love to dance and who are able to demonstrate this love even in the pressured context of an audition…we require an adequate level of maturity and willingness to create an ensemble together. For ensemble I don’t mean just having dancers in the same studio working on a creative process, but growing and learning to co-create, contributing with the skills and gifts each one is provided with.”
EDge currently performs in England, Scotland, Ireland and also Denmark, Austria and Portugal, providing innumerate yet undoubtedly enriching challenges for the company who will in turn nourish these opportunities and build on them further. “EDge will continue as a touring dance company of twelve dancers. Our touring program generally includes newly created works, and, for the forthcoming tour, there will be two additional works from existing repertoire”, which seemingly fulfils roles of both innovating and preserving the past of dance, in order to construct the future.
This responsibility is paired with a completely new yet extremely exciting venture for EDge: Yasko maintains that EDge aims to “recruit a couple of dancers who will also choreograph. These dancer/choreographers would both perform and have the chance to create a work for their colleagues which would become part of the touring program. The dancer/choreographers would also have a mentor and have the support of the technical and costume production team” in order to shape the best possible direction for London Contemporary Dance School through this new feature, and its consequent contribution to modern dance. There are undoubtedly many plans Yasko is accounting for in encompassing additional audition dates from January 2012.
Yasko agrees that “our history is filled with dance artists exploring, breaking new ground and finding ways to make dances in all sorts of economic climates. One of the things we are learning is that we need to collaborate more, share as many resources as we can…and all come together!” This positive attitude indicates that the recent UK funding cuts will be defied, with dance continuing to expand through the dedication and passion for the form. “In January 2012, EDge, the other postgraduate study programs as well as the undergraduate study programmes will be holding auditions in Toronto, New York and San Francisco…so we are already expanding in Canada for next year…for the future, well, who knows..!”
For more information please visit – http://www.theplace.org.uk/3052/about/international-auditions.html
Toronto – Sunday 15 January, 8.30am
Ballroom, 2nd Floor
805 Dovercourt Road
New York –Monday 16 January,2pm
The Ailey Studios
405 West 55th Street
New York, NY
San Francisco –Sunday 22January, 1pm
ODC Dance Commons
351 Shotwell Street
San Francisco, CA
Additional information about our programmes and course content can be found on the following websites:
From September 2011, EDge will for the first time include dancer/choreographers in its ranks. They will make works on their fellow company members for the touring repertoire, to be complemented by works from guest choreographers. The programme for EDge students will also be more closely integrated with other artist development opportunities offered by The Place as it launches the new “Work Place” scheme for support and development for dance artists at key stages of their careers.
Assistant Editor Jessica Wilson is a final year student at Middlesex university in London, studying Dance Performance. Jessica reviews London shows for the Society of London Theatre’s initiative for 16-25 year olds, TheatreFix, writes features for A Younger Theatre and blogs for Cloud Dance Festival, with additional press responsibilities. She has completed many marketing internships, the most recent at English National Ballet.
Jessica has also previously interned for SOLT, East London Dance and the ISTD dance examination board. Jessica is a National Youth Dance Ambassador for Youth Dance England, focusing on young people’s access to dance. She is extremely passionate about opportunites for young people enabling them to succeed and hopes to continue advocating this in the future through a variety of means.