Happy World Ballet Day!

I have been having a ballet-tastic time of late, with commissions from both Sadler’s Wells (Carlos Acosta, in rehearsal for his Classical Farewell) and Scottish Ballet (their Autumn Season programme – “Sibilo”, by Sophie Laplane, and “Drawn to Drone” by Jack Webb, “Emergence”, by Crystal Pite, having been shot during the Edinburgh International Festival this year). Both jobs made me think about dancers’ careers – how they develop and what happens when the dancing part is over.

"Emergence", Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Edinburgh International Festival, Britain - 18 August 2016

Scottish Ballet present a double bill of Angelin Preljocaj’s “MC 14/22” and Crystal Pite’s “Emergence”, at the Festival Theatre, as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. The piece shown is: “Emergence”, choreographed by Crystal Pite.

Photographing Carlos and colleagues, in a rehearsal studio at Sadler’s Wells was a delight – he was charming and patient in equal measure, as we got the required shots, despite having newborn twins awaiting him! This was in preparation for his new, and final, classical ballet show, the resulting shots being destined for the programme.

Carlos is bidding adieu to the world of (dancing) classical ballet this week, at the Royal Albert Hall, and on tour. At 43, he has decided to focus his career on dancing in contemporary work, choreography, directing, and in developing the careers of Cuban dancers, and choreographers, through his dance company Acosta Danza. As if that were not enough, he is also setting up a centre for underprivileged, talented, dancers, in Havana, in 2017.

 

 

Photographing “Sibilo” and “Drawn to Drone” was also very exciting. The curtain-raiser of the new season, a five-or-so minute taster piece, was choreographed by Jack Webb, and danced (on a chair) by Christopher Harrison. It is just a few months since Jack was selected as One to Watch at the Sunday Herald Culture Awards, and already his work is being included in the national ballet company’s programme. Since graduating, in 2006, from Dundee’s Scottish School of Contemporary Dance, 30 year old Jack has been working as a dancer, and, increasingly, as a choreographer. In an interesting twist of fate, I shall be photographing Jack, dancing, in “Lady Macbeth: Unsex Me Here”, by Company Chordelia, in Oxford, later this month!

 

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Glasgow, UK. 28.09.16. Scottish Ballet presents “Drawn to Drone”, choreographed by Jack Webb, at the Theatre Royal Glasgow, as part of their Autumn Season 2016, in a programme which also includes Crystal Pite’s “Emergence”, and Sophie Laplane’s “Sibilo”. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Sophie Laplane is currently a dancer with Scottish Ballet and she is developing her choreographic career alongside this, having showcased “Oxymore” at the Edinburgh International Festival 2013, which was then, in turn, chosen to be part of Scottish Ballet’s “Up Close” tour of 2014.

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Glasgow, UK. 28.09.16. Scottish Ballet presents the World Premiere of Sibilo, choreographed by company dancer and choreographer, Sophie Laplane, at the Theatre Royal Glasgow, as part of their Autumn Season 2016, in a programme which also includes Crystal Pite’s “Emergence”. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Another piece of Sophie Laplane’s work, Maze, was in the same, curtain-raiser, slot as “Drawn to Drone”, last year, after which, Christopher Hampson, Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, commissioned her to develop a full-length piece, “Sibilo” (Latin for “whistle”). The result is the wonderfully witty and intelligent 30 minute piece, with an engaging narrative arc.

SIBILO, Scottish Ballet, Theatre Royal Glasgow, Glasgow, Britain - 29 Sept 2016

Glasgow, UK. 28.09.16. Scottish Ballet presents the World Premiere of Sibilo, choreographed by company dancer and choreographer, Sophie Laplane, at the Theatre Royal Glasgow, as part of their Autumn Season 2016, in a programme which also includes Crystal Pite’s “Emergence”. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Clearly not every dancer will be able to develop into a choreographer, director, or head of a ballet school, nor would all dancers want to, but it is wonderful to see that so many people in the dance industry are encouraging and nurturing those who come after. It really is a pay-it-forward culture!

SIBILO, Scottish Ballet, Theatre Royal Glasgow, Glasgow, Britain - 29 Sept 2016

Glasgow, UK. 28.09.16. Scottish Ballet presents the World Premiere of Sibilo, choreographed by company dancer and choreographer, Sophie Laplane, at the Theatre Royal Glasgow, as part of their Autumn Season 2016, in a programme which also includes Crystal Pite’s “Emergence”. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

 

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