The north of England is perhaps one of the best places to see original and creative contemporary dance, with new takes on old classics and new creations being showcased regularly. So, upon hearing that Yorkshire dance has launched a new initiative called ‘Friday Firsts’ I was excited at the prospect of the rising talent we would be getting in Leeds. Friday Firsts was launched to showcase new independent choreographers, with each performance having its own distinct theme. The ‘Live Bites’ session on Friday 7th November was a joint initiative between five agencies from the north to increase the visibility of these up and coming artists.
It’s fair to say not one of them disappointed, despite some initial dubious feelings of mine about what would be showcased, fearing it could be like watching a school A Level production of solo performances. However, the talent there was outstanding and from the moment the first dance started those watching were kept gripped until the very last routine, admiring their flair, technique and creativeness.. Each section was completely unique and had a whole voice of its own, each representing a different choreographers own personal training background, thought process and imagination.
Key performances were the ‘The Chronicles of Joy’ by Sophie Unwin, an inspiring, funny and powerful dance with a clever play on music, movement and use of prop. Another clever use of props was seen in Melanie Forbes-Brooms’ ‘Buy This’ where she used a combination of clever acrobatics and athletic flair to expose the commodified world we live in today. There was also a fantastic use of Graham technique clearly visible in Nadia Iftkhar’s ‘The Sense of an Ending’ the performer represented what is considered an ‘ugly’ dance style in beautiful fashion that only a highly skilled dancer can pull off.