A virtual triple dance bill

Published: 10 November 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Eliot Smith in Onward
Yamit Salazar and Eliot Smith in TroY

Newcastle-based Eliot Smith Dance (ESD) is to replace its proposed autumn 2020 Season with a digital performance of three new all-male dance works.

New York City-based Jake Vincent will be presenting Onward, a short solo which explores the idea of taking unusual or less-travelled paths, set to Haydn's Cello Concerto.

Mark Baldwin OBE, the recipient of the 2018 De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance and, more recently, Artistic Director of Rambert, has created a solo work, exploring his ongoing research into how dance can be combined with the music of Handel's Messiah.

For the third work, Eliot Smith, artistic director of ESD, takes his inspiration from the Greek mythological story of Helen of Troy but his TroY is an adaptation and modernisation of the legend—but with a twist. Set to new music by award-winning composer Adam Johnson, with costumes designed by Andrew Gregson and with a slightly unusual cast of four male dancers, the work explores sexual identity in a re-imagining of the ancient story.

“My modernisation of the story of Troy is intended to take the audience back to the true identity of ancient Greek theatre, when it was not permitted for women to perform on stage and therefore men took all the female roles,” Smith explains. “Researching the role of Helen, reputed to be the most beautiful woman in the world, but ironically in Greek theatre always played by a man, I asked myself ‘what if Helen really was a man?’ and that is how the idea of Helen in my version of Troy is portrayed by a male.”

Tickets are £15 + £1.76 fee (£10 + £1.37 fee concessions) and are available now from Eventbrite. After booking for the performance online, the audience will be sent a confirmation e-mail followed on the day of the performance by a private link which will become live at the time of the première, 8:00 on Thursday 3 December 2020.