Fertile Ground announces new tour

Published: 2 May 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

In March 2015, the newly established Fertile Ground set off on its first tour performing new works by founder Dora Frankel, company member Alys North and established choreographers Eleesha Drennan and Tom Dale. Now it has announced its fourth company and a new tour under the artistic direction of Renaud Wiser and Malgorzata Dzierzon.

The new company comprises 23-year-old Kiran Kumar, originally from Leeds, and 25-year-old Ashling McCann, originally from Bristol, who both relocated to Newcastle to train as professional dancers, along with NE-born dancers 23-year-old Megan Otty from Sunderland and 25-year-old Olivia Paddison from Darlington.

The new tour is entitled Twilight Dances and the work is choreographed by Wiser and Dzierzon. The piece is inspired by Schubert’s String Quartet No.14, better known as Death and the Maiden.

“The Quartet is known for its dramatic and lyrical nature,” said Wiser, “and it provided us with the perfect starting point to create a dance that looks at our eternal quest for youth and immortality. We are combining movement and live music as a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life. Audiences can expect to be transported by the beauty of the music and by the performance of the dancers and musicians.”

In the spring dates Death and the Maiden will be performed live by a group of young NE musicians who are in similar stages of professional development as the dancers - Laura Armstrong, Abi Hammet, Rebecca Howell and Andra Vornicu. The autumn dates at Dance City, London and Oxford will then be supported by Les Concerts Voxpopuli, an international string quartet from Montreal, made up of Antoine Bareil, Uliana Drugova, Bojana Milinov and Ioav Bronchti.

“We are thrilled to be sharing our first season as artistic directors of Fertile Ground,” said Dzierzon. “Our ambition for the company is to tour and present contemporary dance that breaks new ground, that can be experienced by audiences in a range of formats and locations and that will encourage them to re-evaluate their perceptions of contemporary dance.

“We are building on the work started by the founding director Dora Frankel and continue to nurture, challenge and inspire a new generation of dance artists from the North whilst creating and presenting inspirational and accessible dance.”

The tour will visit:

  • 20 May, Sunderland College, Arts Academy
  • 27 May, Jarrow Hall
  • 7 June, The Maltings, Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • 9 June, Gosforth Civic Theatre
  • 17 October, Dance City, Newcastle upon Tyne

London and Oxford dates will be announced soon.

The work is suitable for age 8+.

Audiences at The Maltings and Dance City Tyne will also get the chance to see a new film commission by movement and theatre artist Wendy Houstoun who has worked with, amongst others, DV8 Physical Theatre and has also made two films, Touched and Diary of a Dancer, for BBC with David Hinton. For this new film commission, which will be performed by Fertile Ground dancers, she is using accessible technology and mobile recording devices to create a piece made and presented from multiple perspectives: from outside eye to close-up, from intimate and personal to displayed and broadcasted.