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Spring and summer dance in Newcastle

Published: 11 January 2019

Newcastle’s Dance City has announced its programme of performances from March to June, a season which starts on 7 March with Vincent Dance Theatre’s first all-male production, Shut Down, which explores the spectrum of modern day masculinity and investigates the pressures, contradictions and confusions of being a man.

Artistic Director Charlotte Vincent has been described as “one of the most important feminist artists working in Britain today” and is widely regarded as one of the UK’s most rigorous and risk taking choreographers.

It is followed a week later by Scottish Dance Theatre’s Velvet Petal, which, inspired by the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and the Polaroids of Robert Mapplethorpe, uses a '70s vibe and a fresh dance-punk soundtrack to transport the audience to a world inhabited by tough girls and pretty boys who live life in the margins.

Velvet Petal is about change—how humans change by themselves or through relationships with others,” said Artistic Director Fleur Darkin. “It’s about those times in your life when you must transform yourself. We think we understand at first glance but, actually, it’s when we spend time letting the object communicate with us that the magic happens. I think the revealing nature of time is particularly true of dancers. The dancers are the Velvet Petals and they open themselves towards the light and dig deep to pull us through the darkness.”

Birmingham-based company Humanhood returns to Dance City on 28 March and is joined by ex-Dance City student and BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015 Connor Scott. Described as "a journey through the flow of nature", their new piece Torus is rooted in physics and eastern mysticism, exploring how these seemingly different fields shape our human experience of ourselves and reality.

For the first production in April, Dance City will be joining forces with Jesmond’s Café 1901 (on 10) and Ousburn’s Kiln (on 11) to present Brighton-based company Tick Tock Bridget’s first touring work, Rejoining Jane, an immersive dance theatre piece for all ages, set in a cosy café environment. The show tells the story of Jane, a shy librarian turned eccentric sailor, travelling the world to find her long-lost brother, taking the audience on a journey in and out of reality, playfully swapping between the factual and fictitious. Shows will be at 6:00 and 7:30 on both evenings.

North East based Company of Others, led by Artistic Director and Choreographer Nadia Iftkhar, will be presenting their latest work on 27 April. Crackle. Dust. will be a poetic unveiling of women’s resilience, a call to action for us all to listen more carefully and a sharing of power. Made in collaboration with women from the North, the piece will share their experiences of endings that have had a life-changing impact through movement, live sound and spoken word.

May begins with Dance City’s first visit from world-renowned Russell Maliphant Company on 4 May with their new production Silent Lines. Described as "Britain’s leading modern dance creator", Maliphant draws upon his research and explorations in dance and anatomy using a unique mix of animated video projection and lighting to enhance his multidisciplinary style to produce a work which is "physical, precise and gorgeous to watch."

The following week, on 9 May, choreographer Seeta Patel reimagines The Rite of Spring in the intricate, rhythmic and expressive South Indian classical dance style of Bharatanatyam with an international cast of dancers. The evening will showcase some of the finest Indian classical dance talent from across the globe. There will be a free pre-show talk with the company for ticket holders at 6:45.

International aerial theatre company Ockham’s Razor makes a return to Dance City from 23 to 26 May with This Time. With a cast ranging in age from 13 to 60 This Time looks at perceptions of strength and ability: how we are strong in different ways at different times in our lives. Bodies are suspended high in the air and swung close to the ground in an innovative new take on doubles trapeze. A show about time, age and the stories we tell ourselves.

6 June sees another acrobatic performance of a very different kind in Nikki and JD’s comical, heartfelt and relatable KNOT. Created in collaboration with choreographer Ben Duke of Lost Dog Dance Company, the piece is modern, told with delicate sensitivity through acrobatics and dance. The two performers use circus skills to tell the tale of an impossible choice: how can we be honest with ourselves without hurting those we love?

Finally, the National Youth Dance Company will bring its latest work created by 2018-19 Guest Artistic Director Botis Seva to the Dance City stage on 29 June. Thirty-eight of the UK's best young dancers will present a unique evening, fusing contemporary dance, physical theatre and hip-hop.

On 26 February at 6:00 there will be an introduction to the season from Artistic Director Anthony Baker who will reflect on the past year and talk through the season ahead in more detail with the help of some special guest performers. Tickets are £2.50 and include complimentary drinks and nibbles. Tickets for all the season’s shows will be available to all who attend at a 10% discount.

Peter Lathan