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Yorke Dance Project TWENTY anniversary tour

Published: 16 November 2018
Reporter: Vera Liber

2019 sees Yolande Yorke-Edgell’s contemporary ballet company Yorke Dance Project celebrating its 20th anniversary. Yorke-Edgell first set up her company in Los Angeles in 1999, relaunching it when she returned to London 2009.

For TWENTY, Yorke-Edgell has curated a programme featuring new works by Robert Cohan CBE, LA-based Sophia Stoller and Yorke-Edgell herself alongside the first restaging of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Playground since its Edinburgh Festival première by Sadler’s Wells Ballet in 1979, performed to music by Gordon Crosse. Yolanda Sonnabend’s original set and costume design are being re-imagined by MacMillan’s daughter, Charlotte MacMillan. Original cast members Susie Crow and Stephen Wicks are working on the recreation.

MacMillan began work on Playground with the Orpheus myth, but the Orpheus character mutated into an intruder at a psychiatric hospital. The playground becomes more like a prison with its four inmates acting out fantasies of childhood. Years after the work’s creation, MacMillan acknowledged that Playground drew on his own memories of his mother and her proneness to epilepsy.

As Robert Cohan approaches his 94th birthday in March 2019, he will create his sixth work for Yorke Dance Project, a work for nine dancers and his first for a large ensemble for 20 years. Communion is set to music by Nils Frahm and designed by Cohan’s former London Contemporary Dance Theatre collaborator John B Read.

Between and Within is a new work by LA-based choreographer Sophia Stoller with original music by Long Beach-based composer Justin Scheid. Four dancers play out the dynamics of a relationship between two people: two journeying from resentment and anger to resolution and acceptance; the others playing out the characters’ inner dialogues and internal conflicts.

Yolande Yorke-Edgell’s latest work Imprint pays tribute to the three choreographers who have been most important and influential throughout her career as a dancer: Richard Alston, for whom she danced at both Rambert and his own company, Bella Lewitzky, whose LA company she joined in 1994, and Robert Cohan, with whom she has worked closely over the past few years.

Yorke Dance Project’s dancers are Jordi Calpe Serrats, Ellie Ferguson (apprentice), Dane Hurst, Freya Jeffs, Edd Mitton, Ben Warbis and Yolande Yorke-Edgell. During the tour, the company will be joined by guest artists Jonathan Goddard, Oxana Panchenko, Romany Pajdak and Laurel Dalley Smith.