Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Sandman Cometh - Chantry Dance's New Full Length Ballet

Rae Piper and Paul Chantry
(c) 2014 Chantry Dane Company: all rights reserved

A tantalizingly short announcement:
"CDC presents a NEW, full length contemporary ballet for a 2017 UK Tour:
Links for ticket bookings coming soon..."
But a redolent one. I first met Paul Chantry, Rae Piper and Gail Gordon of Chantry Dance at the Lincoln Drill Hall on 9 May 2014. It was a very special day for me for several reasons. I made the acquaintance not just of Paul, Rae and Gail but also of Mel Wong. I also danced in public for the first time which gave me the confidence to put my name forward for the Northern Ballet Academy end of term show (see The Time of My Life 28 June 2014). Chantry Dance was running a workshop at the Drill Hall in the morning and a performance of two short one act ballets called The Sandman and Dream Dance in the afternoonI wrote about the workshop and reviewed the show in Chantry Dance Company's Sandman and Dream Dance on 10 May 2014.

I don't know whether the full length ballet that the company will present next year has anything to do with the work that I saw in Lincoln but, if it does, it will be beautiful. I suspect it may be related for the umbrella and costumes in the above photo look very much like those in the pictures that Mel took two and a half years ago. If so, the ballet will be based on the tale of Ole Lukøie by Hans Christian Andersen which I summarized in my article. My recollection of the ballet is as follows:
"Choreographed by Gail Gordon the Sandman was danced by Paul Chantry who entered in front of the stage in the shadows. He mounted the stage which had a single prop: a hat stand and the sandman's two umbrellas. Paul is a tall, elegant dancer and he circled the stage magisterially with his wide ronds de jambe and battements. From the left entered his subject, Rae Piper, clad in a simple navy print shift. Rae has the most expressive face and she expressed joy under the multicoloured umbrella but with utter dismay to the plain one. Producing from his pocket a medicine bottle Paul sprinkled the sleep inducing drops over Rae's eyes. In the absence of programme notes I cannot recall the score but it was beautiful and Gail Gordon's choreography interpreted in perfectly."
Of course, there will have to be at least a second act and roles for many other characters but Chantry Dance are good at narrative dance as they showed not just in the work they danced in Lincoln but also in the works they danced at Gravity Fields or took on tour (see Gravity Fields - Chasing the Eclipse 28 Sept 2014, The Happy Prince in Halifax 21 Nov 2014 and Duology 29 Sept 2016).

Paul, Rae and Gail are not just simply performers, they are also educators. They ran a Young Choreographers Celebration 2016 Award Winners’ workshop earlier this year which they recorded in this video and they will include curtain raiser performances from young choreographers around the country as part of the Young Choreographers Celebration 2017 in the programme that they will take on tour.

They have not yet published their venues but I hope that they will make at least one stop in the North next year. We were sorry not to see them in our region this year. They were missed.

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