Combine dance and drama, and well-spouted words riding on original music then go about placing your cast on the steps of a North London church tower or on a festival stage. To preserve, allow the magic to stream out from short films. What yer got? Staged and magical productions if you like in the form of the Yerousia Dance- Theatre
What words can describe? Powerful, energetic, ritualistic, disciplined. All these and more.The actors are mostly aged more than sixty. The direction is passionate and controlled so that a choreographed story is told mainly through movement; through flexible repeated actions, through mime and stage tension. The filming enables we, the entertained, to get closer into the minds of the characters on stage be they individually working and connecting across the space or forming human snowballs in the shadows .
I’d first seen the “Elevation Of King Lear” at The Cubitt Spring Festival, Islington and was amazed at the high standard of the dance drama piece. It always helps that something abstract and very unusual is set in an informal friendly place. It helps too when the artistes are approachable and likely to explain the hard bits to the audience. There is in this piece an immersion into the surreal world of Shakespeare and an endearing reminder of stylised animation. It is ritualistic dealing with drum-beats, depths of unnatural worlds and old orders. It is clever with stage contraptions and a massive story perched on one small flight of ancient grey steps. The opening scene is awesome in the old-fashioned sense of the word. King Lear is truly majestic standing tall and unloved or dutifully loved in front of a church door shone with religious glass. The last scene is absolutely mediaeval. The King rises above earthly jealousies and haunts his offspring before he ascends to another world. The drums beat and women move in unison carrying goblets of ashes.
In “The Bankers Dance”, the silky pashminas, sarongs, velvet scarves and red ribbons provide the sets and props for those expert dancers who thrust their limbs and twist their bodies in a corner of a stage. Limited space, unlimited creativity is the order of the dance. Uncomplicated body language emits power. There is an absolute bond of unity in the way the cast push out their art form. Androgynous bodies are bodies beautiful as vehicles for dramatic suspense. In halls and on rostra block, John Hoare, the film -maker, succeeds in drawing us into the dance-dramas through stretched camera angles and naked close-ups.
“Fatal letters” we should love simply for the simple. The red skirt grabs our focus as does the relationship between two people. Relaxed back drop figures contrast with the angst-ridden main characters. It is a sensual 12 minute set with beautiful shapes and music played live on stage.
Maria Hatzipetrou rozou is professional and business-like as she promotes her art , elicits the creativity in others. and keeps an eye on the new learners at the Claremont Project, Islington.
Perfection is her second middle name.