Latitude Festival 2017 Dance Roundup

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures: Country

Francesca Marotto travelled to this year’s Latitude Festival in the English Countryside to catch the Saturday dance spectacular at Sadler’s Wells Waterfront Stage, here’s her dance roundup. Photos by Asia Mscichowska.

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures: Country

Presented by Sadler’s Wells, Country is a selected work from Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures, a special production to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary.

As the title suggests, Early Adventures revisits some of the early works that started Bourne’s career and characterised his dance language.

Some of the typical elements that mark his signature style are recognisable, especially the extensive use of humour and the witty approach to old fashioned cliché.

Country is a funny and exquisite must-watch!

Set in a classic English countryside, with foxes and squirrel puppets peeking out every now and then, Country explores stereotypes of English culture in a smartly funny way.

Milkmaids and country bumpkins in typical costumes showcase their strong acting abilities dancing on a sublime score that culminates with a surreal scene of a hedgehog’s funeral.

The overall piece is highly entertaining and hilarious. The duets and ensembles are exquisitely performed combining ballet and contemporary dance, delivering a sense of light heartedness in their intention to mock social cliché.



Far From The Norm: Da Native

Established by Botis Seva in 2009, Far From The Norm is a collective of dancers addressing social and political issues through the use of experimental hip hop language and martial arts.

Commissioned by Greenwich + Docklands International Theatre, Latitude Festival, Lyric Hammersmith and Watford Palace Theatre, Da Native is a new outdoor piece that explores the challenges of our time and focuses on themes of cultural difference in the 21st century.

Travellers from different lands, with ragged clothes and painted faces, gather together to a round shaped structure that might represent the Earth.

It is a real surprise; a truly inspiring piece of dance!

Their interaction doesn’t always end up in a peaceful sharing; their diversities can clash and generate a series of jittery and raw movements accompanied by a sustained rhythm filled with tension.

Moments of stillness alternates with collective dance pieces, until the idea of world unity is embraced.

Blending electronic music with African sounds, Da Native brings a sort of explosive tribal dance on stage.

Even if the whole thing can feel a bit anxious, it is impossible not to be transported by the insistent rhythm and bursting energy of all dancers.


Sisters Grimm: Voices of The Amazon

Presented by Sadler’s Wells, Voices of The Amazon is the new dance musical by Sisters Grimm, a London-based production company directed by former Royal Ballet ballerina Pietra Mello-Pittman and composer Ella Spira.

Set in the rainforest, this show tells the story of water spirit Beleza who ventures into the forest in search for a remedy to cure his sister’s illness.

During her journey she falls in love and later discovers that the natural resources of the forest are seriously endangered.

Voices of The Amazon is an enchanting and magical tale!

Narrated by Jeremy Irons and played live by Brazilian singers and musicians, the performance more comprehensively aims to draw attention to the deforestation issue and consequent loss of renewable medicines and plants.

Set to a sensational score of percussions and Brazilian sounds, the dance pieces are beautifully executed combining ballet and contemporary technique with capoeira and samba movements.

The fight scenes are particularly worthy of attention: powerful jumps and acrobatic lifts reveal the incredible strength and vitality of all dancers.

Even if the main intention of the show is sometimes obscured by bright feathered costumes and high-octane songs, Voices of The Amazon is an enchanting and magical tale that reminds the audience of the great power of natural world and the importance of preserving it.

Katy Arnander, Director of Artistic Programme, is the woman behind the incredible dance presented at this world famous festival.

Sadler's Wells, Katy Arnander, Director of Artistic Programme
Sadler’s Wells, Katy Arnander, Director of Artistic Programme

Listen to Katy talking about how she curates the programme that keeps crowds coming back year after year!