Royal Opera House – Yorke Dance Project celebrates its 20th anniversary

Yorke Dance Project celebrates 20 years since it was created by choreographer Yolande Yorke-Edgell with a week of special performances in the Clore Studio at the Royal Opera House. This celebration week features works by Kenneth MacMillan, Robert Cohan, Sophia Stoller and Yolande Yorke-Edgell.

Kenneth MacMillan’s rarely performed Playground receives its first restaging since premiering at the Edinburgh Festival in 1979. 40 years on, original cast members Susie Crow and Stephen Wicks are restaging the work which features new designs by MacMillan’s daughter Charlotte MacMillan.  Playground is set to music by Gordon Crosse and is loosely inspired by the Orpheus myth with MacMillan exploring the lines between madness and sanity. Years after the work’s creation, MacMillan acknowledged that Playground drew on his own memories of his mother and her proneness to epilepsy.

Yorke Dance Project performing Communion by Robert Cohan, photo by Pari Naderi
Yorke Dance Project performing Communion by Robert Cohan, photo by Pari Naderi

Contemporary dance legend Robert Cohan celebrates his 94th birthday this year and presents his new work Communion, his sixth work for Yorke Dance Project. Communion is a piece for nine dancers and is Cohan’s first large ensemble work for 20 years. Communion is set to music by Nils Frahm and is designed by Cohan’s former London Contemporary Dance Theatre collaborator, John B Read. Cohan will be in conversation with his mentee, Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor after the performance on 15th May.

Yorke Dance Project, Yolande Yorke-Edgell's Imprint, photo Pari Naderi
Yorke Dance Project, Yolande Yorke-Edgell’s Imprint, photo Pari Naderi

Between and Within, a new work by LA-based dance-maker Sophia Stoller set to a commissioned score by Justin Scheid, sees four dancers play out the complex dynamics of a relationship between two people. Yolande Yorke Edgell’s own 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 so closely over the past few years.

The week of celebrations consists of three evening performances, each with a different running order, see notes to editors for full details.