Entitled Manifesto, the production features three dance commissions by male choreographers. They are Fermanagh-based Dylan Quinn, Belgian Filip Van Huffel and Cork-born New York City based Luke Murphy.
Manifesto will showcase the physicality and athleticism of contemporary dance in three contrasting works. Quinn’s dance theatre piece has been inspired by society’s expectations of men and women and the recent Pussy Riot saga in Russia. Van Huffel’s work offers fast paced dynamic precision and Murphy re-imagines Bronislava Nijinsky’s ballet Les Noces to a modern day high school reunion and updates Stravinsky’s original score with a drum and bass soundtrack from composer Christian Fredrickson.
An outreach programme open to schools and community groups will run parallel to the performances. Maiden Voyage are particularly hoping to engage teenage boys to experience the physicality and power of what is often seen as a female art form and therefore encourage more young men to consider participating in and watching contemporary dance.
Dancer Gerrard Martin, who will be performing in Manifesto, has a wide and varied performance background and is looking forward to the opportunity of working with young men who may have no previous experience of dance:
“Dance is such a hot industry at the moment and the male half of society are starting to change their attitudes about it. The rise in popularity of programmes such as Britain’s Got Talent has definitely helped, as has Strictly Come Dancing! My career has been really varied – I’ve danced for Lionel Richie in one of his pop videos and performed in the West End in Disney’s Lion King. The opportunities dance has given me are second to none and it is exciting to think that through Manifesto we are going to be able to share this programme with young men in Northern Ireland.”
Maiden Voyage’s acting Artistic Director Suzannah McCreight added
“Despite men having a strong presence in the choreographic scene, the ratio of male to female dancers leaves them in a minority. Getting men to dance in the first place remains a challenge. Reaching them while they are boys is key and through experience of both live dance performance and participating in workshops we hope these role models of talent, strength and physicality will inspire them.”
As well as targeting the male population the workshops are also open to girls.
Manifesto is principally funded by Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Lloyds TSB Foundation, Enkalon Foundation and Esmee Mitchell Trust.
Maiden Voyage is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Gilly Campbell, Drama and Dance Officer, said:
“Its great to see Maiden Voyage Dance bringing this contemporary dance production to Northern Ireland’s audiences and the varied showcase of choreography really will appeal to men and women alike. It is a so encouraging to see Maiden Voyage’s commitment to engaging new audiences and I hope their community outreach programme successfully sparks an interest in contemporary dance with teenage boys here.”
For more information contact Maiden Voyage on 028 90 330925 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Manifesto opens downstairs in The Mac Belfast on Thurs 7 Feb before embarking on a tour:
Fri 8 Feb Waterside, Derry
Tues 12 Feb Burnavon, Cookstown
Wed 13 Feb Marketplace, Armagh
Fri 15 Feb Island, Lisburn
Sat 16 Feb Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick