Grimethorpe Hitch up to contemporary dance look at lockdown Wonderland

Grimethorpe's recording of 'Dial H for Hitchcock' is being used as part of a triptych of contemporary dance and ballet responses to the Coronavirus pandemic.

  The band's recording links up to the third part of the innovative project

The CD recorded performance by Grimethorpe Colliery Band of composer Nigel Clarke's 'Dial H for Hitchcock' is to form part of a series of multi-genre artistic collaborations to be given world premieres at the award winning Lawrence Batley Theatre Huddersfield.

Locked down. Locked in. But living

The theatre has commissioned 'Locked down. Locked in. But living' by a trio of critically-acclaimed UK dance companies which will be given their on-line world premieres between the 28th September to 18th October.

Each separate performance creates a site specific work reflecting on the current situation facing individuals, ensembles and venues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They are currently being pre-recorded in performance in the empty auditorium before being broadcast on-line for a worldwide audience to enjoy.

Contemporary dance solos

The triptych comprises a brace of contemporary dance solos and a short ballet, and has been produced by Studio Wayne McGregor, Northern Ballet and the Gary Clarke Company respectively.

Grimethorpe is involved in the third, 'But Living' — a contemporary solo feature work performed by dancer Gavin Coward. It has been directed by the acclaimed British choreographer Gary Clarke, and is inspired by a recently restored 1903 short film of 'Alice in Wonderland'.

Clarke is no stranger to the brass band world, having been born and raised in Grimethorpe, and having created and directed the 2017 award winning production 'Coal' which featured a small brass ensemble in its performance.

On its head

Speaking exclusively to 4BR, he said: "'But living' flips the tale on its head and can be seen as a metaphor for the alarming situation people find themselves in today.

Alice is no longer trapped in Wonderland, but instead animates the unseen labyrinth of the whole architecture of the amazing Lawrence Batley Theatre — not just the stage.

I wanted dancer Gavin Coward to embody all of the different psychological states experienced during lockdown; capturing elements of entrapment, isolation, loneliness and escapism which in many ways are similar to the emotions experienced by Alice as she tries to navigate her way through Wonderland."

Grimethorpe score

He added: "I also wanted to use a score of around 15 minutes of music featuring Grimethorpe in live performance, but due to the lockdown we had to think differently and their suggestion of Nigel Clarke's work was perfect.

It's great that that both are involved in a project with such a strong message of our current times. 'Dial H for Hitchcock' is a brilliant piece that captures so many emotions and illusions in the mind's eye — perfect for a very different type of film noir 'Wonderland'. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

We are currently filming the work and I'm sure it will be a collaboration that will be enjoyed by brass band fans.

It shows just how flexible a brass band can be to accompany contemporary dance — and how evocative the music can be used in a different context."

It shows just how flexible a brass band can be to accompany contemporary dance — and how evocative the music can be used in a different contextChoreographer, Gary Clarke

Great project

In response Grimethorpe Music Director, Dr David Thornton told 4BR: "This has been a great project to be involved in — even if due to the current lockdown we couldn't perform Nigel's work as a live accompaniment in the theatre for the recording.

Gary is a huge fan of brass bands so to be able to work with him on this project has been both exciting and eye-opening."

High water mark

The collaboration also provides a high water mark for composer Nigel Clarke to end his tenure as Composer in Association with the band.

He added; "I've enjoyed such a great time with the band — culminating with the recently released CD of my works and now with 'Dial H for Hitchcock' being used in this wonderful way. I can't wait to sit back and enjoy the final result of a brilliant collaboration."


Locked down. Locked in. But living

On-line performance dates: 28th September — 18th October

Tickets: £12

Booking link: https://www.thelbt.org/shows/locked-down-locked-in-but-living/

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Rex Richardson

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