From the Guardian: cYorke Dance Project review – dance past, present and future

Looking back at 20th-century modernist art, one is struck by the certainty it embodies. The writing of Eliot, the music of Ives and Stravinsky, the sculpture of Moore, the painting of Rothko. Even at its most experimental it has mass and authority; it is never tentative. Modernist choreography shares these attributes. Considering works such as Balanchine’s Apollo or MacMillan’s Song of the Earth from today’s postmodern perspective is like viewing the Pyramids from the desert. They are vast and immutable; you are on shifting, windblown ground.

I had this impression watching Robert Cohan’s Canciones del Alma (Songs of the Soul), created in 1978 and presented by Yorke Dance Project, formed in 2009 by Yolande Yorke-Edgell. Cohan, born in New York in 1925, is one of the giants of modern dance. A leading member of Martha Graham’s company in the postwar years, he was the founding director of the London Contemporary Dance School and of its professional wing, London Contemporary Dance Theatre.

yoland yorke-edgell
Yolande Yorke-Edgell in Canciones Del Alma: ‘radiates outwards even as she draws inwards’. Photograph: Tony Nandi
Canciones del Alma was inspired by the poems of the 15th-century Spanish mystic St John of the Cross, three of which the composer Geoffrey Burgon has arranged for orchestra and countertenor male voice. Performed by Yorke-Edgell, the piece describes the journey of the soul through the noche obscura, the dark night, to final union with the Creator, whom the poet presents in the form of a lover.

But a lover within the self, as Cohan’s choreography makes clear. This is no simple walk into the light. As Yorke-Edgell first resists – body language quivering and fretful, arms pushing fearfully away – and then surrenders herself to ecstasy, you have the sense of an almost sexual capitulation. And, in the angularity and anguish of the physical vocabulary, a real sense of that dark night and the abyss it conceals. This is the mysticism of old Europe, presented not as the high baroque of Bernini’s swooning St Teresa, but with spare, almost austere, gravity. Yorke-Edgell’s self-containment and authority as a performer count for everything here; she radiates outwards even as she draws inwards.

Cohan’s piece is followed by one of Yorke-Edgell’s own. Unfold to Centre is a work for six dancers set to sound compositions by Kazu Matsui and Joseph Hyde, and to a computer-generated light installation by Larry Cuba. The movement is deep and grounded, with broad pliés and lunges, and swooping seagull arms reminiscent of those in Merce Cunningham’s Beach Birds. The dancers’ performances are rewardingly fine, particularly in the central duet for Jonathan Goddard and Laurel Dalley Smith. Rowan Heather is also a notable presence.

No Strings Attached, danced by the same six performers, was created by Charlotte Edmonds in 2013. Edmonds was then 16 and a student at White Lodge (the Royal Ballet junior school), where she had twice won its most prestigious choreography award. A coolly measured piece, set to the first movement of Michael Gordon’s Weather, it matches the music’s capricious swirl with full-body ripples and a low-slung neoclassicism. Gordon’s composition is clearly influenced by Vivaldi, and Edmonds responds with swift, elegant passages danced in canon. As a dance work, No Strings Attached is both accomplished and sophisticated; as the creation of a student it’s astonishing. “I love to dance,” Edmonds tells me afterwards. “But choreography is my passion.”

charlotte edmonds
Choreographer Charlotte Edmonds: ‘assessed out’ of the Royal Ballet’s upper school. Photograph: Yorke Dance Project
So it’s depressing that she has not been permitted to continue her studies at the Royal Ballet upper school, but instead has been – as the school’s grim terminology has it – “assessed out”. Edmonds is stoical but clearly wounded. “They’re fixated on physique,” she tells me, explaining why she didn’t make the cut. Not for the first time, one is left slack-jawed at the establishment’s lack of foresight, and by a selection process that’s as cruel as it is counterproductive. Had Edmonds been a boy, the story might have been different; the Royal has traditionally found room in its ranks for talented male choreographers. But women have seen their paths to the Covent Garden main stage blocked, and no new work by a female choreographer has been seen there since the late 1990s. This is unacceptable in 21st-century Britain, and until the Royal gets its house in order, starting with the school, it will continue to miss out on artists like Charlotte Edmonds.

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York Dance Project’s Performance Feb. 27 and Feb. 28, 2014.

Figure Ground
Figure Ground is Yorke Dance Project’s exciting new programme touring in Winter 2014 and Spring 2015. The company will be previewing Figure Ground at the Lilian Baylis Studio theatre in February with works by Robert Cohan, Yolande Yorke-Edgell and Causeway Young Artist in Residence, Charlotte Edmonds.

Robert Cohan will reconstruct a solo for Yolande Yorke-Edgell, Canciones Del Alma set to music by Geoffrey Burgon, that was originally created for Canadian dancer Susan Macpherson in 1978. This work is a setting of two poems and part of a longer poem by the sixteenth-century mystic St John of the Cross. The shape of Burgon’s songs closely follow that of the poems, and the colors and textures of the music are suggested by the successive images found in the verse. This dance was only seen once in England, performed by Macpherson, at a performance at The Place in 1979.

Yolande Yorke-Edgell will be creating a new work Unfold to Centre mentored by Robert Cohan, in conjunction with 3/78, an award winning computer animated film by Larry Cuba. In this film sixteen objects, each consisting of one hundred points of light, perform a series of precisely choreographed rhythmic transformations. Accompanied by the sound of a Shakuhachi (the Japanese bamboo flute), the film is an exercise in the visual perception of motion and mathematical structure.Yorke -Edgell will use this film as her starting point. She will work alongside the film with six dancers and will explore the many relationships between figure and ground; between the performers and performing space;between live dance and the dance of the animation. Composer Joseph Hyde will create a new score incorporating the existing sound of the Shakuhachi with lighting design by Adrian Plaut. Robert Cohan’s mentorship of Yolande Yorke-Edgell for the creation of Unfold to Centre has been made possible by Arts Council England.

“His…films are…exciting and visually stunning. The classic beauty of 3/78 carries on the newly developed tradition in the computer technique that began with such artists as the Whitneys…
Cuba’s images are at once technically complex and yet highly personal works in the field of computer animation.”
- Paul Glabicki, Field of Vision

Causeway Young Artist in Residence, Charlotte Edmonds, will premiere the work she began creating in 2013 called “No Strings Attached” set to music by Michael Gordon. During her three-week residency with the company, Charlotte worked alongside artist Sally McKay, a painter and sculptor who makes her own work based on movement observed while watching dance, who will create a backdrop for Charlotte’s work (Ms McKay collaborated with Yorke-Edgell on Noted, which was part of YDP’s 2012 production Words Worth.)

Rehearsals and performances of Figure Ground will be coupled with many of YDP’s outreach activities including workshops, residencies, Professional Pathways and Youth Leaders programs. See Participate for more details…

http://yorkedanceproject.co.uk/productions/spring-2014/

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BBC Radio 4 – About the Boys

BBC Radio 4 – About the Boys

From a solo boy chorister singing “Once in Royal David’s City” at King’s College, Cambridge on Christmas Eve to Aled Jones hitting the Top 10 with “Walking in the Air”, the voice of the boy treble has long held a fascination for composers and audiences. But why? Is it because of its impermanence or what it implies about our notions of boyhood? Or is it just the sheer soaring quality?

Christopher Gabbitas knows about being a treble because, as a child, he was a chorister at Rochester Cathedral. He’s now a baritone with the world famous a cappella group “The King’s Singers”, but he remembers his treble days and the repertoire he sang, with great affection. In this programme he asks what it is about the singing voice of a boy which can inspire a range of reactions. And he finds out how different composers through the centuries have used- and continue to gain inspiration from – the treble voice.

Among the people he talks to are his King’s Singer colleague, Paul Phoenix, who became famous in the 1970s as the treble soloist for the theme music to the BBC’s drama series “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”.

Christopher also meets academic Martin Ashley to hear how the sound of boys’ voices has changed over the decades.

And he eavesdrops on a singing lesson to hear what makes a successful treble sound.

We also hear about the way in which composers in opera have used boy’s voices from Handel to Britten and into the present day.

And there’s an interview with the film composer Elliot Goldenthal who’s used treble voices in his scores for “Alien 3″ and “Interview with the Vampire”.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

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50 Years of Dr Who

Geoffrey Burgon wrote two episodes of Dr. Who, Terror of the Zygons and Seeds of Doom. To join in on this wonderful celebration we will post some clips with the original music for you to enjoy. Happy Dr. Who to you.

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The Assumption

Geoffrey Burgon (1941-2010): The Assumption, Come my swete, come my flower
By markfromireland | August 11, 2012 | 0 Comments | Filed under: Choral Music
Geoffrey Burgon 150×132 Captioned Just a short posting today about a piece by one of my favourite modern English composers, Geoffrey Burgon. (If you’re new to Burgon’s music you’ll find all my postings on music here: Geoffrey Burgon | Saturday Chorale). Burgon composed The Assumption in 2001 it’s a deceptively simple piece of music in which each of the eminently singable four voice lines combine to produce a piece of music that greatly exceeds the sum of its parts. As well as being a lovely piece of music it shows Burgon’s abiding interest in and affinity with early English texts. Pre-reformation England was famous for its devotion to the Virgin Mary. This devotion was notable from the earliest times and long predated even Abbot Ælfric of Eynsham’s sermons and the Blickling Homilies. The text ‘Come my swete, come my flower’ is early medieval and consists of a dialogue between Christ and his mother in which Christ calls her up to heaven and she responds with eagerness and love. It’s a charming setting of a charming text sung beautifully by the Wells Cathedral Choir conducted by Matthew Owens. Enjoy :-) .

markfromireland

Text: The Assumption Come my swete, come my flower
Come my swete, come my flower,
Come my culver, mine own bower,
Come my mother now with me,
For Heaven-queen I make thee.

My swete Son, with all my love
I come with thee to thyn above;
Where thou art now let me be,
For all my love is laid on thee.

Come my swete, come my flower …
Amen.

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Sept 21st, 2013

Yesterday marked the third year since Geoffrey Burgon passed away. He is missed by all who have known him and who know his music.

We have enjoyed sending choirs Geoffrey’s Choral works and for those who are waiting for theirs, we are preparing the last requests and will have them to you very soon.

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Choral Music Packages

We are sending out packages with a small cross-section of Geoffrey Burgon’s Choral Works to Choirs, compliments of Chester Music and The Geoffrey Burgon Will Trust. Each pack will contain complimentary scores and recordings of the following works:

1. Nunc Dimittis
2. Te Deum
3. The Assumption
4. Love me Brought ( sound bite on earlier post )
5. Ave Verum
6. The complete album of Geoffrey Burgon, The Fall of Lucifer and other works.

We will be doing this until Sept 21st, 2013. If you wish to have a package for your choir please contact Jacqueline on 07500600133.

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Geoffrey Burgon’s Birthday

Happy Birthday Geoffrey.

Love from your family, friends and fans.

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Doctor Who Prom 2013

The Prom presents Dr Who scores and excerpts from Geoffrey’s incidental music for

Dr. Who series: “Terror of the Zygons”and “Seeds of Doom”.

On iPlayer now for the next six days.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2013/july-13/14610

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Love me Brought

Music: Love Me Brought by Geoffrey Burgon
Performed by the Novello Choir. Published by Chester Novello CH78188. Recording used here by kind permission of Music Sales Ltd.

Love me Brought was played in Reflections for Advent,  December the 12th by the

Church of England.

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