FEATURED: Anjali Dance Company’s ‘GENIUS’ Comes To The Birmingham Hippodrome

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Following a hugely successful 2017 tour, internationally acclaimed Anjali Dance Company return with their double bill, Genius, which comes to Birmingham Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio on Tuesday 19 & Wednesday 20 November 2019.

Established in 1995, Anjali Dance Company celebrates the creative potential of people with learning disabilities through dance. The company is committed to challenging preconceptions about who can dance and demonstrating new artistic possibilities by creating dance works of excellence performed by dancers with learning disabilities.

Anjali empowers learning-disabled dancers as creative artists by actively supporting and promoting their artistic development. Company members participate in a performing arts course that runs three days a week, 42 weeks per year, which includes training in contemporary dance, physical theatre, music and fitness. Anjali was one of the first dance companies in the world to provide a framework in which people with learning disabilities could train to achieve their highest potential, both as performers and teachers. Through its innovative and pioneering work Anjali engages the professional dance community in a debate on fundamental issues about aesthetics, form, purpose and inclusion.

Anjali’s exceptional group of talented dancers Hannah Dempsey, Daisy Garrett, Alex Hyde, Jason Manito, Nick McKerrow and Lauren Payne perform two dramatic explorations of genius. Genius comprises works by award-winning choreographers, Lea Anderson MBE and Gary Clarke.

Lea Anderson’s work for Anjali, Bloodsucker, is based on the legend of the vampire Nosferatu and his depiction in film. The 1922 silent movie Nosferatu is regarded as an influential masterpiece of cinema. In Bloodsucker, five distinct scenes become their own tales of horror, in performance styles ranging from expressionist, nuanced silent-screen acting to Hammer House of Horror action. Performing in a three-sided box, the dancers move on and off stage to create the impression of film edits. A specially commissioned soundtrack by composer Steve Blake, a long-term collaborator with Anderson, distinguishes the transitions between scenes and performance styles. Designer Simon Vincenzi brings a fairground and carnival theatre setting to life.

Beethoven, choreographed by Gary Clarke takes a look at the extraordinary personal life and musical works of Ludwig van Beethoven through a series of touching and darkly humorous short sketches. A gothic-infused, cinematic and highly theatrical landscape of movement and gesture, danced to excerpts of Beethoven’s music. Designs are by Ryan Dawson Laight.

Gary Clarke, a UK National Theatre Award winner, for Achievement in Dance said: “Working with Anjali is a rewarding, inspiring and exciting experience. They are an amazing team of talented dance artists who are fully invested in the work and its creation. Each company member brought their personality, skill, and above all their hearts and generosity to the process, which has resulted in a strong, poignant and beautiful work.

Nicole Thomson, founder and Artistic Director of Anjali Dance Company, said: “We are thrilled to be back on tour with work by two established and respected choreographers, Lea Anderson and Gary Clarke. Genius celebrates the creative talent of Anjali’s exceptional dancers and demonstrates exciting new possibilities in dance.”

The Genius tour is accompanied by a bespoke programme of educational residencies and workshops, some taught by company dancers. Genius is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and commissioned by Lancaster Arts. Anjali Dance Company is supported by Oxfordshire County Council.

Genius comes to Birmingham Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio on Tuesday 19 & Wednesday 20 November 2019. To book visit birminghamhippodrome.com or call 0844 338 5000

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