“Most successful yet” Bedales Dance Performs

BEDALES DANCE MARCH 2017 PB (39)6F7A7196

By Anastasia Sheldon, 6.2

Dancers across all the year groups came together on Thursday 9 March to perform an evening of eclectic dance pieces at our most successful Bedales Dance Performs yet.

The Block 4s made their first BAC appearance with ‘Hunted’, showing animalistic movement intertwined with energetic throws and lifts, showing real control and trust in each other. Block 5s choreographed their very own solos based on iconic choreography and group pieces inspired by topics they are studying across other subjects in school. Some of the dance pieces were examined that evening and a huge well done to everyone who was being moderated.

As for 6.1 and 6.2 dance students, we performed our own solos and group pieces in preparation for our exam in a few weeks, using students across all ages and some students that do not even study dance. The show closed with the 6.1 and 6.2 Enrichment piece ‘Shattered Minds’, where during our enrichment slot we worked together to create a sensitive piece showing how a group of survivors started their fight to build their community up after a natural disaster.

What an amazing evening to be a part of, the adrenaline was flowing back stage throughout all the pieces. I can speak on behalf of all the 6.2s when I say that we have thoroughly enjoyed performing in every Bedales Dance Performs, we will miss the buzzing atmosphere backstage, everyone we have worked with and the pure support that all the students have for each other.

View photos

Bedales sixth form dancers perform at The Point, Eastleigh

By Anastasia Sheldon and Ellie Wraight, 6.2

sixth-form-dancers-perform-at-the-point-2

Arriving at The Point in Eastleigh, ready to rehearse with Luke Brown (acclaimed dance artist and choreographer) was a daunting yet exciting experience. We spent three rehearsals with Luke’s professional dance company to create a piece which we then performed in front of an audience at The Point on 6 October.

Rehearsal 1

There was a nervousness in the air while we sat in a lobby surrounded by other dancers for the first rehearsal, but as soon as Luke entered the room his bright and wide smile soon washed away our uncertainty. None of us knew what we’d be creating and this gave us a certain freedom to create movement without limitation. We learnt some of Luke’s choreography, then developed it into our own styles – playing with our strengths and imagination. Being put in a room and told to start working with new people was intimidating, but we had no option but to get on with it and doing this forced us to our extremes; we ended up producing some really beautiful movement. This proved to be really quite successful and by the end of the rehearsal we had a four and a half minute piece which is half of what our final overall performance would be.

Rehearsal 2

sixth-form-dancers-perform-at-the-point-1-cropReturning to The Point, having just got over all our aches and pains from the last rehearsal, we were still enthusiastic to see what more work we could produce. We layered choreography together, creating a full and rich performance, based on caring for one another and community. Our movement uses a communal undertone throughout as we shift from space to space forming images of family portraits and soft love. Having developed choreography in our previous rehearsal we began to build on these concepts and form a structure to our piece. Playing to our strengths, Luke generated ideas and choreography which flowed and intertwined through our existing structure. As soon as we had a finished piece, we rehearsed for the rest of the day. Refining the movement and going through each section tying up loose ends and correcting every detail really helped to enhance the choreography and each movement became clearer to understand.

Performance: For you I long the longest: a double-bill consisting of Second Self and Princess

sixth-form-dancers-perform-at-the-point-3-cropLuke Brown’s company performed with such elegance and fluidity and highlights of real humanistic moments really illustrated the story clearly to the audience. Their closeness and engagement with one another conveyed the true feeling of family and friendship. Using contact both to support the happy, togetherness as well as the darker emotions experienced with love. The piece, Second Self, explores the idolisation of each other and one’s characteristics as well as the comparison to one’s self. For their second performance, Princess, only three dancers were used to create the darker undertone and harshness of love. While one narrates the other two dance to illustrate their words, their movement slowly became more and more aggressive towards one another. As well as being a nonfictional piece, it had a fairy-tale-like feeling, this subtly commented on our day-to-day relationships aided by the use of props and costumes helping it to be suited to all ages.

Overall

Walking away from each rehearsal having learnt new material and experimented with new ideas was extremely satisfying. Luke’s crazy personality took charge of our rehearsals and promised us a good time, this made it very easy to work with one other having not met before. His material and concepts were so different to anything we’d done before and really challenged our imagination to push for the best ideas we had. The rehearsals were tough and tiring but we produced some amazing work which ended up being used in our final performance.

Lemons…

The first time I saw Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons was at the National Student Drama Festival in 2015. It’s a cliché, but it was even better the second time around. The simplicity and beautiful elegance of playwright Sam Steiner’s words echoed throughout the Olivier Theatre and they concluded that it was one of the best venues they’d ever played, along with the biggest audience.

For those who didn’t see it, Lemons came to Bedales from Warwick – an original work written, directed and performed by students. It tells the tale of Bernadette and Oliver – a dysfunctional but totally relatable couple who find themselves constrained by the latest legislation – the ‘Hush Law’ – as it is coined by activists. It limits them to 140 spoken words a day. Immediately, the audience is thrown into their relationship, and Bernadette and Oliver, directed by Ed Franklin, switch between time zones, language limits and spaces alike.

If the Q&A session at the end was anything to go by, we loved it and just wanted it to go on for longer. Full of questions and love and regret, Lemons enthralled students, parents and teachers alike.

By Eve Allin, 6.2

Gripping and humorous physical theatre

STRIKE  01

Last Thursday the Olivier Theatre was taken over by five daring performers and a mountain of cardboard boxes as they put on Keziah Serreau’s STRIKE! as another exciting visiting performance to Bedales.

We are introduced to the banal and repetitive lives of office workers who slowly rise up and ultimately reject the machine of modern capitalism they are a part of. This Kafkaesque exploration of identity proved gripping as well as being thought-provoking and often very humourous in a physical theatre and circus piece. As the office workers come to terms with the bleak nature of their existence we see them gradually shed their office clothes and rise up (literally as well as figuratively) in a breathtaking trapeze act, without breaking a sweat, leaving the full Olivier awestruck.

This was one of many breath taking circus acts that included moments of suspenseful tightrope walking; calculated ‘lobbing’ of one of the female performers back and forth across the stage and the impressive combination of a bicycle and industrial quantities of cling film.

The excellent ensemble was powered on by a measured pulse of electronic music, with sound effects and lighting cleverly further adding to the comparatively minimalist set and props.  All this led the audience to believe that the office workers truly found themselves in a sprawling city environment and later, after breaking free of their constraints, were at the seaside with the sun going down.

I was fortunate enough to get to know Keziah Serreau this summer while working with her on a theatre production that was prematurely cut short. In the wake of the show’s cancellation Keziah urged me to always be truthful and, most of all to be dangerous when making theatre. I am pleased to say after seeing STRIKE! that Keziah has remained true to that statement.

By Saul Barrett, 6.1

Drama students treated to Director’s pre-show talk

Last Thursday as a drama department we took to the Lyric Hammersmith, to see Laura Wade’s adaptation of Victorian-set novel, Tipping the Velvet, and were incredibly fortunate to be treated to a pre-show talk for Bedalians from the director, Lyndsey Turner. Fresh from also directing Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet at the National Theatre she was witty, engrossing and clever all at once.

Tipping the Velvet is the story of two young women taking to the music halls in London as male impersonators and falling in love on their journey. It was Sarah Water’s debut novel in 1998 and set in the 1890s. The play took the tradition of a Victorian music hall and added music, comedy and a celebration of sexuality. Turner’s direction of the women’s physical intimacy was of nothing I’d seen before, they had the women suspended into the air, above their bed, intertwined with ropes. This allowed them to explore the meaning of their act as oppose to only the physicality and I felt it showed a sense of closeness between the women.

Throughout the play they included modern music sung in a choir to allow the story to be modernised and more engaging, for example Prince’s song Kiss was used when the women were performing in their music hall act. This intertwines the Victorian idea of performing in a music hall yet performing music of this century created a powerful balance between Victorian and modern ideas.

The performance was a success, especially considering how difficult it must be to adapt a novel onto stage whilst trying to stay true to the original story.

 By Nina Rebeiz, 6.2

Knitting yarns for sale in Outdoor Work

DSC_0016DSC_0023DSC_0005Double knitting yarns spun from our Jacob Sheep’s fleeces are available to buy from Outdoor Work: £5 each or £50 for 12; premium quality alpaca yarn on sale for £7.50 each. To place an order, please contact Outdoor Work (outdoorwork@bedales.org.uk/ 07786381427).

DSC_0015 DSC_0021

Students enjoy intriguing adaptation of Beowulf

Last Friday, Block 4 BAC English and Classicists enjoyed a cultural visit to Butser Ancient Farm for a performance of Beowulf. The Medieval evening involved traditional foods, including a tasty stew, and a unique performance of Beowulf which we enjoyed sitting in the round house. The production was engaging and exciting, featuring evil mythical creatures made creatively of materials such as wood and wool, and a cast ranging from children to seniors. Ultimately they formed an intriguing adaptation of a complex piece of English literature alongside some appetising foods, making the evening one to remember.

By Pippa Lock, Block 4


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.