Bedales dancers explore ghostly movement and experience Hofesh first-hand

By Maud Bonham-Carter, 6.2

Ghost Dance - RambertLast Tuesday, all Dance students from Block 4 to 6.2 were lucky enough to watch three professional works by Rambert Dance Company at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. The evening consisted of three pieces of works by different choreographers. In Transfigured Night, by Kim Brandstrup, two lovers meet by moonlight, and a dark secret threaten to tear them apart. Ghost Dances by Christopher Bruce, was one of the highlights for a lot of the students as we are studying this piece at A level – so seeing it live really allowed us to immerse ourselves in the piece due to the knowledge we already had about the piece. The last piece, A Linha Curva by Itzik Galili, is Rambert’s party piece, the use of lighting helped to convey their strong and upbeat performance with Samba-fuelled movement that really grasped the audience’s attention from start to finish.

Hofesh Shechter Workshop 

Hofesh photo.
By Mila Fernandez 6.1

Last week dancers throughout the Blocks and Sixth Form had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a dance workshop. This workshop was led by Chien-Ming Chang and Mickael Frappat from the Hofesh Shechter Company. Hofesh is a very famous Israeli choreographer who created his own style of contemporary dance. Now based in Brighton with his own company, Hofesh created many shows that have toured around Europe. Through his very defined style, Hofesh aims to awake the audience by making them experience his work from the gut. His themes explore issues such as how powerful we can be as individuals, political issues, tensions in society and our need to break free from society in order to find freedom. This makes his work feel very topical and relevant to our modern society.

In the workshop we were led into many improvisations using the bases of the Hofesh style. We explored the way our bodies could move through different rhythms whilst staying completely relaxed and ourselves. It was a great way to discover new material and we were able to create spontaneously. Later, we learnt a bit of repertoire from the piece Grand Finale. Hofesh’s choreography was very challenging as he makes dancers go from states of complete relaxations to very tense and shaky movements. This is what makes his work so original and truthful. We finished with a couple of questions we had prepared for our teachers. We learnt a lot from the dancer’s past training and experience working with Hofesh and his style. This was a very inspiring experience, which taught us a lot about Hofesh’s style and ourselves as dancers.

View the Grand Finale trailer below

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

Matthew Bourne’s different way of thinking has yet again spawned an amazing take on one of the world’s favourite ballets. The legend, who goes by the name of Matthew Bourne, has formed something else: a new type of dance combining two into an irresistible umami of dance fusion.

His brilliance shines throughout the whole performance, as he puts his own unique twist on every step, producing moments of humour, sadness and pure joy.

But it’s not entirely straightforward.  At times he goes too far, blurring the boundaries of reality and fantasy too much leaving the audience confused.

Furthermore, a side of Bourne that wasn’t expected is shown through the projection. A lazy side. One that can’t make it obvious in the performance what is happening or think of a more creative way to do so, instead opting to project onto the curtain.

However, he redeems himself with the cliff hanger that is the interval.  A bite from a fairy is the last image the audience is left with before the curtain goes down. Making us wonder for a full 20 minutes: is that fairy bad or good?

Well played Bourne, well played.

By Tiger Clothier, Block 4
Block 4 Dance trip to Sleeping Beauty, Woking Theatre, 4th February

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

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).

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Book now for Petersfield Shakespeare Festival

Have you got your tickets yet for the Petersfield Shakespeare Festival at Bedales? If not, visit www.petersfieldshakespearefestival.co.uk or phone 01730 711599 to avoid disappointment. The Merry Wives will kick-off the festival at the Sotherington Outdoor Theatre from the 14-19 July, followed by Macbeth from 21-26 July. The performances will feature West End actors and local favourites, including Old Bedalians. Ste Johnston will return in triumph after his performance last year as Bottom, as Shakespeare’s fattest and naughtiest knight, Sir John Falstaff, who boozes and bounds his way through the bedrooms and bars of the English countryside. Bring your picnic, or order a gourmet pizza from The Cricketers, sit back and be entertained.

Portrait Photographer

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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.

The National’s platform for new student writing

The National Theatre’s New Views programme seeks to project the voice of young students from the classroom onto the public stage. We are part of this national initiative and share the Bedales Olivier platform with Charter Academy and Tonbridge School on the evenings of 24 and 25 June. This year we will be staging two works from Bedales: Dad by 6.2 Amy Blakelock, scrutinising the imperfect lies of a problematic and broken family, and I’m With You in Rockland, a Ginsberg and Whitman fuelled poetic dissection of Americana by 6.1 student Peter Price. Amy’s play has won a place on the national long-list and Phil King’s None of Us is Very Calm is joint winner of the 2014 award for teacher submissions. For free tickets, please call 01730 711511 or email tickets@bedales.org.uk.

New Views

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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.

Too Soon Made Glad

This week’s Block 3 and 4 production of Too Soon Made Glad pushed the envelope for school plays away from narrative and linear characters towards a dance theatre cross over, and therefore left its audience furiously discussing what it meant. With beautiful dance in the style of DV8 and poems by Robert Browning, the polished ensemble delivered an hour of exquisite performance. It was astonishing to see performers of this age working with such confidence and focus. Overall an extremely moving piece of work, which I had not seen the like of in a school before. View photos.

By  Stella Green, Block 4

Too Soon Made Glad

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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.

Book now for the Summer Production

Robert Browning‘s heartfelt poetry, generously outlining a depth of emotive feeling towards others and dealing with the complications of loss, is delivered by Block 3 and 4 students in the Summer Production. Told with an innovative and structural setting and using clean, reactive physicality this production straddles both old and new. Browning is given a fresh, challenging viewing that pushes the Bedales students in yet another genre in a main school play. Tickets for Too Soon Made Glad (20 – 22 May) are available from tickets@bedales.org.uk or 01730 711511. NB An email sent earlier this week outlined all of the remaining arts events this term, including Parents’ Day, and the booking arrangements.

The Summer Production - Too Soon Made Glad

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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.

AS performances explore global issues

During the last week of the Spring term, the AS Drama and Theatre Studies scripted performances took place. Sixth Form students explored themes through different mediums including the use of physical theatre, props and accents. Themes such as complications within relationships, terrorism and death were portrayed in different stylistic genres ranging from comedy to horror. The short yet varied performances captured the audience’s attention from the outset, leaving them both laughing and reflecting on global issues that society is dealing with today. The students work and dedication clearly paid off and resulted in a fantastic performance. View photos.

By Thomas Higginson and Sofia Palm, 6.1

AS performances explore global issues

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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.