The 2010 winners of the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund Awards were announced on Monday 11 October at a ceremony within the Sunley Pavilion, The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre. The awards were presented by renowned choreographer Rosemary Butcher who was introduced by BBCF Chair Nicky Molloy.
Emerging choreographers Cindy Claes, Bethanie Harrison and Anusha Subramanyam were each presented with a UK New Choreography Award in recognition of the overwhelming potential of their innovative choreographic abilities. The awards of £1500 help to provide support for rising talent within UK choreography and will allow this year's winners to pursue their ambitions and visions within the field.
The well-deserved recipients of the Marion North Mentoring Scheme are Josephine Lott and Vangelis Legakis. This scheme provides further guidance and additional support from established choreographers and professionals within the industry. Josephine will be mentored by Yael Flexer and Nic Sandiland, while Vangelis will be mentored by Gill Clarke. This fantastic opportunity will allow Josephine and Vangelis to flourish and further expand the parameters of contemporary dance.
Lucy Guerin received the 2009/2010 biennial International Award, which provides a commission for a choreographer to work with graduate dancers from Transitions Dance Company, based at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
The Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund was established in 1985 to support and promote innovative choreographers in Britain, Europe and America. Bonnie Bird was a member of the original Martha Graham Dance Company, becoming one of the first recognised teachers of the Graham technique. She taught many dance luminaries, including the unrivalled Merce Cunningham, continually stressing the equal importance of practical and theoretical elements in the training of dance professionals. On the occasion of Bonnie Bird's 70th birthday, friends and colleagues from around the world gave generous donations to mark her 50-year involvement in dance. She used these contributions to establish the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund.
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Vangelis Legakis studied dance theatre BA (Hons) and MA in Choreography at Trinity Laban in London. Additional to his consistent high achievement in his studies, he is also qualified to teach the Flying Low and Passing Through technique founded by David Zambrano. He has received diplomas on Physiology and Anatomy and is a professional therapist of Reflexology, Deep Tissue and Holistic Massage, Reiki and Neuroskeletal Re-Alignment Therapies. Since 2004 he has been a regular visitor of The Forsythe Company with whom he performed 'Human Rights'. As founder of the innovative Van - L Dance Company, he has showcased numerous productions in and around Europe. His choreographies include 'Three Sighs to Beauty', 'Houses of Hell', 'For Him and Her', 'The Beginning of Something', 'Aphanisis', 'Octave Stance', 'In Between and Around Liminal Places', 'En-Pour-Soi' (In-For-Itself), and 'Sweet Sea Echos'. His works have been performed in the UK, Denmark, Belgium, Albania, the Czech Republic, and Greece. He was also a semi-finalist of the Place Prize choreography competition, one of the most prestigious and demanding competitions in Europe.
Vangelis is intrigued with the concept of improvisation which often shines through in his pieces. His influences include Rudolf Laban, William Forsythe, the Skinner Releasing Technique, martial arts, philosophy (specifically phenomenology), and neuroscience through which he has originated new ways to approach dance practice and choreography. This has led him to create his own impressive dance language alongside a complimentary methodology. Known as the Methodology of Transcendental Choreology, he has promoted this design throughout many dance institutions and studios in Europe. Adding to his wealth of choreographic knowledge is his research with neuropsychologists on EEG biofeedback. Known to enhance performance, Vangelis has applied this information to his work. Other interests include the effects of emotions and feelings to improve performative aspects through improvisation.
Bethanie Harrison has always had a passion for dance being a central factor in inspiring her creative energy. She has been working in a collaborative partnership with Eleni Edipidi since graduating University with joint honours in Dance and Visual Arts in 2004. Forming Levantes Dance Theatre, her primary aim was to create work which fused both artists' creative interests within dance, design, visual arts and sculpture. A main objective of her work is to reach to diverse audiences and promote the potentialities of contemporary dance.
Fascinated by the peculiar and absurd details which layer our day to day routines, her practice has grown to incorporate daily experiences, in turn ensuring the work is current, embodied and heartfelt, something both Harrison and Edipidi feel is vital in developing their style.
Believing wholly in the body's ability to communicate in its most basic form alongside the necessity of experience over explanation, Harrison feels it is key for her work to reflect these principles and continually exceed the boundaries tied to the artform.
Josephine Lott has always loved the art of movement. She studied dance from a young age, eventually winning a scholarship enabling her to study at the London Contemporary Dance School. She went on to gain a First Class BA (hons) in Italian and Cinema Studies from the University of Reading; a course which allowed her to spend a year studying film at the prestigious DAMS Bologna.
In 2007, she wrote, directed and choreographed her first short dance film, Parting Gifts, which was well received by a number of festivals. Since graduating she has worked within the dance and film industries as a dancer, teacher and movement coach with companies including Biserk Dance, Iris Theatre and the Academy of the Science of Acting. She has also produced music videos for Warner Bros and has worked within festival coordination and marketing departments. Josephine founded Firefly Dance and Film in 2010 and is currently working on a live dance piece entitled Gravity and Desire.
Cindy Claes is a choreographer passionate about Urban Dance techniques and culture. Fascinated by Krumping, Dancehall and Hip-Hop, she utilizes a controversial, rich and impressive dance vocabulary. Fusing dance with physical theatre, her work is social, political, emotional and spiritual. Her work effectively raises awareness through encouraging laughter and tears. Cindy describes herself as a dance backpacker. She has travelled widely across the Caribbean, Europe, the USA and Africa to hone her skills and experience the street dance scene in other parts of the world. Cindy's fire comes from within her unlimited fountain of energy and passion. A voice for unity and internationalism, Cindy is able to build bridges between cultures with her moving choreography. In the long term, her dream is to build international artistic exchange programs and empower the Dancehall and Krumping communities through Hip-hop theatre. Cindy founded the Spread Expression Dance Company in 2008.
Cindy is eager to follow her dreams with the support of the BBCF UK New Choreography Award. She will use the Award to do extensive research on Dancehall in Jamaica, as well as explore Dance Comedy and Interactive Dance Theatre.
The BBCF supported her development as an artist with an encouragement grant in 2009. Cindy has also been supported by the Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship Fund and ADAD. Spread Expression has been directly supported by Reay Studios since 2005. Cindy has worked with influential organizations such as East London Dance (Artistic Director for Limitless Dance), Jonzi D Productions (Rehearsal Director, CPD leader, Hip-Hop Theatre teacher) and the Royal Opera House ("New Dance Makers" - education/dance teacher).
Anusha Subramanyam, director of Beeja Dance Company, is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and dance movement therapist. She is seen as one of the most exciting exponents of Bharatanatyam working 'inside' and 'outside' of its tradition. Her work is trans-cultural and inter-generational. Anusha has choreographed a wide range of performances and has collaborated with artists from a variety of disciplines to create work that is accessible, entertaining and challenging. Anusha is an inspiring teacher who, for the last 23 years, has focused on integrating dance, education, somatic and contemplative practices into her work. She has also trained as a Pilates teacher. Anusha has performed and taught internationally. Her passion for dance and belief that everyone can dance is at the core of Beeja ethos.
Anusha is also a dance movement therapist, specialising in working with children with autism, mental and physical disabilities.
She is the programme leader of the CAT (Centre for Advanced Training) in Bharatanyam. In 2008 and 2009, she was the programme director for Dance-India summer school, organised by Milapfest, in Manchester.
She is an alumnus of Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts, where she graduated with honours in 1986. She subsequently trained under Leela Samson in Delhi. With her mother she worked children with special needs. In 1993 she studied at the Spastic Society in Delhi. In 1994 she was awarded the Dr. PN Berry and Chevening Scholarships to study Dance Movement Therapy in the UK.
Lucy Guerin graduated from the Centre for Performing Arts (Adelaide, Australia) in 1982 before joining Dance Exchange and later Danceworks. In 1989 she moved to New York, where she danced with Tere O'Connor Dance, the Bebe Miller Company, Sara Rudner and began her own choreography as an independent artist. In 1996 she returned to Australia and in 2002 she formed Lucy Guerin Inc., a Melbourne based company committed to developing contemporary dance and choreographic practice. Guerin has been commissioned by Chunky Move (Australia), Ricochet (UK), Dance Works Rotterdam and Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project (USA) among many others. Recent works for Lucy Guerin Inc include Structure and Sadness, Corridor and Untrained. The company has toured extensively internationally and awards include a 'Bessie', Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award, an Australian Dance Award and a Helpmann Award.