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April Alumni Roundup

Thu 7 May 2020

Our round up of some of the successes of Trinity Laban alumni.

With live-streams, online dance classes, podcasts and international celebrations, this month has seen our alumni taking part in all sorts of innovative new projects to continue working and creating during lockdown.

Kicking off the live-streams this month were trumpeter Laura Jurd and pianist Elliot Galvin. The two Dinosaur band members gave a concert from their home in Greenwich, then performed solo sets later in the month as part of Jazz FM’s Music Day and Free Range’ s digital TV. She also performed as part of jazz festival ‘Around the Houses’ with fellow alum Reuben James.

Ayanna Witter-Johnson performed live cello and vocals in a concert streamed from her home in the Royal Albert Hall’s new lockdown series ‘Royal Albert Home’.

Sarod-player Soumik Datta and jazz guitarist Oscar Jerome appeared in the PRS Presents: LCKDWN live-stream, performing live from their homes on 24 April. The event raised over £2.1 million for the PRS Emergency Relief Fund, supporting musicians who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus.

Acclaimed countertenor Terry Barber virtually welcomed fans into his living room for an informal concert and Trinity Laban violin tutor Andrew Bernardi played in the Art Saves Us online performance in support of the NHS.

Percussionist Manu Delago gave an online concert co-hosted by Trinity Laban. In his spare time, Manu also composed music inspired by his indoor surroundings, using kitchen utensils and household appliances to create new track ‘House Beats’ and a cover of his piece ‘Sun in the North’.

Bastard Assignments continued to improvise together in lockdown using the ‘instrument’ of Google Hangouts. The band were given a mention in the Financial Times’ article on the spirit of musical innovation.

April saw alumni sharing expertise and offering insights. Award-winning vocalist Sahra Gure gave a live session for Melodic Distraction, Chiara Favaretti taught online pilates classes, and dance alum Charlotte Bilcliffe was joined by jazz alum and bassist Rudi Creswick for an online yoga class for musicians, available to watch for free on YouTube.

Heidi Yu helped dancers improve their strength and flexibility from home in her supplementary training Zoom sessions, and Angelina Jandolo created YouTube tutorials covering everything from preparatory ballet to pointes class, advanced ballet and adult beginners ballet.

Maxine Doyle, award-winning choreographer and Associate Director of Punchdrunk, shared insights on her recent collaboration with BalletBoyz and fellow alum Cassie Kinoshi in our alumni spotlight series.

Alum and dance psychologist Dr Lucie Clements chatted to West End performer Brandon Lee Sears about how performers can look after their well-being during this challenging time, while alumni Ellie Kusner and Sutton Anker featured in a panel discussion with IADAMS and Safe in Dance International leaders about how to dance safely whilst at home.

Alumni Joe Moran, Alexandrina Hemsley, Luke Birch and Susanna Recchia were announced in Independent Dance’s upcoming alternative programme of creative practice sessions. The free sessions will vary each week and may include sound scores, creative tasks, texts, provocations, videos and online engagement sessions with the artist via Zoom in a format similar to morning class.

Alum Dante Puleio was announced as the new Artistic Director of the world-leading Limón Dance Company. Read about Dante’s practice and what he hopes to achieve in this exciting new post.

To help us stay connected with live performance while theatres and cinemas remain shut, alumni released dance films online for audiences to watch from home. Alongside their array of online dance content, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures broadcasted some of their most well-loved shows on Sky Arts, including Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and The Car Man.

Luca Silvestrini’s Protein released inspiring new film ‘Reimagining Protein’, which documents dance groups taking part in Protein’s 21st anniversary celebrations and features projects from alumni Stella Howard, Molly Wright and Ella Fleetwood.

Originally premiered at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre last year, Fabula Collective released a recording of their dance-theatre work Ley Line. Watch the full show online with choreography from TL alum James Pett.

In celebration of World Penguin Day on 25 April, Birmingham Repertory Theatre streamed an archive recording of their production Penguins. Featuring alum Osian Meilir, the film will be available to watch until the end of lockdown.

On International Dance Day 2020, alumni kept up the spirit of unity during times of isolation. Award-winning choreographer and movement director Shelley Maxwell created this relay-style video of dancers from around the world, while the 215 clip-long video ‘Dance How You Feel Right Now’ featured numerous TL staff and alumni.

Also dancing in living rooms across the globe were the members of dance company Follow Through Collective in their video ‘Together Apart’, created by alum and choreographer Greta Gauhe.

As lockdown measures began to ease in Norway, alumni Brita Grov and Sara Røisland Torsvik of dance company Kvinnereller took to the streets of Bergen and live-streamed their socially distant dancing.

In a fun new video series on Facebook, Mass Hysteria introduced a new company member each day, giving viewers an insight into the elusive species of the ‘masshysteric’ chameleon.

Keen to stay connected, alumni invited the public to get involved with online projects. Elisabeth Schilling invited participants from all over the world to film their dancing feet for ‘Shoe Dances’ while Adam Russell set up new project ‘LOVE DANCES’, asking the public to send in love stories to inspire new choreographic works.

Vocal alum Hilary Campbell created a new online choral initiative ‘Stay and Sing’ for singers to explore popular choral works.

Composer and producer Max De Lucia compiled 15-second-long clips of musicians all over the world to create new project ‘Lockdown Experiment’, featuring trumpet from alum Lily Carassik.

Continuing the spirit of unity, many music ensembles created multi-track recordings of members playing at home, coming together via Zoom. Down for the Count Swing Orchestra filmed a fun lockdown rendition of classic jazz standard ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’ featuring alum Jeff Brown on trumpet, Laura Jurd contributed to a big band online performance of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Ain’t No Telling’ and Natalia Wierzbicka played in One Orchestra’s rendition of ‘Stand By Me’.

Musical Theatre alum Tom Self was taken by surprise when a post of his lockdown version of comic Victoria Wood’s classic song ‘Let’s Do It’ went viral with over 2 million views.

In other music news this month, Lucy Drever was appointed as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s new Associate Artist. Lucy will be working closely with the musicians of the orchestra to develop new open, accessible and inclusive music in communities.

In the podcast world, alum and former Head of Jazz Simon Purcell discussed his work in education and life as a musician in The Jazz Podcast while Ayanna Witter-Johnson featured in Holding Up the Ladder, discussing her training and her unique blend of classical, jazz and R&B.

In this year’s online version of Spring Forward Festival, alumni Emily May, Beatrix Joyce, Róisín O’Brien and Sanjoy Roy were among the Springback Magazine writers conducting post-show Q&As with the artists after their live-streamed performances.

New music releases this month included composition alum Gio Janiashvili’s new track ‘Born By Chance’, and Duncan Eagles’ album ‘Spirit Bloom’ as part of his duo Million Square.

Ibrahim Aziz and Masumni Yamamoto received acclaim for their performances in new album Handel: Works for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord and Laura Jurd featured on Head of Composition Dominic Murcott’s new release 1:3:5:7Improvised Duos. 

George-Emmanuel Lazaridis’ work ‘From the Dead’ was premiered on Greek national television and released on YouTube. A concerto for piano, choir and orchestra, the piece was originally composed to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I.

To celebrate Earth Day, Soumik Datta released new single ‘Tiger Tiger’ from his album Jangal, made in protest of deforestation and climate change.


Coming Up

Luca Silvestrini’s Protein’s film ‘Border Tales‘ will be streamed live on The Place Online on 7 May.

All-female dance collective Mass Hysteria will present a performance on the Trinity Laban YouTube channel on Thursday 14 May.

Saxophonist Camilla George will give a concert in the Serious Livestream Sessions on 15 May.

Vivian Triantafyllopoulou will lead a workshop open to all ages and abilities in structured improvisational movement on Monday 11 May at 18.00 BST. Join Vivian again for an open rehearsal with her dance company on Tuesday 12 May 17.00 BST, exploring themes and ideas from their piece ‘Ego Mas’.

Winner of this year’s Gold Medal audience prize Olivia Fraser will perform a live concert of oboe music on 22 May on the Trinity Laban YouTube channel.