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January Alumni Round-up

Wed 12 February 2020

Our round-up of some of the achievements of Trinity Laban alumni

With awards, music launches, new commissions and stellar reviews, Trinity Laban’s alumni have kicked off the new decade with a multitude of successes around the world.

Starting close to home,the Trinity Laban Gold Medal 2020 saw both alumni and current students showcase their finest work at Southbank Centre. Theo Perry, current student and overall winner, impressed the adjudicators with his striking and powerful vocal performance, while alum Olivia Fraser charmed with her expressive performances on oboe and cor anglais, winning the audience prize. Featuring alumni Christos FountosFlorence Russell, and Wilmien Janse Van Rensberg and current students Ben Leigh Grossart and Olly Chalk, this evening was a fantastic celebration of the very best of Trinity Laban talent.

Also at Southbank Centre this month was the Peter Edwards Trio. As part of the Friday Lunch series, the jazz trio performed new material blending jazz funk grooves with Afrobeat in the Royal Festival Hall bar.

Across the Thames, Resolution at The Place featured numerous performances from Trinity Laban alumni, including all-female dance collective Mass HysteriaShivaangee Agrawal, Rebeca Piersanti, Darren Payne, Jacob Elliot Roberts, Luke Birch, Bakani Pick-Up, Greta Gauhe, Dylan Poirot Canton, Matthew Harding, Petronella Weihahn, Clara Cowen, Rachel Laird, Julia Costa, Yanaëlle Thiran and Vanessa Abreu. Music alum Michaella Livadiotis also composed for Company Concentric’s Remainder and Milo McKinnon’s work will feature in Sababa Bar Company’s Aize Balagan. Take a look at our round-up of alumni in Resolution to find out when you can see upcoming performances from Jessica Walker, Marcus Alessandrini, Diamanto Hadjizacharia, Marlen Pflueger, Willa Faulkner and Vasiliki Papapostolou.

After finishing its Christmas run at The Place, Luca Silvestrini’s Protein took its production of The Little Prince to venues across the UK. With an adapted version for smaller venues, the dance company brought their critically-acclaimed production to more rural areas and wider audiences. We caught up with Luca to discuss Protein’s 21 years of dance.

We were thrilled to hear that Musical Theatre alum Jack McNeill made his West End debut, joining the ensemble of hit musical The Book of Mormon. While studying at Trinity Laban, Jack was a recipient of the Leverhulme Arts Scholarship and has since toured with theatre companies from across the UK.

Ever-emerging on the London jazz scene, Trinity Laban alumni have already delivered an array of singles, albums and concerts this new year. Moses Boyd released his new single Shades of You featuring vocalist Poppy Ajudha. From his upcoming album Dark Matter, the trackhas already had over 200,000 plays on Spotify.

Ayanna Witter-Johnson lent her cello and vocal skills to new single – Those Words from Anoushka Shankar’s upcoming EP Love Letters. Ayanna also released her own single Crossroads from her critically-acclaimed album Road Runner.

Pianist and composer Elliot Galvin released his new album Live in Paris, which was met with high praise in reviews from major papers. Take a look at this four-star review from the Guardian.

Elliot also joined fellow alumni Laura Jurd and Corrie Dick in Walls Come Tumbling Down, a night of film and music in the London Short Film Festival, the major international showcase between 10 and 19 January.

Trinity Laban dance alumni saw successes and new ventures worldwide in January. Dance alum Panayiotis Tofi’s work Through Me, THEM was selected for the first Cyprus Choreography Showcase 2020.

Brooklyn Draper was announced as one of five finalists in Repertory Dance Theatre’s (RDT) choreography competition REGALIA. With the winner decided by audience votes in a 1920s-themed gala in Salt Lake City, Brooklyn will now compete for the chance to win a commission for RDT’s 2020-2021 season.

Maltese dance company ŻfinMalta commissioned Rosemary Lee to choreograph Threaded Fine. A new work for a cross-generational cast of professional and non-professional dancers from across the Maltese islands, the piece consisted of a short solo repeated by twenty-four dancers in relay, increasing in age as the performance progressed.

Yukiko Masui was announced as the choreographer for Chester Theatre’s upcoming production of original work Blue Stockings.

As part of The Place’s Spring Season, Students from the London Contemporary Dance School performed newly created works by alum Leila McMillan, exploring themes of identity and gender.

Pina Bausch’s legendary work Bluebeard, has been revived by dance company Tanztheater Wuppertal with dance alum Christopher Tandy in the title role. After a successful run in Germany, Bluebeard comes to Sadler’s Wells in February.

Trinity Laban alumni frequented London’s jazz clubs this month, with vocalist Emilia Mårtensson and her band performing at 606 Club while East Side Jazz saw Jay Phelps in current student Xhosa Cole’s jazz quartet.  Alum and former Head of Jazz Simon Purcell appeared at East Side Jazz, debuting material from his newest release, Red Circle.

Ezra Collective’s You Can’t Steal My Joy was named Jazz Album of the Year in the Giles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards 2020. The collective joins the long list of alumni artists, including Nérija, Kokoroko, Nubya Garcia, Cassie Kinoshi and Joe Armon-Jones, who will appear in festivals around the world such as Coachella, WOMAD, We Out Here, Golden Plains, Bonnaroo and Naked City.

January saw Trinity Laban’s alumni achieve new heights in the world of opera. Vocal alum Lucy Elston was named a winner of Wilton’s Music Hall’s Music 4All competition, earning her the chance to receive mentoring from English National Opera and perform in the Music 4All festival. Read more about Lucy’s success and what she hopes to achieve from the experience.

Back at Trinity Laban, Transitions Dance Company announced the choreographers featuring in their 2020/21 programme. Alongside acclaimed choreographer Didy Veldman will be alumni Henrietta Hale and Rachel Lopez de la Nieta, co-founders of the interdisciplinary and socially interrogative Dog Kennel Hill Project. Alum Rachel Vonmoos will also bring her wealth of experience in theatre and dance to the company.

Coming Up

Our alumni dance platform, Bite Size Pieces, returns on Saturday 22 February. Head over to the Laban building to see Kate Brown, Aline Derderian, Daisy Farris and Elise Phillips perform new material and works in progress.

Nardus Williams and Keel Watson will perform in English National Opera’s production of Carmen until 27 February.

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes finished its run at Sadler’s Wells and will take to the road in February, touring the UK. Read this interview with Sir Matthew about the show and his career.

Vibraphonist Lewis Wright has kicked off his tour in London and will continue to play venues around the UK with pianist Kit Downes. Find out where you can catch Lewis and Kit at a venue near you.

Lynette King’s Spin-Off will present The Love Letter at Christchurch Mansion on 15 February. As artistic director, Lynette and her dance company work with young people with disabilities. Check out this interview with Lynette about her career and movement therapy practice.

Reuben James and the Puppini Sisters will perform at the Hastings International Piano Festival at the end of February.