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March Alumni Roundup

Thu 9 April 2020

Our roundup of some of the successes of Trinity Laban alumni.

During these challenging times, alumni have continued to support the artistic community and find innovative new ways to keep creating.

Soprano Erika Madi-Jones has started creating ‘operagrams’ – messages sung through opera that can be sent to loved ones while families and friends are apart – while baritone John Savournin’s Charles Court Opera shared an important and comical quarantine message for all of us at home.

In response to the lockdown, Musical Theatre alum Anna Charlton launched new radio station Quarantine FM. Find out when you can tune in to hear Anna and her fellow hosts broadcasting live music and comedy content.

Overcoming venue cancellations, Manu Delago live-streamed his recent film Parasol Peak, on Facebook for audiences to enjoy at home. He will also be live-streaming an intimate concert from his London living room on Thursday 9 April, co-hosted on Trinity Laban’s Facebook page.

Originally set to perform on the Sadler’s Wells stage, BalletBoyz instead live-streamed their performance of new work Deluxe on the venue’s Facebook page. The show, which received a four-star review from the Guardian, featured new works The Intro by Sarah Golding with music from SEED Ensemble and Bradley 4:18 by award-winning choreographer Maxine Doyle with music composed by Cassie Kinoshi. The show is also on the programme for the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine Festival in the coming weeks. We caught up with company member Matthew Sandiford and Rehearsal Director Charlotte Pook to hear about the project and their experiences since graduating from Trinity Laban.

Staying creative and connected while self-isolating, Natalia Wierzbicka led an online orchestral performance of Carmen via Zoom with Street Orchestra Live. Watch the video here and spot the other alumni faces.

Continuing to share messages of positivity and creativity, alumni have been posting their #SelfIsolationCreations on social media. Have a listen to Valentina Ciardelli’s double bass interpretation of ‘Cha Cha’ from West Side Story, watch Yuan Jiaxin’s ‘Macarena’ and find out how to get creating yourself.

We were thrilled to hear that acclaimed choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne OBE was nominated for an Olivier Award for his work on West End hit, Mary Poppins. While we can’t see Matthew’s choreography performed live at the moment, New Adventures has released an archive recording of Late Flowering Lust (1993), choreographed by Matthew and featuring alumni Simon Murphy, Ally Fitzpatrick, Andrew George and Maxine Fone. It also co-starred the late Sir Nigel Hawthorne.

Dr Valerie Preston-Dunlop, expert on the life and work of Rudolf Laban, dance artist and acclaimed scholar, celebrated her 90th birthday this month. To mark the occasion, we took a look back over Valerie’s incredible career and her outstanding contributions to Trinity Laban in this article.

Trinity Laban dance alum and Diploma Programmes Leader Melanie Clarke published her new book The Essential Guide to Contemporary Dance Techniques. This instructional companion delves deeper into Cunningham, Graham and Release techniques, giving the reader a deeper understanding of their dance study.

Takeshi Matsumoto was selected as one of South East Dance’s very first Little Big Dance touring artists. Designed for young children, Takeshi’s immersive and participatory piece Club Origami will feature in the programme’s new season of educational outreach.

Many of our alumni enjoyed the final weeks before venue closures and social distancing, performing and seeing their talents celebrated all over the world. Dai Fujikura performed in Composer Portraits at the Miller Theatre while acclaimed pianist Reiko Fujisawa performed at Southbank Centre alongside our Carne Trust Ensemble in Residence, the Carducci Quartet.

Anna Stereopoulou was nominated for Classical:NEXT innovation award 2020 for her project PLANO. Anna was commended by adjudicators for her “persistence in using obstacles as inspiration, to invent and open new paths; for remaining active, without waiting for things to get better themselves”.

We were delighted to hear that two music alumni are set to feature in the Barbican’s 2020-21 series. Composer, researcher and curator Hollie Harding will present the world premiere of new work FERAL at a postponed date this year, while baritone James Newby will perform a self-curated programme featuring songs both old and new next January.

In true Trinity Laban style, our alumni continued to create work influenced by multiple facets of the arts. Earlier this month, Stefania Pinato and Erik Nevin performed at Sadler’s Wells as part of a dance performance based on Michael Keegan-Dolan’s new musical work The Only Tune.

Also exploring the union of music and dance, Royal Opera House and English National Ballet musician Akiko Hobson discussed the nuances, joys and struggles of life as a ballet pianist in her Ballet Piano Podcast while Anne Verheij (also known as ANNE point) continued her work curating the InShort international film festival in Shoreditch.

Stratford Circus saw dance company TRIBE// present their dynamic and empowering performance of Victoria Fox’s original work Still I Rise, inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem of the same name.

Also on the London contemporary dance scene, Elisabeth Schilling and Margarita Zafrilla Olayo performed at Siobhan Davies Studios in an Open Choreography Performance Evening, presenting works in progress and offering the chance to engage with their dance practice.

Harriet Waghorn’s EDIFICE Dance Theatre presented new work SALOMÉ at The Place while Red Bridge Arts’ production of The Secret Garden, with movement direction from dance alum Robbie Synge, toured the UK. Read this review of their performance at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre.

Jazz alumni continued to be celebrated this month. Keyboardist Joe Armon-Jones and bassist Mutale Chashi lent their talents to Tony Allen and Hugh Masakela’s new collaborative album, Rejoice. Read this great review of the album and find out more about the legendary artists. Moses Boyd also received fantastic reviews for performances on his tour promoting new album Dark Matter.

A busy month for jazz-afrobeat band KOKOROKO, the eight-piece performed at BBC’s 6 Music Festival in Camden and released new track ‘Carry Me Home’ to wide acclaim. Also releasing new music was Emma-Jean Thackray with her EP Rain Dance. Read this interview with Emma where she talks about her influences and artistic process.

In a collaboration with street artist Zabou, Nubya Garcia modelled for a mural painted on the side of U7 Lounge in Haggerston, London. The saxophonist also joined Oscar Jerome and Joe Armon-Jones, collaborating on new EP Gilles Peterson Presents: M4, recorded live at BBC Maida Vale Studios.

Coming Up

Trinity Laban will co-host Manu Delago’s live-stream performance on Thursday 9 April. Tune in at 20.00 BST to see the composer perform alongside a surprise guest.

Ieva Dubova has begun a Q&A video blog series on Facebook, where she discusses life as a pianist with a special guest every Tuesday. Ieva will also live-stream her online piano recital on Friday 10 April at 19.00 featuring music by Schumann and Chopin.

Adam Murby will be live-streaming pilates classes from his living room – check out the schedule for the coming week on his website.

Join Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures on Instagram Live for open Company Classes.

Dance alum Hagit Yakira is live-streaming free dance classes for all ages to join in with at home every Wednesday and Friday evening at 18.00 BST.