OKAN’ NIJO (meaning ‘ONE’)
5 & 6 October (UK North East Premiere) – Arc, Stockton on Tees
20 & 21 October – The Round, Newcastle upon Tyne
These shows will be followed by a series of confirmed UK dates in 2007 (Oct-Dec).
Please read on for a full list of venues (including 30 November & 1 December – The Place : Robin Howard Dance Theatre, LONDON).
Please look out for further dates to be confirmed for 2008!
Sakoba Dance Theatre – THE CHANGING FACE OF DANCE
BODE LAWAL, founder of award-winning Newcastle-based SAKOBA DANCE THEATRE, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary has spent his professional life pushing back the creative boundaries; setting new standards and always seeking perfection with every choreographed move of the arm, cusp of the hand and turn of the head.
Lawal has thrown down a personal gauntlet to devise a career-defining project that will forge a pathway towards future generations of aspiring dancers taking to the world stage and performing dance using the BODE LAWAL DANCE TECHNIQUE (BLDT).
This will act as a welcoming statement of recognising the achievements of a man who can be classed as a ‘visionary of dance’ and will contribute towards his creative legacy.
BLDT (Bode Lawal Dance Technique) is meant to emphasise the higher aspect of African dance beyond cultural tourism and other trivial or nonsensical realms in which it is frequently expressed.
“African Dance” is too vague and often a misleading term within the context in which it is widely used today; unlike terms such as Ballet and Contemporary Dance, which consistently deliver to an audience exactly what they promise. African dance cannot be associated with one particular style or technique and in most cases it is associated by a series of physical movements from different regions of Africa, with little or no insight.
Through his work, Lawal is trying to highlight the underlining threads of tradition that are present throughout the various key principles of movement in African dance that are at times overlooked or made redundant when reinterpreted by some African choreographers.
The Journeyman: Lawal has travelled the globe to meticulously research and absorb the influential technical framework of genres whose rich heritage can be traced back in time to the origins of dance.
Lawal has thrown himself into this project to sculpt a technique that will not only change the future of African dance but ultimately the way dance practitioners view their profession.
Lawal has visited a special place to gain inspiration for his dance technique – his inner self. It’s a soul-searching experience for an artist to go on a personal ‘spiritual’ journey that unlocks a vault of discovery. Lawal has travelled to Brazil, India, China & Hong Kong to unearth his post-traditional dance technique.
The research programme has been given an extra dimension as Bode has worked with some of the world’s leading lights of dance including ROSANGELA SILVESTRE (Brazil), SURUPA SEN (Nrityaagram, India) and WILLY TSAO (CCDC, GMDC – China) – this perfectly represents the level of professional acknowledgement being generated around the creation of BLDT.
Lawal’s vision identifies that all of the cultural dances are ‘equal’ in technique and use similar visual concepts of gesture with an underlining ‘spiritual connection’. He believes the dance movements originating from the Diaspora of Nigeria has a connective quality evident in the framework of other international dance techniques, which is why the creative elements of BLDT will prove its worth.
In Brazil, Bode was invited to observe a traditional ceremony at the Oshosin Temple (God of Hunting) in the company of high priests and priestesses and dedicated followers of Ososin. In the temple Bode witnessed two very different performance styles, a shrine dance focusing on a single movement phrase and at the opposite end of the scale there was a chaotic and jubilant dance of Sango (God of Thunder).
Lawal himself was taken over by the spirit of Sango, his experience would have a defining moment as a message from Sango would say his spirit would inspire Bode’s work; and during his stay in Brazil he was honoured by an oracle who named him ‘Ogodolepe’ meaning King of Kings. During his stay in South America, Lawal also delivered a master class to the internationally renowned dance troupe Bale Folclorico da Bahia.
The next stage on the journey was to capture the ambience of India, where Lawal met representatives from the cream of India’s dance scene – including Nrityagram Institute (style – Oddissi an Indian story telling dance technique), Attakkalari Institute (style – Bharathanatyam with Martial Arts), Nritarutya, STEM Dance and Usha Venkateswaran (style – traditional Indian Dance with contemporary dance). He was taken by their attitude to dance, which is very similar to his own, as Indian dance culture is open to new ideas and experimentation with other dance styles.
Lawal even led a number of master classes with students from Nrityagram Institute and Attakkalari – where he was able to deliver his highly expressive dance technique – mirroring the kind of creative relationship he wishes to develop with talented dance students from around the world in his quest to spread the word about BLDT.
In China & Hong Kong, Lawal was able to put one of the final pieces of the jigsaw together when he was exposed to the wonderful styles of Artistic Director Willy Tsao – through the City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC – www.ccdc.com) and Guandong Modern Dance Company China (GMDCC – www.gdmdc.com).
Lawal was able to work closely with 14 young, talented, energetic, risk taking dancers, who were very responsive to his BLDT. The technique should be seen as a guide and inspiration for developing a person’s own vocabulary and style – a vehicle that is driven by the human spirit and interprets the meditative qualities of dance.
One dance, one language and one God.
You wouldn’t be far wrong in thinking this journey sounds like a perfect synopsis for a Hollywood movie, it could mean Sakoba’s newest patron, legendary actress JAMIE LEE CURTIS is having a knock on effect on Bode Lawal (Curtis and Lawal first met when Bode taught her daughter the basics of African dance).
The next move: For further information about Bode Lawal’s Sakoba Dance Theatre please visit www.sakobadancetheatre.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To accompany OKAN’ NIJO (ONE) Bode Lawal and Sakoba Dance Theatre also offer workshops, educational residencies and pre/post show talks!
Dancers: Bonita Macrae; Jackson Pinto; Rebecca Wong; Andreas Decker; Joao Ferreira (Trainee Dancer); Kristin Kelly (Trainee Rehearsal Assistant); Rebecca Wong (Dancer on placement); and Ria Uttridge (Graduate Trainee Dancer).
Musicians: Henri Gaobi (Master Drummer); Peter Phillips; and Gerald N’Guijoel.
Autumn / Winter 2007 TOUR DATES:
AIDURONIJO (meaning CLOCKWORK) – (35 mins)
OGO (meaning GLORY) – *New Work* – (7 mins)
OKAN’ NIJO (meaning ONE) – *New Work* – (35 mins)
5/6 October – ARC, STOCKTON ON TEES www.arconline.co.uk
7.30pm / £10 / £8 / £5
Telephone: (01642) 525 199
11 October – Phoenix Arts Centre, LEICESTER www.phoenix.org.uk
8pm / £9 (full price) / £8 (smart card) / £7 (smart card concs) / £6.50 (concs)
Telephone: (0116) 255 4854
17 October – Trinity Arts Centre, TUNBRIDGE WELLS
8pm / £13.50 / £11.50
Telephone: (01892) 678 678
18 October – Hextable Dance, Swanley, KENT www.hextabledance.com
7.45pm / £11 (full) / £8 (concs)
Telephone: (01322) 618 618
20/21 October – The Round, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
7.30pm / £12.99
Telephone: (0191) 2605 605
2/3 November – Arthur Cotterell Theatre, KINGSTON UPON THAMES
7.30pm / £10 (full) / £5 (students)
Telephone: (020) 8547 5205
1 November – Leatherhead Theatre, Leatherhead, SURREY
7.30pm / £14.00 / £11.50
Telephone: (01372) 365141
8 November – Farnham Maltings, FARNHAM www.farnhammaltings.co.uk
8pm / £15 / £13
Telephone: (01252) 745444
24 November – Gate Theatre, GOOLE
8pm / £8 / £6
Telephone: (01405) 763652
30 November & 1 December – The Place : Robin Howard Dance Theatre, LONDON
8pm / £5 / £7 / £10 / £12 / £15
Telephone: (020) 71211100