Yorke Dance Project Presents Two World Premieres at Linbury Theatre

The evening opens with Yorke-Edgell performing expressionist masterpiece Lamentation, created in 1930 by Martha Graham.

By: Sep. 29, 2021
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Past Present, the new programme from Yolande Yorke-Edgell's Yorke Dance Project, spans 100 years with dance works by towering figures of 20th century dance - Martha Graham, Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Sir Robert Cohan. It includes the premiere of the final work created by Cohan who died in January this year at the age of 95.

The evening opens with Yorke-Edgell performing expressionist masterpiece Lamentation, created in 1930 by Martha Graham with whom Robert Cohan trained and performed. Set to music by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály, Graham herself performed the work at its premiere in New York City that year. The dancer is encased in a tube of purple jersey with the choreography's powerful diagonals and thrilling economy epitomising grief.

Sea of Troubles, Sir Kenneth MacMillan's rarely-seen 1988 work, broke new ground in its treatment of mental distress. Yorke Dance Project revived the piece in 2016 working in close collaboration with MacMillan's widow Deborah MacMillan, who designed the work, Susie Crow, one of the original performers, and Jane Elliott, the original Benesh notator. An intimate work for six performers set to music by Anton Webern and Bohuslav Martinů, the piece takes as its starting point the death of Hamlet's father.

During the 2020 lockdown, Robert Cohan created his final work Afternoon Conversations with Dancers almost entirely over Zoom. Set to music by Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnolds, these intimate choreographed conversations tell personal yet universal stories of isolation, loss and survival with Cohan harnessing the power of dance to express the triumph of the human spirit.

The world premiere of a new work made this year by Yolande Yorke-Edgell completes the programme. With music by Nathaniel Dett, Yorke-Edgell created the as-yet-untitled work in response to the loss of Cohan, her great friend and mentor, and as a celebration of his life.

A special performance on 15 November, Connecting to Cohan, celebrates Cohan's legacy with guest artists performing some of his signature and more recent works - a rare opportunity to see so many of his works performed together. The event includes Canciones Del Alma and Communion performed by Yorke Dance Project; an extract of Nympheas performed by two guest artists from The Royal Ballet; screening of a film of Cohan creating a solo for Laurel Dalley Smith from the Martha Graham Dance Company; and a solo from Afternoon Conversations with Dancers, performed live by Royal Ballet soloist Romany Pajdak. A short tribute created by Yolande Yorke-Edgell opens the programme. This new work includes a poem written and performed by Cohan's nephew, writer Roy Vestrich, and is set to music composed by Bob Downes, performed live by flautist Rebecca Speller.

Earlier in the autumn, the company is involved in two events at the Barbican's Martha Graham Weekender. On Saturday 16 October, Yolande Yorke-Edgell will perform Lamentation in the Barbican Art Gallery as part of an exhibition celebrating the work of Graham collaborator, the sculptor Noguchi.

On Sunday 17 October, there will be a world premiere screening of Lockdown Portraits, films of the seven solos from Afternoon Conversations with Dancers, produced by Yorke Dance Project. This series of seven short films was shot by documentary filmmaker David Stewart as Robert Cohan continued to choreograph his final work for stage during lockdown. The screening will be followed by a discussion with David Stewart and Yolande Yorke-Edgell.

Yorke Dance Project Presents Two World Premieres at Linbury Theatre


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