A dance company based in Findhorn will celebrate its 20-year anniversary through it’s popular annual festival.
RISE 2023 is Dance North Scotland’s festival of contemporary dance and performance and will be back in Findhorn from Friday 26 May to Sun 28 May.
Dance North Scotland has been based in The Park Ecovillage, Findhorn, for 20 years and the Creative Scotland-funded dance organisation is celebrating next weekend with a very special edition of its annual dance festival, RISE.
Originally called Bodysurf Scotland and founded in 2003 by Karl Jay-Lewin and Deborah Lewin, Dance North Scotland has been a nexus for all things contemporary dance in Moray and the North-East for two decades.
For much of that time, RISE has been at the heart of Dance North Scotland’s creative programming, and this year’s festival is a true celebration of past, present and future – with iconic dance artists like Kirstie Simson returning to perform after a long connection with Findhorn and the local area, and new artists bringing their work to Moray for the first time, such as Solène Weinachter.
Weinachter is a long-time performer with Scottish Dance Theatre and winner of the National Dance Award for Outstanding Female Performance for Juliet & Romeo, with Lost Dog Dance. Her show AFTER ALL is a series of impassioned re-enactments of the funerals of those she’s loved – as well as an imagining of her own – and a joyous exploration of the role that dancing might play in healing.
Simson’s performance, AIRE For My Mother also touches on themes of mortality and affirms the fundamental positivity of life as she weaves her parents’ stories with her own recent confrontation and subsequent healing from a life-threatening illness, in a work that celebrates the depth of human connection and potential.
Meanwhile, Tits & Teeth by Thick & Tight is a collection of performed portraits of famous and infamous people, brought back to life through dance, mime, drag and lip syncing. Expect to be entertained by the likes of Barbara Cartland, Andy Warhol, Grace Jones – and everyone’s favourite avant-garde duo: John Cage & Elaine Paige.
Sindri Runudde is a Swedish artist, bringing the solo performance A Sensoral Lecture; an examination of auditory romance and love at first frequency, an exploration of sound, and especially the voice, as touch. Curiously examining the intimacy of the voice message, with observational humour – we discover that a voice message can be way more intimate than a nude picture.
Matthew Hawkins is an icon of dance in Scotland (and even attended a 1981 summer school for choreographers led by John Cage and Merce Cunningham). A performer in legendary choreographer Michael Clarke’s first troupe and then a formidable performer and choreographer in his own right, he now comes to RISE with READY: a beguiling 70-minutes of his signature action, and exploration of what it means to be ready as a solo dancer. And it matters to him that his solo dance is super-portable. He turns up with his second-hand CDs – Beethoven piano sonatas this time – READY for anywhere, inviting the audience to look in.
Sonia Hughes brings a different kind of performance in I am from Reykjavik – in which she arrives in Findhorn, finds a spot and builds a shelter. It’s a show that asks difficult questions about home and belonging and who has the right to exist in any given community. Part sculpture, part protest, part ceremony.
Two artists with a strong connection to Moray are Salma Faraji and Simone Kenyon, both of whom are Artists in Residence with the Arts in Moray (AIM) Culture Collective. Each will be exploring aspects of their ongoing work in development as part of RISE 2023 – with Kenyon leading a participatory session on her work with mycology – the study of fungi – in My-co-listening, she creates a moment for participants to encounter and develop our sense of kinship towards our fungal communities and wider ecologies. In an excerpt of One Woman – I Hear YOU, developed in collaboration with former Scottish Dance Theatre artistic direction Fleur Darkin, Faraji unfolds the ways in which reconnecting with her learning of British Sign Language has enabled her to end her silence.
Other events at the festival include a family workshop around movement and play, a fireside gathering, a Sunday picnic, a dance jam led by Kirstie Simson, a Screen Programme curated by Dance North Youth Company and Dance North’s 20th Birthday Party at the Universal Hall.
RISE 2023 is an examination of lives lived, of ritual and grief. An exploration of who we are, and who we could be. A delve into feelings of exclusion and of welcome, of connection with home and with biome. It’s a programme that encompasses life within a community, and it’s an invitation to join Dance North in taking a breath, sharing a smile and having a dance.
Tickets priced from £18 to £45, with workshops and talks priced on a pay-what-you-can basis. Full programme and booking information at: www.dancenorth.scot/rise
Main picture by Rosie Powell