Dance East often offers short residencies to talented emerging companies, allowing them to explore and work on new material. James Cousins Dance was recently offered such an opportunity. Choreographer James Cousins recently won the first New Adventures Choreographer Award, offering him valuable mentoring from Matthew Bourne who has described James as ‘one of the UK’s most promising choreographic talents’, and audiences around the country are inclined to agree. The dance series Rough Cuts at Dance East showcased his latest work in the early stages of the development process. A very small but very knowledgeable dance audience was in for a treat when James Cousins Dance performed an early draft of There We Have Been; the finished work will be performed at Sadler’s Wells in the autumn. There We Have Been is based on the Japanese novel Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, and explores the unconventional relationship between the two main characters, portrayed by Aaron Vickers and Lisa Welham, using beautiful contact work. There We Have Been also shows an amazing display of strength and balance as the two wrap and fold around each other, with Aaron keeping Lisa off the floor for the full 20 minutes of the performance – an incredible feat! It’s difficult to pick a highlight as the whole performance was filled with beautiful moments but the contrast between the smooth delicate movements, clear lines and the fast breathcatching moments as Lisa was caught just before touching the ground was a perfect juxtaposition of movement. The post-show Question and Answer session identified small areas which need further work, such as a costume malfunction experienced by Lisa. It also allowed the audience to reflect on the work, and many wanted to see the piece again straight away because it felt like history was being made. This performance has to be seen to be believed, so book your seats for the full performance of this work at Sadler’s Wells on September 7th while tickets are still available.
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