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Preview: Genius at Newcastle Dance City

Premiere of Anjali Dance Company’s new production at Newcastle’s Dance City 


Newcastle Dance City     

Thursday 5th October 2017

A double bill of new work by award-winning choreographers Gary Clarke and Lea Anderson

From Symphonies to Vampires, Anjali explores the minds of Beethoven and Nosferatu in a gothic performance of dance, music, theatre and design

Anjali Dance Company announces Genius, a double bill of world premieres by award-winning choreographers Gary Clarke and Lea Anderson. Ahead of performances in Mexico and Spain, Genius will tour across England with a premiere in Newcastle on Thursday 5thOctober.  

Anjali Dance Company – GENIUS Photo: Judie Waldmann
Headed by its founder and artistic director Nicole Thomson, Anjali has been celebrating the creative abilities and artistic potential of people with learning disabilities and making high-quality, professional-level dance for over 20 years.

Through its innovative and pioneering work, Anjali engages the professional dance community in a debate about aesthetics, form, purpose and inclusion. In this new double bill, Anjali’s exceptional group of talented dancers – Hannah Dempsey, Daisy Garrett, Alex Hyde, Jason Manito, Nick McKerrow and Lauren Payne – perform two dramatic explorations of genius. 

In a series of touching and darkly humorous short sketches, Gary Clarke’s Beethoven takes a look at the extraordinary personal life of Ludwig van Beethoven. The gothic, cinematic and highly theatrical choreography is performed to excerpts of Beethoven's music.

Clarke, who recently won UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Dance and Best Independent Company at this year’s Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for COAL, said: “Working with Anjali is a rewarding, inspiring and exciting experience. They are an amazing team of talented dance artists who are fully invested in the work and its creation. Each company member brought their personality, skill, and above all their hearts and generosity to the process, which has resulted in a strong, poignant and beautiful work.”

Designs are by Ryan Dawson Laight (recently Gary Clarke Company’s COAL, Boy Blue Entertainment’s Blak Whyte Gray and DeNada Dance Theatre’s Ham and Passion). 

Choreographer Lea Anderson MBE is a hugely influential figure in the development of UK dance and has won many awards, including a number of Time Out & Dance Umbrella Awards and the Bonnie Bird Choreography Award.  

Anderson’s new work for Anjali, Bloodsucker, is based on the legend of the vampire Nosferatu and his depiction in film. The 1922 silent movie Nosferatu is regarded as an influential masterpiece of cinema and is Rotten Tomatoes' third-best reviewed horror film of all time.

In Bloodsucker, five distinct scenes become their own tales of horror, in performance styles ranging from expressionist, nuanced silent-screen acting to Hammer House of Horror action. 

Lea Anderson explains “I wanted to work with the Anjali dancers to create a new piece of work that would take risks with no possibility of predicting the outcome, something that would allow none of us to revert to safe or known methods. I look forward to working with these thoughtful and passionate artists again.

Performing in a three-sided box, the dancers move on and off stage to create the impression of film edits. A specially commissioned soundtrack by composer Steve Blake, a long-term collaborator with Anderson, distinguishes the transitions between scenes and performance styles. Designer Simon Vincenzi brings a fairground and carnival theatre setting to life.  

Nicole Thomson, founder and Artistic Director of Anjali Dance Company, said: For the past decade, Anjali has been busy creating work in-house, as well as performing a national tour in the UK of work by Vincent Dance Theatre and New Art Club, delivering learning and participatory work and touring our youth dance company, Young Anjali. We have performed in Mexico, Germany and Spain, at the Special Olympics and at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

We are thrilled to be back on tour with new work by two established and respected choreographers, Lea Anderson and Gary Clarke. Genius celebrates the creative talent of Anjali’s exceptional dancers and demonstrates exciting new possibilities in dance.”

Anjali’s Associate Dance Artist Aya Kobayashi supports guest choreographers during the creative process and provides additional choreography for Beethoven. Kobayashi also choreographs for Young Anjali which was selected to perform at the prestigious U.Dance national showcases in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 & 2016.

The Genius tour is accompanied by a bespoke programme of educational residencies and workshops, some taught by company dancers.

Genius is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and commissioned by Lancaster Arts.  Anjali Dance Company is supported by Oxfordshire County Council.

On The Web:


Age suitability: 8 years+

Duration: 1 hour plus 20 minute interval

Tour Dates:

Newcastle: Dance City (PREMIERE)      

Thursday 5 October at 1.30pm & 6pm / 0191 261 0505

Chipping Norton: The Theatre, Chipping Norton

Monday 9 October at 7.45pm

Malvern: Malvern Theatres

Monday 16 October at 7pm

Plymouth: The House, Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University            

Wednesday 25 October at 7.30pm

Bromsgrove: Artrix   

Wednesday 1 November at 8pm / 01527 577330

Leicester: Attenborough Arts Centre    

Saturday 4 November at 1pm & 4pm  / 0116 252 2455

Leeds: Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre

Tuesday 7 November at 1pm & 7.30 pm / 0113 220 8008

Lancaster: Lancaster Arts           

Thursday 9 November at 2pm & 8pm / 01524 594151

International touring:

Barcelona, Spain: Sagarra Theater (FITI Festival)

Sunday 12 November at 8pm

Querétaro City, Mexico: IV Festival Oxímoron 2017

Saturday 25 November

Puebla City, Mexico: venue tbc

Sunday 3 December

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