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Looking back on SDT's 2019

As the year draws to an end we are feeling all reflective, as what a year it has been! From welcoming a new Artistic Director to touring from Santiago de Chile to the far corners of Scotland. Indulge us in reminiscing together…

After four years performing to sell out audiences across the UK, last Spring saw the final performances of Fleur Darkin’s Velvet Petal. The shows marked our fond farewell to Artistic Director, Fleur Darkin, who joined the company back in 2012. During six amazing years, she raised the ambition and international profile of the company, commissioned some of the most exciting choreographers working today and created four new works with the company.

In April, we welcomed our new Artistic Director Joan Clevillé, who returned to the company after being a company dancer from 2009-2013:
“Back then, Scottish Dance Theatre offered me the opportunity to find my own voice as a dancer and choreographer and Dundee became both a new home and a springboard from where to launch my own independent company, Joan Clevillé Dance, in 2015. It is a joy and honour to re-join the team and develop my artistic vision for SDT, driven by artistic exploration, learning and a desire to engage with our contemporary reality”.

Joan joined us just on time to see the World Premiere of Emanuel Gat’s work for Scottish Dance Theatre: The Circle. Driven by an explosive physicality and split-second decision-making, the piece features stunning costumes by Australian designer Thomas Bradley, and was received enthusiastically by audiences and critics alike.

We had a fantastically busy summer with our four-week tour to South America in partnership with the British Council, visiting Colombia, Chile and Peru for the first time. The company performed for thousands of people in some of the most prestigious stages in Latin America, including Teatro Mayor in Bogota and the National Theatre of Peru. We also connected with local artists and participants from disadvantaged backgrounds through an extensive engagement programme of workshops, classes and open rehearsals.

In August, we brought LOOPING: Scotland Overdub and RITUALIA to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase. The Festival gave us the chance to welcome audiences and make new connections with artists and programmers from all over the world. We were proud to present the work of an internationally acclaimed Scottish choreographer, Colette Sadler, together with the immersive work of Brazilian collective 7Oito, which delighted our late night audiences with its playful mixture of dance and politics. 

We were back on the road in the autumn with a tour to rural communities in Findhorn, Banchory, Ardrishaig and Easdale Island, which is only accessible by a small ferryboat! Our new performance format, MEET Scottish Dance Theatre, showcased short works by emerging dance-makers in the ensemble and a selection of extracts from the company’s repertoire, giving audiences across Scotland an insight into the company’s life in the dance studio and on stages the world over.

The autumn tour also saw us participating in several festivals, Dance International Glasgow at Tramway and Citymoves’ Dance Live in Aberdeen as well as bringing our double bill of Process Day and The Circle to Greenock, Inverness and The Place, London’s iconic dance theatre, where the company sold out every seat available in the house! Back in Dundee, we took part in the University of Dundee’s Festival of the Future where neuroscientist Ros Langston and Osla Allen led some compelling discussions after observing our dancers in action.

Earlier this month, we hosted three sold-out performances of SPUTNIK. Presenting work across a range of disciplines, this studio performance was the culmination of a three-week creative lab where Scottish Dance Theatre dancers explored their own creative voice. Some dancers used this opportunity to travel across Europe or develop their teaching skills, whilst Pauline Torzuoli, Kieran Brown, Oscar Pérez Romero and Jessie Roberts-Smith & Luigi Nardone created new performance works. The platform also saw the launch of a new creative arts podcast by Matilda Bjärum: Head, Shoulders, Knees & POD (which you can listen to here!), and a photographic exhibition by Genevieve Reeves.

To round up the year, Joan Clevillé previewed his first choreography as Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre – Antigone, Interrupted. This intimate solo work reunites him with another familiar face for SDT fans, acclaimed dancer Solène Weinachter. Together they have given the Sophocles classic a revamp for contemporary audiences, in an exciting mix of dance, theatre and storytelling. This show will have its World Premiere at Perth Theatre on the 14 February 2020 before embarking on a UK tour. Here is an exclusive first glimpse of the new production!

What a year it has been! We thank all our audiences and supporters and we hope you will continue to join us in our journey of discovery in the New Year.

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