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Digital and physical worlds and male identity explored through dance

Ascension 150x150, Cornerstone dance performance 2014 Wednesday 29 October 2014

As we count down to the launch of the Cornerstone Arts Festival 2014, we take an in depth look at each element of this year’s festival. This week we find out how dance is being used to explore male identity and the relationship between digital and physical worlds.   

The Beauty of the Beast - Saturday 22nd November (7.30pm) 

Inspired by football teams, political movements and social groups of all kinds, Beauty of the Beast explores male group identity and relationships.

Company Chameleon is an award winning dance theatre company co-directed by Anthony Missen and Kevin Edward Turner and based in Manchester. The Lowry, DanceXchange and Live at LICA have commissioned and supported Beauty of The Beast. The piece is performed to an original score, and this is its first tour.

Anthony Missen said: “Beauty of the Beast is all about male behaviour and how men interact.  It looks at the different faces of masculinity or maleness – the beauty, the beast, the idiot, camaraderie, strength, vulnerability and sensitivity. And we’ve got a brilliant cast of four (including me) along with two apprentices from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance programme. I’m very excited about Beauty of the Beast partly because this is the first opportunity I’ve had to work with a group.  Research has come from all over the place, from going to work in a young offenders’ institute in South Africa, with young men in violent communities in Trinidad, to Morocco and other places.”

After its recent premiere, Carmel Thomason from the Manchester Theatre Awards said: “..the movement was so imaginative and entertainingly choreographed by co-artistic director Anthony Missen...the beast within is brought out in some sensational fight scenes...however, the show is not all about the riotous and violent side of the male psyche.  There is beauty too expressed in the camaraderie, vulnerability and physical strength of the performers...if there was ever a show to attract more young men into dance, this is it.” 

Ascension - Wednesday 26th November (7.30pm)

Digital artists and dancers will collaborate in this premiere performance of Ascension (pictured), a show that aims at redefining dance in a technological age.

Ascension will feature a selection of exciting and original work created and performed by North West Dance artists and international digital artists. The show will include three different performances:

  • QWOP – Choreographer: Rachel Sweeney and Alex Spiers. Computer interface, digital image, human body and choreography are drawn into a beautiful maelstrom of ‘system error.’
  • Angie Walton and Bernard Pierre Louis.  Space, sound and what lies between them is witnessed and explored individually and collectively.
  • Unquiet by Choreographer Gemma Breed. This piece explores states of being, living in an environment influenced by bipolar disorder. Described by Liverpool Hope University Dance Lecturer Sarah Black as “ a curious and humane piece of work,” the focus of the collaboration between technician Paul Skinner and choreographer Gemma Breed has been to use live mixing and distortion of sound to react and respond to the dancers in real time. The piece aims to explore a complex and often misunderstood illness in a more experiential and visceral way.

Cornerstone Arts Festival performances are free to Liverpool Hope students. To book email

Members of the public can also purchase tickets: Full price £10, concessions £7 (Students from higher education institutions, under 16s and over 65s). Cornerstone Arts Festival Pass, which includes entry to all public events is available: Full price £50, concession £35. Book tickets

Full listings for Cornerstone Arts Festival 2014 

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