We’re feeling Social (Media!)

0
Cascade is off to Great Yarmouth this weekend! Image by Colin McLeod

Cascade is off to Great Yarmouth this weekend! Image by Colin McLeod

It’s the end of another busy week here at Motionhouse and this week in particular ends with a bang! We’re welcoming Motionhouse Youth back into the studio again tonight as a new term of classes has begun in earnest this week, the dancers are off to perform Cascade in Great Yarmouth and in the office we’re busy with applications for new Board Members (recruitment closes at 5pm today, more details here) and going through the responses to our Social Survey.

We’ve always prided ourselves on trying to bring you online content that is relevant, up to date and fun, even when the dancers are thousands of miles away! We’d love to know how you think we’re doing with this: do you want more behind the scenes content? interviews? more videos? less pictures? We are open to suggestions over on our Social Survey! Simply follow the link here, fill out the form and as a thank you, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win some exclusive new Motionhouse merchandise!

We’ll be posting next week bringing you up to date on Festivals, Classes and much more so do check back with us,

 

Speak soon!

 

Lara and the Motionhouse team x

 

Traction Takes to the Beach!

0

 

Traction is back!

Traction is back!

At Motionhouse we’re known for doing things that are – well, a little unusual! We work incredibly hard and also have an extraordinary amount of fun putting together dance spectacles, in accessible locations for everyone to enjoy and as anyone who has followed us for a while will know, there is one show that appears in our repertoire rarely but generates a huge amount of excitement when it does. This weekend just gone, thousands of people in Blackpool witnessed six dancers and three JCB diggers reunite for two amazing shows on Fleetwood Beach as Traction returned to the UK for one day.

Traction is not a show for the faint hearted, so when Spare Parts Festival & Left Coast Entertainment contacted Motionhouse to ask if we could appear on the beach in Fleetwood as part of Tram Sunday, a yearly event celebrating all things automotive – we knew we had found a perfect match. Our last performance of the show was to 16,000 people in Marseille against a dramatic backdrop of sand, blue sky and crystal sea and we were all looking forward to bringing the show back to life on another beach (especially in the gorgeous July sunshine!) We were also extremely excited to hit the road again with dancer Claire Benson, who has been heading up our Youth Program since her return from Maternity leave with the occasional Captive performance under her belt. Claire was part of the original Machine Dance team and has performed the show in all of its reincarnations. Reunions aplenty!

What a weekend!

What a weekend!

So with the sun shining and the excitement palpable, dancers, drivers and director arrived on the beach for the first day of rehearsals and instantly encountered our first problem – the sand! We have performed on beaches twice now, but previously we have been working on beaches where the sand is finer and much more compact, meaning it stays firmer under foot. The sand at Fleetwood was thick and slightly damp underneath, meaning it could be churned up easily by movement – a real problem for dancers trying to move quickly and also for the machines, which couldn’t gain any speed on the unusual terrain. Working on an unusual surface, coupled with the usual challenges of bright sunlight obscuring vision, sand in the eyes and having to work within strict times due to the tide claiming a huge proportion of the beach back quickly, meant rehearsals were of the utmost importance. However, after several attempts at a run through of the production on our first day, it became apparent that some of the choreography we had previously used would simply not be possible on the sand so it was back to the drawing board for 24 hours as new lifts were inserted, floor work was altered and the dancers got used to moving on the surface.  Everything was carefully analysed, work repeated and many discussions had to make sure everyone was 100% happy. You can  catch up with Kevin’s thoughts on the project below:

 

With a new version (especially for Fleetwood) created, we were deep into rehearsals for the next two days, and through sunburn and sand the show took its new shape… feeling happy and confident on the diggers once more, we even managed to find time to choreograph a wet weather alternative in response to the grey clouds that were gathering ominously overhead on Friday. If the diggers are wet, it’s incredibly dangerous to attempt to hang off the buckets or stand on the roof of the machine for fear of slipping – so we were prepared for all eventualities!

by Lara Coffey

The terrain made movement more difficult!

Finally Sunday rolled round and we were relieved to see clear blue skies and thousands of people flooding the streets of Fleetwood ready to enjoy various vehicles, performances and the seaside!  The huge crowds that flocked to the beach to watch us (around 3,500 people in 2 shows), was simply fantastic! Audiences gasped, whistled and watched with baited breath as the dancers and drivers pulled out all the stops for the crowds.  You can see even more images from our performances over on our Facebook and Twitter.

#BrokenBigScreen

#BrokenBigScreen

Traction may be having a rest for a while but there’s still plenty going on. You can see where our other outdoor shows are touring and check out dates and times here. We’re also incredibly excited to announce that for the first time ever, we will be live streaming a Motionhouse theatre performance on big outdoor screens in different cities around the UK.  On Monday 28 July, if you are in Swindon, Coventry or Woolwich you can watch Broken on the City Centre large screens for FREE as it is streamed live from the IFTR conference at Warwick Arts Centre, courtesy of the University of Warwick. It’s the first time we’ll be streaming a performance and we’re very excited about taking another innovative digital step forwards.

Just before we sign off – we wanted to let you know that we’re recruiting! We currently have vacancies on our Board for senior and networked individuals with the necessary time, energy and dedication to help lead us through our next stages of development.  Full details can be found by clicking here.

That’s all for now,

Speak soon!

Lara and the Motionhouse team xx

 

 

 

A Top 10 Trip to Tokyo!

0
Scattered by Sharen Bradford

Scattered by Sharen Bradford

 

Greetings from the road!

We write this from a warm and beautiful Hong Kong where we are preparing to perform Scattered  to sold out houses over 3 nights at the Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre. As you can imagine – we’re hugely excited for the shows and we’ll be keeping you up to date with pictures, films and more over on our Facebook and Twitter pages so you don’t miss a moment of the tour! This weeks blog however is  looking back on a week that we’ll never forget; our first trip to Japan! Our time there was truly a wonderful experience and we wanted to share with you our Top 10 things about Tokyo, so without further ado… let the countdown commence!

10. Sea Disney

With a day off before heading out to Hong Kong on thursday, dancers Danny, Luka and Ally took the opportunity to visit Sea Disney – one of the only Disney Theme Parks in the world that is not owned by The Walt Disney corporation. It is also one of the most expansive theme parks in the world, with rides, giant boats, water rapids and so much more -lots of fun was had by all!

At Sea Disney!

At Sea Disney!

9. The Robot Restaurant

We’ve seen some truly amazing things in our time travelling the globe but this restaurant with it’s stunning performances and interactive robots will be hard to beat – we left wondering whether we could convince Kevin into using robots in the next show we make, hehe!

The Robot Restaurant was amazing!

The Robot Restaurant was amazing!

8. Fish Markets

Jo, Becci, Junior and Chris all enjoyed wondering around the Fish Markets in the early morning and checking out some of the more unusual catches that had been bought in!

Fish Markets in the early hours.

Fish Markets in the early hours.

7. Tokyo Tower

We were all suitably impressed with Tokyo tower which is the second tallest structure in Japan. The towers design was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, though it is noticeably brighter – after asking around we managed to find out that its orange and white appearance is not  decorative and is actually to comply with air traffic regulations!

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

6. The Food

In previous blogs we’ve talked about how the dancers get the most out of their diets to make sure they can withstand the physically demanding nature of the shows and with 5 Scattered shows in 3 short days – our diet was extra important! We’ve  been treated to some of the most delicious local delicacies and foods that definitely helped us keep our energy levels up – yum!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

 

5. Japanese Culture

“I have always wanted to go to Japan and to make the journey with our work was a dream. I can honestly say that Tokyo has been one of my favourite places to play. It made me want to go back and spend time there researching material for a show. We all found the people, the culture and the city so stimulating; I would love to find an opportunity to collaborate in Japan (adding it to my wish list!) We are all hoping that we will have the opportunity to take Broken there and further develop our relationship with this amazing city. Who knows what the future might bring..!” – Kevin Finnan

Becci and Junior investigate Saki and Harajuku

Becci and Junior investigate Saki and Harajuku

Traditional Kimonos and stunning architecture.

Traditional Kimonos and stunning architecture.

 

4. Shrines

Martina particularly enjoyed exploring the local shrines and learning more about the Culture surrounding them. For anyone visiting Tokyo, we recommend visiting the Meiji jingu shrine and Senso-ji temple which are two stunning examples of Japanese architecture.

Senso-ji temple and Meiji jingu Temple

Senso-ji temple and Meiji jingu Temple

Junior on the way to rehearse!

Junior on the way to rehearse!

 

3. The Venue

The Blue Theatre in Roppongi was originally built to house the Blue Man Group’s lengthy Tokyo residency (nearly 1,500 shows in total – wow!) and can seat up to 900 people. Now the theatre prides itself on housing productions that are unusual or out of the ordinary – a perfect fit for Scattered! It’s a beautiful space that provided a much welcomed (and air conditioned!) place to rehearse and perform.

 

Just two of the wonderful crew!

Just two of the wonderful crew!

2. The People

From the moment a tour to Tokyo was first mentioned we’ve been privileged to work alongside a truly fantastic team who have made sure that our Japanese premiere was a resounding success. From the team at IMG Asia to the technical crew in the venue, everyone has worked incredibly  hard and we’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make the show a hit!

 

Thank you Tokyo!

Thank you Tokyo!

1. The Response.

“Tokyo was a fantastic cultural experience. I was really proud to take our work there. The Blue Theatre has a beautiful stage and terrific sound system so the show looked really great onstage. The Tokyo audience were respectful, warm and attentive and the promoters were truly fantastic. I could not have wished for a better introduction to Japan. Thank you!”

Kevin Finnan

 

So that’s all from us for now! You can see more from the Robot Restaurant, Sea Disney and our other adventures in Tokyo in this fab video that dancer Luka has made, by clicking here.  We’re heading back to rehearsals here in Hong Kong, until next time…

Love from us all on the road and in the office! X