Never a Dull Moment at Motionhouse!

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2014 Mark_Simmons

 

So 2014 is racing to its conclusion!  As ever I just can’t believe how quickly the year has flown by, or indeed what we have accomplished in those 12 short months.  It’s been a year of new shows, new countries, fabulous audiences, brilliant partnerships, new faces and plenty of babies! All delivered by the brilliant Motionhouse staff team who just go from strength to strength.

We started the year with our second UK tour of Broken, pausing for a five week tour of the USA with Scattered in the spring.  With three outdoor shows in our repertoire we toured throughout Europe and the UK in the summer months, perhaps the highlight being a performance of Captive in Cap Feret in France where we travelled by speedboat to the performance location – all very James Bond!

Double -Mo-7... We go all James Bond in France!

Double -Mo-7... We go all James Bond in France!

Traction took to the beach in Fleetwood and Scattered premiered in Tokyo and Hong Kong and a brand new duet Lost was developed and premiered at the very first Motus festival in Milton Keynes.  All in all over 43,000 people have seen us perform this year… and if you’re wondering what life is like for the dancers on the road, you can watch this fantastic video shot by dancer Luka, when the company was in Tokyo and Hong Kong earlier this year.

Meanwhile we have been busy developing our programme of classes in our studio with regular classes now running four days a week for all ages and experience.  Motionhouse Youth have performed at MY Dance which was held in Birmingham as part of the International Dance Festival, at U.Dance in Nottingham, in St Mary’s church in Warwick and in our own creative bases in Leamington Spa and Warwick.

Austin talks tech, Jack and Rich line up lights and the dancers and Sam celebrate another European date!

Austin talks tech, Jack and Rich line up lights and the dancers and Sam celebrate another European date!

We have welcomed new faces to the team throughout the year; our fabulous Administrator Sam is now nearing the end of her first year, our Production Manager Austin and Lighting Technician Jack joined Rich to complete our tour crew and we were delighted to welcome back Claire who returned from maternity leave having had the beautiful Lola to take on the new role of Youth Dance Director as well as joining the company on the road when she can. We’ve also worked with a fantastic range of associate dancers as we have toured around the globe such as Luka Owen, Chris Knight and Hal Smith – thanks for all your hard work!

 

Broken

Broken is back on the road

Of course we have plenty of plans in place for 2015. Due to popular demand Broken will be hitting the road again in January and tickets are already flying out so do make sure to check our tour dates page for a venue near you.  Large performance projects are in the pipeline at Tamworth Castle, in Glasgow and in Canterbury and we will be returning to the USA for the third time. With two more Motionhouse babies due in February to add to the mix, there is never a dull moment –  2015 is certainly looking as eventful as the last year!

Wishing all our friends and supporters a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Keep your eyes peeled and watch our progress in 2015!

Louise and all of our Motionhouse team x

We’re feeling Social (Media!)

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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!

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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