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October 30, 2009

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Dance dramas of love, isolation

SCOTTISH Dance Theater (SDT), one of the UK's leading dance companies, makes its China debut in the city on Sunday at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center.

The troupe will perform "Tenderhook," "Dog" and "In the Middle of the Moment."

The company of 10 dancers tours regularly in the UK and internationally with artistic director Janet Smith.

The company is known for exciting, original and accessible dance pieces. Each performance features different choreographers.

Liv Lorent's "Tenderhook" is an epic search for perfect love - filled with passion, joy, freedom, constraint and compromise.

Music is created by Italian film composer Ezio Bosso. In this work, the choreographer explores physicality to evoke our sometimes blind search for impossible perfect love and an evolution toward a different kind of love, acceptance, compromise and interdependence.

"This is one work I never wanted to end," said the Scotsman critic.

"Dog" was created for SDT by rising star choreographer Hofesh Shechter. It is urban and tribal, honest, raw and sophisticated.

"Crammed with ideas and wit, this is dance for the mind as well as the senses," said The Guardian.

The work starts from two different movement qualities: one hard and chopped and the other very soft, quiet and earthy, asking questions about these two qualities and how and why the dancers move between them.

"In the Middle of the Moment" was created by choreographers Uri Ivgi from Israel and Johan Greben from the Netherlands. It is a duet about the physical restraints of a relationship, performed within a square of light to hauntingly atmospheric classical music by Arvo Part and Gyorgy Kurtag.

"This limitation and music became the inspiration for a work that beautifully examines states of play in a relationship," says Smith.

The Guardian called it "a quiet and ultimately devastating portrait of isolation."

Smith has been artistic director since 1997 and has created six works: "Playfall" (1998), "Song of Songs" (1999), "Still" (1999), "Highland" (2001), "Forty Minutes" (2004) and most recently "I Thought I Heard Somebody Calling" (2009). She has also restaged "Chiaroscuro" (1997) and "Touching Zulu" (2006).

Smith has choreographed for the Dance Theater of Ireland, the Playhouse Company (South Africa), Batsheva (Israel), Cisne Negra (Brazil) and Dance Theatre of Freiburg (Germany).

She has created children's works for the English National Ballet and Janet Smith & Dancers and has worked in opera and theater, including the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In January 2009 she won the 2008 Jane Attenborough Dance UK Industry Award.

"This will be the company's first visit to China and we feel very privileged and excited to be here," says Smith. "We are looking forward to meeting Chinese artists and making new friends."

Date: November 1, 7:15pm

Venue: Opera Hall of Shanghai Oriental Art Center, 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tickets: 50-480 yuan

Tel: 6854-1234


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