Emily Labhart

thinking about dance, arts management and cultural representation

NYDC – Used To Be Blonde by Sharon Eyal

The National Youth Dance Company was formed in 2012, hosted by Sadler’s Wells who secured the tender earlier that year from Arts Council England and the Department for Education. A key part of Sadler’s offer for NYDC is it’s use of Associate ArtistsResident and Associate Companies, and New Wave Associate Artists to lead the artistic process, working with company members to create innovative and influential dance.

This year (2017-18), the Guest Artistic Director was critically-acclaimed Sharon Eyal, Co-Founder of L-E-V Dance Company. Used To Be Blonde premiered at Sadler’s Wells on 7th April 2018, before embarking on a national tour across England.

The piece is completely different from anything NYDC has produced before, and is a brilliant addition to the company’s repertoire.

Clad in all-black unitards, the dancers were pushed technically and physically in Eyal’s signature ‘club style’. For 50 minutes, these 41 dancers performed a hypnotic sequence of deep plie’s, rolling spines and twitching limbs set to the pulse of Ori Lichtik’s score.

Seeming almost creature-like, the movement en masse was punctuated by solo moments that pulled out vogue and waacking styles that matched Licktik’s composition perfectly – without losing itself in gimmick. Walking on demi-pointe, swirling hips and hands clasped together, the piece was mesmerising and in Alon Cohen’s stunning lighting, you would be forgiven for thinking the cast wouldn’t look out of place in AHS.

The dancers were fierce, committed, and truly gave their all to Eyal’s vision.

Used To Be Blonde by NYDC and Sharon Eyal. Photo by Stephen Wright.

Over the past six years, NYDC has build a reputation for producing work of the highest quality that pushes the perceptions of what youth dance can and should look like.

Taking on 30 new dancers each year through Experience Workshops across the country, it is a chance for the UK’s brightest dance talent to experience life as a company before many of them (on average, 84%) head off to full-time vocational training.

Sharon Eyal’s Used To Be Blonde is captivating and I would gladly see it again. Catch it on tour here.

 

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