Friday, 27 February 2009

Pancakealympics, Sunday 22nd February
Islington town Hall, Upper Street

A fun day out for all last Sunday as Islington Town Hall hosted the annual pancake race. The celebration for ten years of farmers markets in London has got off to an energetic start - we all supported our local farmers by making pancakes with locally produced ingedients!

Sadler's Wells: The Home of Dance
Traces - Les 7 Doigts de Main
performed at The Peacock Theatre until 14th March

As I entered the small theatre and was greeted by myself on film, on stage, I knew this was going to be a performance avec un petit quelque chose!

Once everyone was seated an ominous voice, somewhere from above, brought everyone to a hush with 7 Doigts de la Main's very own ironical and humoured in-house rules. Taking on the stage head first, the four men- one woman- troupe introduce themselves primarily through dance and expression. The early dance between a man and woman is beautifully choreographed. The joint movement of the pair across the stage flows so skilfully that the viewer is led to believe that the duo cannot be separated. The personal tone of their performance was immediate. With narration, photographs and film snippets of each individual’s past the audience is invited to be a part of their story.

Traces is about how to survive the unsurvivable literally- from an edge of the seat, heart stopping onlooker - but also metaphorically. In the face of destruction, the team try to create as much as they can, making traces of themselves so that they will continue to exist into infinity. From Chinese acrobatics to ballet dancing, from skate boarding to basketball, the performers explore the concept of memory and dream. A dream of sandy beaches comes true as sand is delicately littered across the stage, the acrobats dance with the basketball so that Les 7 Doigts de la Main can physically leave their traces.

The climax of the show unravelled a body defying spectacle. The audience were really on the edge of the seats, as the troupe reached super human level. The impossible was achieved. Even if infinity cannot be reached gravity can certainly be defied! Set to a fantastic soundtrack ranging from rock 'n'roll to blues to hip hop, this is a thrill-a-minute show takes your breath away.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Mud, mud glorious mud

Volunteering with B T C V @ Bentley Priory
BTCV, 80 York Way, Kings Cross

All London city types need to step out of the capital from time to time. Even, if to simply acknowledge the world that exists outside of the big smoke’s environs. Not so long ago, a friend of mine sheepishly proposed such an opportunity - An outdoorsy, welly-wearing, do –gooding venture. I would now like to share my experience with others, to those of you who are interested in taking practical action to help improve the environment, enjoy getting outdoors or simply like to stay healthy for free!

Despite a late night last Saturday Sunday morning saw us pulling on the wooly jumpers and clearly never-been-worn anoraks, and packing the essential lunch box full of enough provisions to last a week. Surprisingly well kitted out, we headed through North London on the BTCV minibus ( passing en route ‘The Egg’, and its party harder’s, which was still pumping out the beats) accompanied by 15 fellow ‘conservationists’.

Volunteering with BTCV in London gives you the opportunity to both discover some of the 'secret gardens' across London and help transform ugly urban sites into oases of wildlife, for everyone to enjoy. We were lucky enough to be spending our day at Bentley priory, an 87 ha of woodland and meadows with two bodies of water providing a wide range of habitats for all species. It is a beautiful and well managed space and just a stones throw away from London town. The site’s leader welcomed us with an inspiring story of conservation developments in the area. The enthusiasm and love he holds for his work was infectious and really generated a motivational spirit.

Our mornings work consisted of digging a trench to drain rain water away from the footpath. We soon warmed up and felt very virtuous with bare arms in February’s chill, especially as leisurely onlookers passed by buttoned up to the chin! Time quickly went and our well-earned lunch was munched as everyone quietly took in all that nature offers. After re-fuelling we really got stuck in, clearing out a pond in time for Spring. Wading our way through the half pond/ half swamp we removed dead reeds, algae and roughage. This was highly rewarding because all the team got involved and progress was so visible, both in the making of the pond and on our mud coated attire!

As the sun lowered and contented sighs were spent I think we all felt a similar sense of achievement. The ‘hands on’ approach to work really left its mark and the feeling of satisfaction was one that is often hard to come by in the hustle and bustle of city life. The day was reflective of all of BTCVs work, which has an inclusive community focus, inspiring and connecting people with places.

Friday, 13 February 2009

S H / F T By Ellie Reid

Ellie Reid – S H / F T
@ The German Gymnasium, St. Pancras Road

As the final Interact artist, Ellie Reid’s ‘Shift’ exhibition explores the journey of construction and destruction in the 67 acre industrial development site of King’s Cross. Located in the unique grade II listed building, Ellie’s work overlooks the very construction site from which it is inspired.

The centre of the exhibition is consumed by a big air sack, which inflates and gradually deflates into varying and unpredictable shapes. The changing shapes being reflective of the ever-changing material forms produced by the regeneration project; from building - to demolished brick - into rubble – and back again. This continual process of renewal has influenced her artistic activities, which seem to evolve into something unexpected.

‘Shift’ is a display of sculptural works, drawings and film projections. The combination of different art forms is mirrored through her incorporation of unusual urban materials. Ellie’s interest in the nature of material, their abilities and their vulnerabilities is shown by her use of plastic sheeting, debris netting, wood and rubble bags.

By developing the idea of, materials and their abilities, a process of evolution occurs. This feeling of change and movement in her work surrounds you. I really grasped a sense of development and progression. It is inspiring to see such creativity materialise from the huge construction project and it is a positive symbol for Kings Cross’ creative and cultural future.

If you would like to hear Ellie discuss the work generated by her Interact placement please join us on Tuesday 17th February: The artist talk, chaired by Create KX’s Gill Henderson @ the German Gym
Subscribe with Bloglines