Fierce female dancers bring African-Caribbean influences to life in ‘Vigour’
African and Caribbean influences, including the work of great Zimbabwean artist Albert Manvura, provides inspiration for a new production by one of the country’s most exciting new dance companies. Keneish Dance, led by bright, young choreographer Keisha Grant, will tour the UK for the first time through August, September and October, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence.
Performed by a fierce cast of female dancers, VIGOUR promises to entrance audiences with three, captivating pieces of contemporary dance that draw strongly from Keisha’s reflections on growing up, living and working in Birmingham and London. The dances are inspired by womanhood and the way people conduct relationships with each other, combining street and contemporary dance with upbeat rhythms to create a modern dance experience.
Combining Keisha’s interests in both performance and fine art, VIGOUR includes a unique sculptural installation, created in collaboration with artist Heidi Luker. The cast of four dancers integrate the sculpture into Repertoire 1, creating a fusion between the static object and the dancer’s physical energy, translating deep reflections on what it means to be a woman.
Repertoire 2 draws inspiration from chance encounter one of Albert Manvura’s stunning Shona sculptures displayed at The Horniman Museum, London. The emotions, elegance and simplicity of the sculpture’s features are brought to life in this performance, where a watchful owl becomes a powerful weapon for defence against enemies and negative spirits.
Simple human interaction is explored in Repertoire 3 as three dancers make conversation through dance. Beautifully playful, exuding Keneish Dance’s enthusiasm for drawing audiences into contemporary dance that they can instantly relate to, the performance invites people to consider how our natural ability to communicate can be a language in itself. As one of Keisha’s first choreographed dances, reworked for the tour, she returns to her origins as a performer who is fascinated by the way people interact with each other.
After premiering VIGOUR at the Billingham International Festival in August, Keneish Dance performs at venues in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Shrewsbury and Corsham in Wiltshire. VIGOUR has been made possible with support from the Arts Council England.
Click here for further information about Keneish Dance, including video excerpts.