Behind the scenes: ‘Swapping Shadows’

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Costumes drying after our last rehearsal at Elizabeth House, 22/01/2018

Sunday 28th January 2018

‘Swapping Shadows’ premiered 5 days ago to a sold-out theatre. No wonder it took me a couple of days to land from cloud nine. I have been wanting to blog about it, without knowing where to start from. What to show? What to share? I wish you could all have experienced the piece live. How could photos and reviews account for it? Should I let you read what other people thought, or share my own text and thoughts first?

Well, let me take you backstage, where it all began and where everything took shape. Photos, texts, reviews and footage from the show will follow little by little over the next few weeks.

On Monday this week, Shivaangee and I had our very last rehearsal at Elizabeth House. Our costumes and lighting designers Akshy and Sally came to support us and check all final details. One of Shivaangee’s friends also watched us and gave us very encouraging feedback that morning. The centre’s director Nathalie Renaud saw our last run through the piece and said it took her on a journey – a journey I hope to continue further, with many more spectators…

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Four roses for my four collaborators, discreetly displayed in the dressing rooms. The Place theatre, 23/01/2018

Tuesday was the big day, with a 3-hour long technical rehearsal on stage, and the show’s premiere in the evening. The time had finally come to put our dance under the spotlights! It was a joy to tread across the stage and see everything come together, under the eager eyes of our photographers.

Between the tech run and the actual show, I took a break and shared some cupcakes with my sister who had freshly arrived from France. We stopped by the florist, so I could buy roses for my collaborators before picking up our parents and their friends from St Pancras International station. I left them shortly before 6pm to get into the zone for this long-waited-for performance.

Studio 7 was empty – a white blank page where calmness and focus would prepare me to ‘write’ the night. Between the dark windows and familar sounds of stamping feet above my head, I saw my 18 years old self, Second Year student at LCDS. There in this very studio, she used to come, solo. Rehearsing, trying again and again to make movements that would match this or that piece of music. Here she was again. Morning ballet class. Hair in a bun and leotard. Fighting for turn out, jumping, pirouetting, sweating… and perhaps not breathing enough.

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Pre-performance selfie in Studio 7, 23/01/2018

Now there I was. Singing the last tune of my piece. Same dancer, same (but even further trained) body, now aged 23. A graduate, returning, wanna-be emerging artist. Dancer/choreographer, proud to have her work programmed at The Place’s Resolution festival. To me, performing there felt like homecoming. It was The Place where I belonged.



Défi “dans’coveries” 2018

Mon ticket et le programme pour la soirée d'ouverture de Resolution 2018
Mon ticket et le programme pour la soirée d’ouverture de Resolution 2018

Samedi 13 janvier 2018

En ce début d’année, inspirée par les prouesses de ma blogueuse littéraire de soeur et regrettant de n’avoir pas vu assez de spectacles à mon goût au cours des derniers mois, j’ai décidé de me lancer le challenge suivant :

aller voir un minimum de 24 spectacles de danse sur l’année 2018, et faire en sorte que les spectacles en question répondent à 24 critères différents.

En lisant ce blog, vous serez témoins de mes accomplissements tout au long de l’année … et je suis bien partie pour faire mieux que prévu 😉 En une semaine seulement, je suis déjà allée voir 3 spectacles, dont 2 soirées composées. Un total de 10 pièces différentes !

Curieusement, je commence par le bas de la liste : mercredi, j’ai atteint l’objectif d’aller voir une pièce ou installation qui dure plus de 2 heures (catégorie numéro 24). L’adaptation de “Cendrillon” qu’a réalisée Matthew Bourne, une extravagance dansée en trois parties, durait en effet 2 heures 30 !

Aujourd’hui, mon amie chorégraphe Irene Fiordilino présentait son solo “Self-portrait in Yellow Shades” dans le cadre du festival “Abeerance” à Platform Southwark. Il s’agissait d’une pièce présentée dans une endroit où je n’avais encore jamais mis les pieds. C’est donc la catégorie numéro 23 que j’ai remplie.

Voilà, plus que 21. Et ça tombe bien : le festival Resolution 2018 vient juste de commencer !

Curieux(-se) ? Intéressé(e) ? Amis amateurs de danse, si l’envie vous prend de vous joindre à ce challenge, faites-moi signe ! Je vous enverrai volontiers la liste complète des 24 catégories de spectacles de danse à aller voir cette année.

Resolution: one month to go!

Saturday 23rd December 2017

I came home to Belgium yesterday and spent most of today wrapping up Christmas presents for my family. It’s time to wish you all a very merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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This year, I’m proud to offer my grandparents two tickets for my very first show as an emerging choreographer: ‘Swapping Shadows’, programmed for Resolution 2018. Please note that the theatre’s box office is now closed and will reopen on Friday 5th January. Meanwhile, of course, you can still buy tickets online!

Have a wonderful festive season and I hope to see many of you at The Place exactly one month from now, on the 23rd January 2018 🙂


Du temps et de l’espace !

Jeudi 14 décembre 2017

A dix jours de Noël, alors que toute la faculté de danse du conservatoire Laban est en vacances, Shivaangee et moi profitons du calme et de l’espace du bâtiment. Des studios vides et libres comme des pages blanches. Le décor idéal pour chorégraphier les derniers morceaux de “Swapping Shadows” – à savoir, le prologue de la pièce et nos solos.

'Swapping Shadows' (preview). London, 03/12/2017. Photo by June Essex
Yanaëlle Thiran et Shivaangee Agrawal dans “Swapping Shadows” (preview). Londres, 03/12/2017. Photo: June Essex

Eh non ! Je n’avance pas vraiment dans l’ordre chronologique. Franchement, je n’ose même pas calculer le nombre d’heures, de jours et de semaines de répétitions que nous avons déjà consacrées à cette création. L’important, c’est que notre duo prend vraiment forme maintenant. Patience, vous verrez … Rendez-vous à The Place le 23 janvier

Au fait, avez-vous réservé vos places ?

Ou, vous qui êtes à l’étranger, avez-vous jeté un coup d’œil au site du théâtre ? Il faut le voir pour le croire : mon nom est au programme ! Et pas seulement sur internet : “Swapping Shadows” apparait aussi dans la brochure papier que j’ai photographiée pour vous. Devinez à qui sont ces ombres :

Pages extraites de la brochure du festival Resolution 2018 à The Place
Pages extraites de la brochure du festival Resolution 2018 à The Place


Note for my English speaking readers: fear not! There is more to come soon, and my next post will be in English of course.

‘Swapping shadows’: December dates

  • Sunday 03/12, 4:30pm at Chestnuts Community Centre (North London)Tottenham Community Choir Presents: Winter Concert 2017

Just like last year, I have been invited as a guest artist to be featured in Tottenham Community Choir’s Winter Concert. This time, Shivaangee and I will show an 8-minute long excerpt of our duet to the choir and their audience. Today’s rehearsal was pretty promising… and I’m glad to say that the event is now sold out!

  • Friday 08/12, 7:30pm at the Bunker Theatre (South London)

PerMonday Club presents: Bunker Bitesforming seems to be the best way of getting ready for our official premiere in January! That is why we are going to perform part of ‘Swapping Shaodws’ again in Monday Club’s ‘Bunker Bites’, an evening of sketches, dance, short plays, film and live music. Book tickets here | 53a Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU

  • Wednesdays 13/12, 20/12 and Thursday 21/12, 12-4pm, at arebyte Gallery (East London)

Concertina at arebyte Gallery, London, 31/10/2017Pop in one of our open rehearsals at Concertina, an installation by Richard​ ​Wentworth​ ​and​ ​APPARATA. It is hosted by arebyte​ ​Gallery until the 22nd December only, and entrance is free! Sit and watch us from the staircases. Tell us what you think, or write it down on a post-it note. We would love to hear your thoughts on the piece!

Concertina​​ ​explores​ ​the​ ​social​ ​potential​ ​of​ ​art​ ​spaces​ ​and​ ​transforms​ ​the gallery​ ​into​ ​an​ ​environment​ ​for​ ​openness​ ​and​ ​discussion​ ​-​ ​hence​ ​our open​ ​call​ ​for​ ​artists,​ ​local​ ​communities​ ​and​ ​residents​ ​to​ ​use​ ​the​ ​space.​​ ​|​ ​#Concertina​ ​​|​ ​#LondonCityIsland |7​ ​Botanic​ ​Square,​ ​London​ ​City​ ​Island,​ ​E14​ ​0LG

A dancer’s travel diary

Monday 7th August 2017 – Sydney solo

I have been lucky enough to fly to Australia! And as always, I took my dancing dreams in a suitcase. I’m getting so inspired by this gigantic land that I wanted to share some sights with you all.

Sydney Opera House by night, 04/08/2017
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 07/08/2017

This morning, when I entered the Art Gallery of New South Wales, I went straight down to the contemporary arts section. Alone. Empty bright spaces, with a selection of scupltures/installations that seemed to crave movement and human bodies to inhabit them. Maybe I’m biased, because I danced in museums, in and around sculptures on several occasions this year! Visiting this part of the gallery reinforced my willingness to insert contemporary dance into visual arts. Nowadays, artists are literally building spaces, making room for people to move in, it seems. So why not?

Of course I couldn’t, and didn’t, touch any of the artworks exposed. But as you can see on the picture on the right, I had fun with Ugo Rondinone’s clockwork for oracles (2011).

On the escalators, a massive quote painted up on the wall drew my attention:

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 07/08/2017

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I dance, teach dance and practice choreography: ‘to pass from feeling to meaning‘ …

I spent the afternoon at Sydney’s world-famous Opera House. Although I found the tour slightly pricey, I came out thinking that it was very much worth it! The tour guide took my group in two of the ‘small’ auditioriums, as well as in the main concert hall. He showed us and told us about the inside of the architecture, which was quite fascinating. We even got to touch it from the outside!

The photos below might tell you more than words about what I saw today:


Version française bientôt disponible !

Squeaky sneakers

Monday 20th March 2017

Everyone can dance.

I share this conviction with the MoveMe team, which I joined today This afternoon, we taught a taster session in Islington, and I found a new name for a movement in the choreography: ‘squeaky sneakers’. This was just a foretaste of the events we will run in the spring and summer … More to come soon!

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Lundi 20 mars 2017

Tout le monde peut danser.

Je partage cette conviction avec l’équipe de MoveMe, que j’ai intégrée aujourd’hui Cet après-midi, nous avons animé une session d’introduction à Islington, et j’ai trouvé un nouveau nom pour un mouvement de la chorégraphie : “squeaky sneakers” (ou “baskets grinçantes”, ce qui sonne tout de suite moins bien en français). Ce n’est qu’un avant-goût des rendez-vous dansants qui vont rythmer le printemps et l’été …

A suivre !