‘Swapping Shadows’ reviewed

Sunday 11th February 2018

Many thanks to those of you who spoke to me, texted or emailed me after having seen ‘Swapping Shadows’ in January. Your thoughts and encouraging words are all gathered in the ‘spectators’ book’ I have been compiling, alongside the following official reviews:

Yanaëlle Thiran’s charming Swapping Shadows brought warmth and light to the evening. Solo pieces showcased Yanaëlle Thiran and Shivaangee Agrawal’s individual skills in contemporary and Bharatanatyam styles, but it was the duets which were eye- catching and heart-warming: a real dance sisterhood. Yes, Indian forms and contemporary dance are old companions, but the delicacy, respect and genuine curiosity for each other’s form and expression promised something fresh. The audio narrative didn’t engage, but I was gently swept away by the visuals: smooth shapes, loose tumbles and harmonious lines with effective, uncomplicated lighting. Eye-soothing synchronisation, syncopation, mirroring and the dancers’ personal connection made Swapping Shadows joyfully easy to watch.

– Stephanie Brown

'Swapping Shadows' at The Place's Resolution festival, 23/01/2018. Photo by Madeleine Elliott DSCF3509
‘Swapping Shadows’ at The Place’s Resolution Festival, 23/01/2018. Photo by Madeleine Elliott

Yanaelle Thiran performs in her own duet opposite Shivaangee Agrawal. Shadowing each other in movement, they begin at a distance before investigating the whole space. Approaching and retreating from a low level spotlight they split into their constituent roles for solos – Thiran’s languid, long-limbed shapeshifting versus Agrawal’s Bharatanatyam-inspired stamps and whirls – before regrouping. The accompanying texts in French and English are less distracting than the music tracks whose variety unseats an otherwise elegant, well-plotted work.

– Neil Norman

'Swapping Shadows' at The Place's Resolution festival, 23/01/2018. Photo by Madeleine Elliott DSCF3598
‘Swapping Shadows’ at The Place’s Resolution Festival, 23/01/2018. Photo by Madeleine Elliott

These reviews were published on The Place’s website on Wednesday 24th January 2018. Read more at: https://www.theplace.org.uk/blog/resolution-review-2018/tue-23-jan-lydia-touliatouyanaelle-thiranhinged-dance-co

P.S. If you are reading this and have any more thoughts on the piece, please drop me a line. Your feedback will surely inform or help shape my future choreographic projects!


“Swapping Shadows” ou échanger d’ombres

Dimanche 4 février 2018

Ce texte, ceux et celles d’entre vous qui étaient au théâtre The Place le 23 janvier dernier l’ont entendu, apprécié et demandé en version écrite. Le voici donc :

Reste dans l’ombre.
Reste dans l’ombre.
Écoute, observe
Sans dire un mot.
Ensuite, enfin, lève la main.

Si mon ombre avait un bruit,
il serait doux,
ça ne fait pas l’ombre d’un doute.
Pas menaçante pour un sou. Rien à craindre.
Vous, dans la pénombre.
Elle, aussi.
Sur un pied d’égalité,
Ou à peu près.

Surtout, surtout, surtout : ne pas vous faire de l’ombre.
Prendre toute la lumière ?
Devant vous, dans l’obscurité ?
Qui m’y autorise ?
Qui m’en empêche, hein ?
On échange ?

Des parts d’ombre …
Des doutes …
En pleine lumière.
Du bruit. Ma respiration, le martèlement de mes pas.
Bouger. Plus vite que mon ombre. Plus vite que mon ombre ! M’arrêter ? Au risque de vous ennuyer ? Non ! Vous n’êtes pas là pour ça. Vous ayez choisi de passer votre soirée à l’ombre des jeunes filles de fleur, des danses de jeunes chorégraphes émergentes, prometteuses … Originales ? Ou suiveuses ? A leurs côtés, je ne suis sans doute que l’ombre de moi-même. Balbutiante. Débutante. Vulnérable.

On échange ?

L’ombre de Londres,
Mes héros, ces géants,
Fantômes de The Place,
Chorégraphes, enseignants,
Hantent mes mouvements,
Hantent mes pensées.

Naviguer sur leurs traces, ne pas sombrer
L’illusion : les suivre comme leur ombre. Y croire !
Je n’arriverai … ja-mais
Je n’arriverai peut-être jamais à les dépasser.
Seulement les suivre !
Discrète, muette comme une ombre,
Non, pas muette comme une tombe.

Pour aller de l’avant.

Texte écrit et enregistré par Yanaëlle Thiran pour Swapping Shadows

Première : Londres, 23 janvier 2018.

Photos : Madeleine Rose Elliott

Costume : Akshy Marayen

Lumières : Sally Somerville-Woodiwis

Behind the scenes: ‘Swapping Shadows’

2018-01-22 Costumes IMG_5409_1024
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…

2018-01-23 Roses IMG_5412_1024
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.

2018-01-23 Backstage 19.21.02
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.


The Place where it all begins (again)

2018-01-06 The Place IMG_5281_1024Saturday 6th January 2018

I went back to The Place this morning, and got there at 9:00am (earlier than I normally do!) ready for a new year of dancing, teaching and performing.

This term, I continue teaching my lovely little First Moves (children aged 5-7) and New Moves (aged 8-9). I was delighted to see them again and meet a few new faces. Amongst these was my new teaching assistant, Theia, who studies at LCDS. She was wonderfully supportive and took good initiatives in both of my classes. I noticed that she immeditaly established great contact with the children, which was a joy to observe. The accompanist who joined us for New Moves did a great job too.

By the way, there will be more on music and musicians in my next posts!

If you follow me through this blog, you probably know how much I love to work, take classes and meet people at The Place. Of course, there are many personal and historical reasons for this.

Dance history is something I would love to research further, teach and write about, actually. This morning, my New Movers were so eager to find out more about Martha Graham, and how and when dance positions had been codified in classical and modern dance techniques… Did you know that The Place was founded 50 years ago? And do you know what connects The Place to Graham herself? More to come on this blog throughout the year!

2018-01-06 The Place IMG_5269_1024Architecturally, there is also something quite unique about The Place. No wonder that calling it ‘The Place’ seems to be enough – as if there was only one place (for dance) in the world. Even though one side of the building looks like a perfectly normal dance school (with lots of studios, bright light coming through the windows, and attractive stretching zones), a walk down the mysterious corridors of the lower ground floor and across the cafe leads directly into the theatre! And there I was. Facing a massive poster announcing ‘Resolution – The festival for new dance’. Next to it, I felt small, but determined. Small, but proud to be a small part of it. And ready, so ready for it!

The opening night of Resolution 2018 is near, and tickets are selling fast. I hope you have you booked yours. My collaborators and I will be back at the theatre on Monday, so watch this space for more posts on #swappingshadows and #Res18!

Prochain article en français, bien sûr. L’alternance continue en 2018. A bientôt !

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!

2017-12-23 Tickets IMG_5094_1024

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 🙂


‘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

www.bunkertheatre.com | 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.

www.arebyte.com​​ ​|​ ​#Concertina​ ​​|​ ​#LondonCityIsland |7​ ​Botanic​ ​Square,​ ​London​ ​City​ ​Island,​ ​E14​ ​0LG

“Swapping Shadows” : nous voilà !

Jeudi 23 novembre 2017

Aujourd’hui, c’est J moins 2 mois pour la représentation de “Swapping Shadows”, mon spectacle en cours de création pour le festival Resolution 2018, à The Place.

2017-11-23 The Place theatre IMG_4846_1024Aujourd’hui, donc, je me suis rendue au théâtre pour la session de “pré-production” offerte à tous les chorégraphes participant au festival. Nos collaborateurs étant les bienvenus, j’avais donné rendez-vous à mon équipe au 17, Duke’s Road. The Place for dance.

C’est l’occasion de vous présenter la team “Swapping Shadows” : de gauche à droite, voici Sally Somerville-Woodiwis, notre scénographe et éclairagiste, Shivaangee Agrawal, qui danse avec moi dans la pièce, et Akshy Marayen, costumière. Vous connaissez la chorégraphe !

Assises côte à côte sur les fauteuils du théâtre, nous avons passé une demi-journée intensive entre les projecteurs, hauts-parleurs, fumigènes et filtres de couleurs. Oui, la magie du théâtre était dans l’air, mais elle n’effaçait pas ma conscience des heures de travail encore à venir pour que ce projet puisse aboutir. Ces petits pincements de stress mêlé d’émotion, inévitables dans le monde du spectacle, me sont chers et précieux, bien qu’ils se fassent rares.

D’ici au 23 janvier, vous pourrez suivre l’avancement du projet sur ce blog et sur ma page Facebook. Je vous donnerai bientôt les dates de nos “previews” et répétitions ouvertes. Mes articles seront publiés en français puis en anglais, en alternance, mais n’hésitez pas à me contacter dans une langue ou l’autre pour en savoir plus !