Dance Consortium partnership by Hannah

One Dance UK and Dance Consortium by Hannah
As part of our introduction to our new roles as Dance Ambassadors and Future Leaders, the Executive Director of the Dance Consortium, Ros Robins, presented a short history of the collective.
Established in 2000, a group of 19 theatres located across the country formed the Dance Consortium in order to share the cost of large-scale international tours. This has enabled hundreds of thousands of audience members to access dance shows from some of the world’s most exciting and influential companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Batsheva Ensemble and Nederlands Dans Theatre 1.
It was inspiring to understand a little more about how these theatres function to support touring companies. By uniting within the Consortium, they have helped to enrich the dance culture within the UK, while empowering unique international artists in the sector.
The we were lucky enough to see a Dance Consortium tour for ourselves: the famous (and deeply fabulous) Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.
Having toured in Dance Consortium venues since 2008, it was immediately clear why ‘The Trocks’ are adored the world over – they leave audiences breathless. This is often from laughter, but also from stunning leaps and deep-felt poignancy, because despite the lengthy false eyelashes and ever-expanding wigs, this troupe is nothing but authentic, with equally close attention paid to their comic timing and to their fouetté technique.
Ballet Master for the company Raffaele (Raffa) Morra discussed this balance with the Dance Ambassadors during a Q&A we attended during the interval. Raffa mentioned that performances are constantly tweaked during the tour to reflect the comedic tastes of the international audiences they perform for, as different cultures respond to different types of humour.
He also spoke about how the company has altered over the years due to changes in ballet training. When the company first started in 1974, men were not typically trained en pointe, so the dancers were less experienced in pointework before joining the company. However, according to Raffa, due to the physical benefits of training en pointe, such as the ankle strengthening and the elongated look of the leg muscles, pointework is more common now in male ballet training.
Despite these training changes which allow for even more impressive technical dancing, the core of the company lies in a keen understanding of the cultural and historic role of ballet in arts culture. This can be seen primarily in repertoire that spans from classical with Swan Lake to modern contemporary, but also in the preliminary announcements that denote drama with last minute cast changes, and the tongue-in-cheek dancer profiles in the programme.
After a hilarious and joyous evening of dance, I felt incredibly inspired by not only ‘The Trocks’, but by all the hard work the venue and the Dance Consortium had done to bring this tour to Nottingham and I’ll be very excited to what’s coming to the UK next!