Choreography: Sir Robert Cohan CBE
Music: Alan Hovhaness
Recording: Musicians of the Firebird Orchestra, Middlesex University Orchestra in Residence
The dance was named after the music Tzaikerk meaning 'evening song’ in Armenian. The mood is conveyed through fluidity of movement, space patterns and lighting. At the end the dancers run off stage as if leaving an open area as night falls.
The dance world has been hugely saddened by the death, earlier this year, of Sir Robert Cohan CBE. During the latter months of Cohan’s life, I [Anne Donnelly] asked if MDX dance students could again work with Tzaikerk (1967) as part of their educational learning. We spoke about the pandemic situation and discussed, albeit briefly, how elements of the work might be captured in different spaces within the university, utilising the architecture of the campus, the outside spaces and the conventional Theatre space, both to accommodate the numbers of students who wished to engage with the work educationally, and in order to maintain the social distancing protocols during this pandemic year. Not least to capture the different essences of the piece, those of; outside ambience, sense and breath, beauty and architectural form.
Tzaikerk was one of the first works Cohan created for the dancers of the newly formed Contemporary Dance Group. The piece was created on six female dancers all dancing at a distance from one another. Sadly there exists no recording of the original dancers performing the work.
'Mr Cohan, the founding artistic director of the London Contemporary Dance theatre, has created one of his happiest works here... the choreography is all angles and sharpness, with the running dancers intersecting in diagonals and other encounters…' (Kisselelgoff, New York Times, September 1983).
Directed by: Anne Donnelly
Anne Donnelly, Director of Dance Programmes. Anne had a long career as a dancer with London Contemporary Dance Theatre, (under the name Anne Went) performing internationally including at the Olympic Arts Festivals at both the Los Angeles 1984 and the Seoul Olympics 1988. Upon leaving LCDT Anne studied martial arts, alternative medicine, and sports related fitness alongside extensive dance teaching cohering around Cohan’s method of delivery. 1993-2001 she was company teacher and Rehearsal Director for the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC). She has served on various boards and international dance panels. In September 2014 Anne came out of ‘Performance Retirement’ to dance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London and was nominated, alongside the cast of the Elders Project, for the Lawrence Olivier Award for the most outstanding achievement in Dance. She performed again in the Elixir festival 2017 at Sadler’s Wells. For over forty years, up until his death Anne worked closely with Sir Robert Cohan restaging a number of his iconic works for prestigious schools, both in the UK and abroad. For information see: Robert Cohan’s teaching: Body of Knowledge: http://www.rescen.net/home.html
Dancers: Diana Agynayeva, Eleanor Anderson, Anae Jones, Rekebah Rawsthorne, Amelia Clarike, Shermeka Smith
A new beginning at Twilight. Moving together, inhabiting space and responding to our surroundings.
Music composition and production: Eligijus Jukna
Directed by: Sarah Sulemanji
Sarah Sulemanji completed her professional training at The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and continues to explore the potential of the Graham work across her practice. Sarah is a Lecturer in Dance Technique at Middlesex University, where she has taught across the undergraduate programmes since 2010. She has worked closely with Anne Donnelly, restaging and rehearsal directing works by Robert Cohan, as well as with Deborah Zall, reconstructing works by Anna Sokolow and Bertram Ross. In addition to training professionals Sarah enjoys the opportunity to work with people from a diverse range of contexts and has delivered classes and workshops for organisations including Stories in Transit, Transform Dance and Dance Digital. She has performed in the UK and USA and is currently involved in a range of creative collaborative projects. She holds a BA Hons in Dance Performance, an MA in Professional Practice and a PGCHE.
Dancers: Harley Gentry, Lauren Elsegood, Terri-Ann Ellis, Jannat Bajaj, Holly Dartnell, Georgia Kehoe, Amy Fallart, India Mcintosh, Wiktoria Horstman, Joana Gumbeleviviute, Gabriele Jaugaite, Calli Moore, Sophia Heathcote, Timothy Winter
In the Processional variation of Tzaikerk (1967) we took inspiration from the transformative nature of twilight. In a time of change, a place in-between, we journey down a literal and metaphorical path of transformation. Beginning on their own, to move forward, the dancers join each other to continue the journey together.
Music: Kristina Ammattil (vocals) & Viktoria Sinkorova (guitarist) Variation of Bachianas Brasileiras No.5, W.389: 1. Aria (Cantilena) – Heitor Villa-Lobos
Directed by: Siân Hopkins
Image credit to Karl Schoemaker
Siân Hopkins is an Associate Lecturer in Dance technique. She has had the pleasure of working with a variety of companies, independent dance artists and projects both near and far since graduating from Rambert School with a First-Class Honours Degree in Dance Performance, later completing an MA with Distinction in Dance Performance with Specialisation in Ritual from University of Kent. Siân has restaged Robert Cohan’s Class (1975) and Stabat Mater (1975), also multiple works by Ross McKim, most recently Women Afar Off (1990). As principal artist and rehearsal director for Moving Visions Dance Theatre, Siân has performed in cathedrals and sacred sites around the UK. Working alongside McKim to launch a new contemporary dance syllabus with the ISTD, Siân leads teacher and examiner training workshops. She has taught at dance institutions around the UK as well as guest teaching in Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Canada, and co-led youth workshops with MAP in South Africa. Choreographic commissions include various site-specific and cathedral-based projects, choral dramatisations and independent screendance productions. Siân’s research interests lie in methodologies focussing on the cultivation of positive self-perception through dance performance training.
Kristina Alice Ammattil is an aspiring Western Classical soprano currently undertaking a Masters in performance philosophy at Middlesex University, London. From an early age she was encouraged to take part in poetry recitals, and choirs yet did not receive any formal training until 2016, when she joined the KM Music Conservatory in Chennai. Throughout her undergraduate studies, Kristina has excelled at academics achieving a First Class Honours Degree from Middlesex University. Kristina aims to learn new skills, expand her repertoire as a lyric colouratoura, and perform as much as she can in order to establish a firm foundation upon which she can build a career in the performing arts.
Viktoria is a classical guitarist and composer currently studying at Middlesex University London. Viktoria received her performance training in Slovakia with professor Miriam Rodriguez Brullova. She gained her experiences in chamber music with other guitarist, flautists, singers, and was a member of a guitar orchestra whom she performed regularly. Viktoria took part in many competitions in Slovakia and abroad. At Middlesex, Viktoria continues to collaborate with singer Kristina Ammattil. She is studying with Professor Benjamin Dwyer, and expanding her repertoire as well as exploring new possibilities of playing and composing.
Dancers: Valeria Avramova, Maria Azevo, Emily Dreher, Demi Miller-Neave, Sarah Nicklin, Emily Wraight, Imogen Griffiths, Jonathan Loimo, Amy Graham