Talking Moves Series 3 Episode 4: Creating Dance for Families

Talking Moves | 11 June 2021

In this episode we talk to Liv Lorent and Arthur Pita about creating dance for families.

Once upon a time, dance for children and families was perhaps seen as lightweight, if indeed it was seen at all. But pioneering leaders in the sector, such as Emma Gladstone and her children’s dance festival Offspring at The Place, set about to change that – spotlighting high quality work and the wonderful artists making it – and in doing so raising the status of this magical genre.

Liv and Arthur, both of whom meet on the Venn diagram when it comes to their imaginative use of traditional fairytales, discuss the careful choice of story and the way they relate that to lived experience as well as to reflect the complex society we live in. We talk about the artful balance of dark and light and how neither of them is scared to shy away from the sad or scary parts of a story but rather the faith they have in children to interpret this and see sad and happy as parts of life.

We talk about the creation process and the involvement, for Liv, of community casts within the research and development as well as the presentation of the show. Arthur and Liv both talk animatedly about the collaborative way in which they make the work alongside creatives such as dramaturgs, writers, designers and musicians and the importance of narrative and pace perhaps over and above choreography which oftentimes comes second and is layered upon this robust structure.

And we talked about audiences – discussing who this work is really for – adult or child? And whether it’s The Little Match Girl, or Ballo Arthur Pita, they have really come to see. This led us to muse upon whether digital tools and technology might offer the potential to widen access and strengthen the bonds between company and a (growing) audience.

Who's Who

Liv Lorent by Luke Waddington

Liv Lorent

Liv trained at the Arts Educational School, Tring for five years, and completed a BA (Hons) at the Laban Centre, London. She established balletLORENT in 1993 and went on to represent the UK in the Deuxiéme Rencontres Choréographiques Internationale. Liv became an Associate Artist at the Place Theatre in London, before relocating to Newcastle upon Tyne in 1996 to become resident choreographer at Dance City.

Liv has received many awards for her works including: the Jerwood Choreography Award 2001; The Arts Foundation Choreography Award 2005; Five Journal Culture Awards: Artist of the Year 2008; Performance of the Year (Rapunzel) 2012 and Finalist for Performance of the Year (Underneath the Floorboards) 2011; Arts Council of England category (Snow White) 2016 and Performance of the Year (Rumpelstiltskin) 2017. In 2014 Liv was awarded an MBE for Services to Dance through the New Year’s Honours List.

As Artistic Director of balletLORENT, Liv has been touring works both nationally and internationally to much acclaim including: Strange Glitter; The Ball; la nuit intime; Angelmoth; Designer Body; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Underneath the Floorboards; Rapunzel; The Night Ball; Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin. The company has collaborated with other international companies including; Carte Blanche, Bergen in 2009 for a remount of la nuit intime; Eunetstar in 2005 for a European Street Art Festival tour of The Ferryman; Cultuurcentrum Brugge programmed The Ball in 2005 at Koninklijke Stadsschouwburg and Tanzhaus NRW Dusseldorf, Germany in 2004.

Photo: Luke Waddington
Arthur Pita head shot in black and white

Arthur Pita

Arthur Pita was born in South Africa and studied dance in Johannesburg. He came to London in 1991 to train at the London Contemporary Dance School, graduating with a master’s degree. Along with creating work for his own company Ballo Arthur Pita, he works internationally for commissions for dance companies as well as opera, musicals, plays and films.

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