News

Audition for Sweetshop Revolution’s new show.

Sweetshop Revolution is seeking one male and two female contemporary dancers for their new show to join an existing cast of three dancers. The new work is looking at love and sexuality, and you can view some of the footage here from our initial R&D: https://vimeo.com/207454606

We are seeking technically strong dancers with good contact skills and strong personalities, who are open-minded, enjoy taking artistic risks and are able to draw on their own experiences.

Audition dates (by invite only): 10 & 11 June; it is essential to attend both days of the audition, unless Sally Marie knows you personally.
Location: Greenwich Dance, London.

Application deadline: 19th May. You’ll receive an invite if invited by 22nd May.

How to apply: please send two photos, including a headshot and full body shot, along with a recent short video of you dancing (it doesn’t have to be a showreel) to Sally Marie at sallymarie_8@yahoo.co.uk

There will be a six-day research period with the company on June 19th-24th; please do apply even if you are not available for these dates.

Rehearsals will be on a full-time basis from approximately 20th November 2017 – 16th February 2018, with a nationwide tour running from February 16th – early May 2018.

Rehearsal fee during the R&D: £500 per week.
Rehearsal fee during the making: £550-£650/week, dependent on experience and inclusive of paid holidays.
Performance fee: above Equity minimum, including accommodation and travel, per diems and holiday pay.

This project is subject to funding.

Sweetshop Revolution’s new show!

We’ve finished our first research project for the new show and hope to go into the second in June.  And then into the making in November. We are tour booking now for Spring 2018.

Sweetshop Revolution’s new work, BeautifuL (working title) explores love and sexuality from the point of view of women; what is fantasised about, desired and permissible within the complex web of social structures, expectation and cultural history. Five extraordinary female dancers lead us through their own experience, celebrating women’s solidarity and taking femininity to a more truthful place.

We live in a time when people can be gender fluid or polyamorous, perhaps as a freedom from identity and stereo-typing. This piece is a doorway into a dialogue about how women and men are experiencing relationships, sexuality and the body right now. There will be a laying out of? images, movement, thoughts, humour, darkness and light. And at the heart of the piece lies the question, how is it we love now and how has it changed?

Promo from our first research showing: https://vimeo.com/207454606

Feedback from the first research showing

You have an amazing cast there, and any piece with them will be interesting and intriguing because of the quality and quiet intensity of these performers. I think there are some great ideas here. Eckhard Thiemann, Programming Associate- Dance, The Lowry

I was deeply moved by the honesty and richness of the movement, emotionally charged yet in no way “staged” or clichéd. The fragility and strength of this extraordinary group of women is captivating, this is refreshingly personal, authentic, communicative and sensitive work and Sally Marie’s sincerity shines through – I am so excited to see where this journey ends.

Hannah Myers, Producer, Stone Nest

It seems to me that that this piece has the potential to be a mysterious, yet revelatory experience for adventurous audiences interested in the ways that women’s bodies, minds and souls work. Sally’s gift for drawing out the best in dancers as all-round performers will serve her well, enabling her to unify a carefully-chosen cast of distinct individuals who can still function as a powerful ensemble. Their collective goal? To offer arresting, sometimes playful insights into how we got to where we are today.
Donald Hutera, Dance writer (The Times), Curator and Dramaturg

We’re in the final of The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Award.

What a joy is this. It’s for our new show about women and sexuality. The interview is in June and I am remarkably nervous about it.  They are apparently quite intellectual, and if there was ever a piece I find hard to articulate, it’s this one! 🙂

Reviews / I loved you and I loved you

Image by Pippa Samaya

I Loved You and I Loved You. Reviews
★★★★: ‘Here is a new dance theatre production…and it’s something special…quirkily detailed dance. Including the most unselfconscious nude solo I’ve seen.’ – The Times

★★★★: ‘this captivating dance is a fascinating journey through this forgotten woman’s life.’ – Broadway Baby

★★★★: ‘I loved you and I loved you is a miniature gem.’ – The Observer

★★★★: ‘heart-felt new production…a warmly human piece‘ – Exeunt Magazine

The Times, Donald Hutera ****
This new dance-theatre production from the independent choreographer Sally Marie is something special. A key part of the Edinburgh Fringe’s Welsh dance strand, it was inspired by the life of Morfydd Owen.
Born in the Welsh Valleys in 1891, Owen was a gifted and prolific composer who died (under somewhat suspicious circumstances) at the age of 26. Marie has honoured her memory by creating an intimate, impressionistic and involving portrayal of the romantic entanglements of three highly accomplished, real-life individuals from an earlier era.
The piece is exceptionally well cast. Uncommonly thoughtful yet utterly dynamic, Faith Prendergast is the embodiment of music as Owen. Tiny but titanic, this dancer has greatness in her. As does Daniel Whiley as Owen’s troubled husband, Ernest Jones, a friend and biographer of Freud. His quirkily detailed dance, executed as Jones delivers a paper on the erotic possibilities of the anus (!), could be the most unselfconscious nude solo I’ve seen.
Karl Fargerlund-Brekke is Eliot Crawshay-Williams: military man turned politician, private secretary to Lloyd George and Churchill and the other love of Owen’s life. He may not possess his fellow dancers’ technical facility, but he shows a touching grasp of his role.
Made for her company, Sweetshop Revolution, Marie’s subtle show follows an episodic and even musical structure. Almost all of what we hear is Owen’s own work, either played live by the pianist Brian Ellsbury or sung with heart-piercing sweetness by Ellen Williams.
The dancers give strong, beautifully nuanced performances as complicated real-life characters. Although it’s unlikely the audience will know much about these characters, Marie is banking on our willingness to invest time and interest in them.
Her faith is justified. As a director she has a gentle, instinctual touch and whether playful or passionate, tender or dramatic, the dancing — devised by her and the cast — reveals something about who these people are.

The Observer. Luke Jennings ****

Sweetshop Revolution’s I Love You and I Loved You is another miniature gem. Choreographed by Sally Marie, it tells the odd, haunting story of the early 20th-century Welsh composer Morfydd Owen, to whose music the piece is set, and her unhappy marriage to the psychoanalyst Ernest Jones. Marie is a subtle dancemaker, capturing the emotional colour of a moment in the sweep of an arm or the pitch of a neck and shoulder, and she has fine interpreters in petite, square-cut Faith Prendergast, who dances Morfydd with confident musicality, and Daniel Whiley, who portrays the knotty, troubled Ernest. Whiley’s dancing, which includes a graphic solo illustrative of Ernest’s preoccupation with anal eroticism, is as fluent as it’s fearless, and Prendergast’s touching directness marks her out as a performer with a future.

23rd – 31st August 2015
Exuent Magazine ****
Faith Prendergast as welsh composer Morfydd Owen.
Made for her company Sweetshop Revolution, and presented in Edinburgh as part of a small strand of Welsh dance, this heart-felt new production from the choreographer and director Sally Marie could be called a chamber-sized period dance-drama. The inspiration for it was the life and music of Morfedd Owen, a gifted Welsh composer who died under somewhat suspicious circumstances in 1918 at the age of 26. The performance, which lasts just over an hour, is not at all biographically linear. Rather than make the real-life source material obvious, Marie opts for a more impressionistically oblique approach. She’s not interested in facts. What matters here are feelings.
Not that Marie wants to ignore the bare bones of Owen’s too-short life: her prolific artistry, possibly manic depressive nature and the complex relationships she had with Ernest Jones (a friend and biographer of Freud) and Eliot Crawshay-Williams (military man turned Liberal MP and private secretary to Lloyd George and Churchill). Owen married the first but probably loved the latter. In I Loved You and I Loved You Marie is trying to capture some essential truths about these three accomplished, fascinating people. What she’s come up with is a triangular romantic tragedy about love and creativity that’s marked by buoyantly lighter grace notes. I loved it.

Sitting easily somewhere between the narrative and the abstract, this is a warmly human piece about people who really lived, but in an era that was in many ways radically different from ours. This aura of an earlier, slower time is present from the first scene, with a woman (the dancer Faith Prendergast, cast as Owen) lying still on the floor, her body being sniffed by the man (Daniel Whiley as Jones) hovering over her. It’s anything but a slam-bang beginning, but it allows us to settle in as spectators while setting a tone for the ensuing series of solos, duets and trios. All the dancing is character-driven or, more accurately, music-led as a means of revealing who the people onstage are. The music is principally by Owen, as it should be, and is mainly played or sung live by the pianist/music director Brian Ellsbury and Ellen Williams, a vocalist of piercing clarity and sweetness.
Owen’s music was lyrical and emotive, and Marie’s small but exceptional cast respond to it beautifully. To say that she chose them well is an understatement. The show contains minimal spoken text, either in the form of direct address to the audience or the brief reading out of letters. Unlike her male colleagues Prendergast never utters a word, but then she doesn’t need to. Her tiny but titanic body and expressive face do all the ‘talking’ that’s necessary. This young woman has greatness in her. Whiley, too, is a real find, embodying Jones with a palpable sense of the man’s troubling undercurrents. Whiley has a nude solo that’s exemplary in its unself-conscious dedication to the motive behind it (as a means of illustrating Jones’ academic paper about the erotic potential of the anus). Karl Fargerlund-Brekke is no third wheel here, giving a just-right and touching portrayal of an intelligent man of modesty, ego, desire and regret.
I saw I Loved You and I Loved You when it was pretty much fresh out of the gate, prior to an extensive UK tour. There were still things to be worked out about it, but I think that’s what helped make my experience of it seem like such a charged discovery. Marie and the dancers were probably in a similar place. I look forward to seeing their work – vital, subtle, strong and grown-up – again as it develops and deepens.

LondonDance.com Rachel Elderkin
Sweetshop Revolution’s new work I Loved You and I Loved You tells the story of Morfydd Owen, a prolific but little known Welsh musician and composer who died at just 26. Directed by Sally Marie, I Loved You and I Loved You explores Morfydd’s relationships both with her husband, the psychoanalyst Dr Ernest Jones, and the man she yearned to love.
Three dancers portray the roles of Morfydd and her lovers and each full heartedly embodies their character. They are accompanied by the gorgeously pure voice of soprano Ellen Williams and pianist Brian Ellsbury and together, these performers bring Morfydd’s story, and music, to life. Through a combination of speech, song and movement her tale unravels, the occasional letter offering a personal and touching insight into her thoughts and emotions.
The petite Faith Prendergast is ideally suited to the role of Morfydd. She imbues her character with a youthful innocence that shimmers in the opening scenes under the attentions of her admirers, but which later slips into a sense of Morfydd’s distress and longing. She has a delightful way of using every inch of her partners’ bodies, no more so than in an early trio where, doll-like, she is repeatedly passed between the two men, her body rigid in a seated pose.
The duets that run throughout this piece beautifully capture the developing relationships between the three characters. In Morfydd’s meeting with Jones (Daniel Whiley) the two flirtatiously pass an apple between them, Jones holding it just out of her reach. It’s a charming scene with an underlying image of fatal temptation. It lies in contrast to a later duet with dancer Karl Fagerlund Brekke where, against a backdrop of Jones’ psychoanalytical ravings, Morfydd seeks solace in her lovers’ imaginary presence.
The staging throughout I Loved You and I Loved You is so finely tuned that each moment in this story has the space to take its place. Even the nude male solo, which could so easily become more for effect than purpose, is perfectly placed; a fitting image of Jones’ intense attachment to his work. Not one movement in this work is wasted, each has an element of its story to tell, an aspect of its character to reveal, and the dancers bring Morfydd’s tale to life with every step they take.
The last mournful song, sung with a tender sorrow and danced with raw emotion, offers an ideal closing note. You feel you understand Morfydd’s tragic story, so sensitively has this work been choreographed, each character been portrayed. In I Loved You and I Loved You Sweetshop Revolution have produced a work of beauty and quiet brilliance.

Broadway Baby ****
by Richard Beck on 26th August 2015

If Morfydd Owen had lived three weeks longer she would have been immortalised in the 27 Club. As it is she remains almost unknown outside of her native Wales Growing up in musical family she learned the piano and aged sixteen gave a performance of the Grieg piano concerto. After Cardiff University she gained a scholarship to the Royal Academy where her prizewinning record remains unequalled. Created an ARAM she was heralded as the potential Elgar of her day. With a further scholarship she developed her voice as a mezzo-soprano and in just over ten years of composing produced 180 works.
This captivating dance is a fascinating journey through this forgotten woman’s life.
In London she became a socialite, renowned for her engaging personality and beauty. Faithful to her Welsh roots as part of the Charing Cross Welsh Presbyterian Chapel she also was also part of the coterie surrounding D. H. Lawrence and Ezra Pound. As her close friendship with Eliot Crawshay-Williams developed she wrote, “I fear I have a passionate nature, and it is increasing – and I fear my power of resistance will soon fail”. He was 31, married and a Liberal MP. She was 19. Another lady’s resistance did fail, leading Eliot’s divorce and the end his political career. He went on to marry her which probably furthered the manic depression from which Morfydd increasingly suffered.
In 1917 with looming fears of being left on the shelf she married the the pioneering English voice of psychoanalysis and later Freud’s biographer the atheist Ernest Jones only six weeks after their first meeting. She enjoyed a brief honeymoon period before her musical output declined, she became tired of domesticity and the marriage became unhappy. Her death in 1918 remains controversial. Officially she died from delayed chloroform poisoning following an operation for acute appendicitis, itself carried out in strange circumstances.
It’s worth knowing all of this as I Loved You and I Loved You is a biographical contemplation. Sweetshop Revolution has had to be highly selective in choosing songs, scenes, readings and accompaniment from the wealth of material uncovered by Brian Ellsbury’s research into Morfydd Owen. He accompanies this production on the piano and soprano Ellen Williams who effortlessly renders the lyrical songs. The balance of this work may still not satisfy everyone. More songs and readings would make for a longer piece but the material is there.

Faith Prendergast, delicately portrays Morfydd’s first notes on the piano but is soon joined by her two men for an amusing scene at the fairground which visibly captures the rides and roundabouts. Darker days loom however. Karl Fargarlund-Brekke portrays an initially confident Eliot clearly enamoured of Morfydd yet frustrated and who ultimately fades through the consequences of his own actions. Eliot Daniel Whiley makes it easy to see why Morfydd would have fallen for him. Handsome and self-assured in public an agonised, writhing solo reminiscent of Munch’s ‘The Scream’ reveals inner turmoil while a second vividly illustrates his research paper ‘Anal-Erotic Character Traits’.
Conceived and directed by Sally Marie this captivating dance is a fascinating journey through this forgotten woman’s life. Perhaps I Loved You and I Loved You and the 100th anniversary of her death in 2018 will do something to reignite her reputation.

Cloud Dance Festival. Chantal Guevara.

The advance publicity for Sweetshop Revolution’s I Loved You And I Loved You stated that it explored the extremely talented Welsh composer Morfydd Owen and her love triangle with the man she married and the man she loved; someone later pointed out that the promotional photo was reminiscent of that for Dangerous Liaisons.

Director and choreographer Sally Marie kindly provided a detailed two-page biography of Morfydd Owen in the programme notes, which served as a synopsis for the piece, but such is the Edinburgh Fringe that there wasn’t time to read it before the show. If you’re lucky enough to catch I Loved You And I Loved You on its upcoming tour, please make sure you take the time to read the programme notes beforehand.
Sally Marie has worked extensively in dance theatre and physical theatre, and these two styles are used to journey through the narrative of I Loved You And I Loved You. Although Morfydd – performed by the remarkably tiny and beautiful dancer Faith Prendergast – is the central character in this piece, she alone does not speak; it is only through her men’s reminisces of her, through the playing of her music and the reading of her letters to Eliot Crawshay-Williams that the audience can hear her voice. Onstage, Faith’s tiny frame is accentuated as Morfydd is portrayed as a passive dolllike character, easily manipulated by her two men, however it is only as her relationship develops with both that we see her personality and passion start to shine through.
In I Loved You And I Loved You, Sally Marie is not so much a storyteller as a story-shower: she selects scenes from Morfydd’s too-short life (she died mysteriously and tragically at age 26 due to her husband’s actions) and shows them to us, rather than telling us the story. This means that the audience can savour the unfolding of each scene and the beautiful choreography and dancing before them.
It’s a rich, understated work with powerful performances from all three dancers, especially Faith Prendergast, and it’s definitely worth seeing more than once to further understand the work’s subtlety.

Lovely Preview for I loved you and I loved you from Donald Hutera on London Dance.

INTERVIEW: SHE LOVES IT AND SHE LOVES IT…
TUESDAY 28 JULY 2015 BY DONALD HUTERA

(Photograph: Faith Prendergast, Karl Fargerlund-Brekke & Dan Whiley in Sweetshop Revolution’s ‘I loved you and I loved you’. Photo: ©Danilo Moroni)

Although she can sometimes come across as a mite scatty, never underestimate the powers and possibilities of Sally Marie, reports Donald Hutera… It wouldn’t be inaccurate to call her one of the most impassioned, generous and determined people in British dance. ‘I’m not interested in money or status,’ Marie avows, quickly adding, ‘I’m interested in making extraordinary work,’ and you believe her.

As a performer and movement artists she’s worked with the likes of Jasmin Vardimon, Marisa von Stockert, Rosie Kay (for Duckie at the Barbican), Rajni Shah, Frauke Requardt and Joumana Mourad, as well as such envelope-pushing companies as Deja Donne, Graeae and Ridiculusmus. But it’s been in creative collaborations with Sean Tuan John and, latterly, Luca Silvestrini’s Protein Dance that she made her mark, picking up a few National Dance Award nominations en route to her current calling as a choreographer and the director of the dance-theatre company Sweetshop Revolution.

Marie is on a roll these days. In 2014 she received a career leg-up via the New Adventures Choreography Award (NACA), a prize meant to enable her to fund a producer for twelve months. She also was one of two winners of the Choreography for Children Award bestowed by Sadler’s Wells, Company of Angels and The Place in partnership with Moko Dance. And that’s not all. She was the only one out of eight or so applicants in the last round of project funding at Arts Council England to get a green light. That project is a heady, ambitious three-hander entitled I loved you and I loved you, which previews as a work-in-progress at The Place this week (Thu 30 July) prior to its official premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on 23 August.

In a time of increased budget cuts for the arts, as well as general financial precariousness, Marie is amply aware of how lucky she is to have received all these opportunities. But then, as she says, ‘Making work is all my love and all my life.’ It’s just this sort of all-consuming dedication that characterises her modus operandi and makes Marie such a – sometimes, admittedly, breathless – force.

First things first: the show she’s working on. Co-produced with Coreo Cymru and Chapter in association with Galeri, Caernarfon and National Theatre Wales and supported by both Arts Council England and Wales, I loved you and I loved you is the result of a three-tier competitive process of research and development. This full-length work is based on the life, loves and music of the composer Morfydd Owen. Prolific but now unfairly undersung, she was born in the Welsh Valleys in 1891 and died under somewhat mysterious circumstances a few weeks shy of her 27th birthday. In this pivotal role Marie has cast the tiny but titanic Faith Prendergast. Playing the two key and highly contrasting men in her life are Dan Whiley as Ernest Jones, Freud’s biographer and the first English-speaking psychoanalyst, and Karl Fargerlund-Brekke as Elliot Crawshay-Williams, a British writer, army officer and Liberal Party politician who was private secretary to both Lloyd George and Winston Churchill. The goal of Marie and her creative partner, the pianist Brian Ellsbury, is to honour the complicated lives of these fascinating and often contradictory people in a manner that’s immediate, coherent and dramatically engaging. The pair happily waded through some 200 pieces of Owen’s music to select what will be played – and sung – in the finished piece.

Last week I dropped by the studio where Marie, Ellsbury and the dancers were working on the performance. Ranging from tough-tender to delightfully playful, the movement the latter have generated under Marie’s close guidance looked both mercurial and dynamic. Much of it is intentionally character-driven. ‘A big part of this work is learning about our characters,’ Prendergast remarked during a break, later describing her embodiment of Owen as being at least partly predicated on notions of entrapment, freedom and creative innovation. Whiley echoed her, saying, ‘It can go the point where you’re allowing the character to decide [how you dance].’ All in all the tantalising bits and pieces of I loved you… that I watched very well may, when assembled into their final order, coalesce into an absorbing and – to use a word Marie herself is fond of – magical experience.

‘I Loved You..’ in rehearsal

One of the remarkable things about the production, even before it’s out of the gate, is that Marie booked the initial 19-venue UK tour herself over a five-month period. ‘I knew I was receiving public money,’ she says, ‘and wanted to reach the people who were paying for this piece.’ But there’s more to it than personal accountability, not to mention the time siphoned away from the artistic and intellectual demands of making a new work. Despite the NACA, Marie was unable to find someone willing and able to commit to her notions of what Sweetshop Revolution can be. ‘There are plenty of people who can project manage,’ she explains, ‘or who have a number of artists on their books, but no one who could step up to the vision I have for the company.’ As an increasingly high-profile artist in the sector, and one with several projects on the go, Marie can legitimately claim an awareness of the bigger picture. ‘Every person I meet tells me they’re looking for a producer. But being a freelance producer is ridiculously impossible at the moment because of funding cuts. If we’re going to have 40% cuts, we have to shift how we work and get our thinking linked up. It’s about becoming more connected and understanding of each other.’

Another significant outlet for Marie’s apparently boundless energy, and one that chimes in with her philosophical outlook, is the formation of the Sweetshop Tigers. This potentially far-reaching apprenticeship scheme is just finding it feet. It’s currently non-monetised, although eventually she’d like that to change. Her motive for starting it was when a young dance graduate asked to join Sweetshop Revolution. From this sprang a realisation that many others, fresh from tutelage in major institutions, were being sent out into the professional dance world possibly sans a proper support system or sufficient opportunities.

‘As a director I work twice as many hours as a dancer,’ Marie states, ‘but being a dancer is at least twice as hard as being a director or a producer.’ For those just entering the profession it’s not just the fees required for training, she elaborates, and the attendant living costs that can be so draining. ‘Once you’re out in the real world you can lose morale, or stop doing class. The idea behind the Tigers is to create, in a focused and deliberate manner, a sense of community so that they’re all looking out for each other and not so lonely. It’s also a step up into the profession.’

So how does it work? Out of the 140 dancers who attended an audition several hours long Marie selected nine core Tigers (only one of whom is male), with five more ‘on the bench’ in case any of the first tier secure a job or for any reason have to drop out of the team. ‘The people I’ve chosen are great physically, working in a lot of different styles, and they can all work with text. They were the one I felt were immediately ready to be onstage.’ She then contacted dozens of choreographers asking who’d be interested in having young dancers come into the studio. The response was gratifying. ‘The Tigers is a really personal way of connecting recent graduates with choreographers,’ Marie says, explaining that the latter can witness and even try out various styles and working methods, while the choreographers are exposed to new talent they might not have known about otherwise.

There’s much more, of course, including plans to develop a strand of workshops and performances in hospitals; career development via photographs, CVs and further training; applying to trusts and foundations for individual support; sessions on performance and life coaching (something Marie is qualified to do); securing free gym membership ‘on the premise that having fourteen beautiful dancers knocking about’ is good for any fitness establishment’s business; the creation of a magazine based in part on time spent with choreographers; and, as a bonus for all of those who auditioned to be a Tiger but didn’t make the final cut, a ‘buddy’ system whereby each one will be paired with a professional dancer for quarterly meetings.

For the moment it’s the seemingly tireless Marie who’s been managing and moving all of this forward, although ideally more of the responsibility will gradually be taken on by the Tigers themselves. She’s still seeking free studio space on Sundays for meetings and such which, with continued good luck and hard graft, she might just get. Because, let’s face it, Sally Marie is a determined woman.

I loved you and I loved you this summer

Really great news. We have been commissioned by Coreo Cymru and funded by Arts Council England to begin work on our new full length work I loved you and I loved you about about the life of Welsh composer, pianist and singer Morfydd Owen.

You can see a work in progress if you like as part of a double bill at The Place on the 30th July at 7.30pm. We will then be in previewing in Theatre Harlech in August and at The Edinburgh Festival from the 23rd August at 6.40pm every night at The Sanctuary. We are touring to 19 venues in all, so where ever you are you should have a chance to see it at some point I hope.

There will also be regular blog updates about the process and if you want to see how the piece is progressing, we do a 4pm showing every week of rehearsals which start on June 29th. Do feel free to email me at sallymarie_8@yahoo.co.uk if you you’d like to come along.

I am also posting details of each week’s company class on my own personal Facebook page every Sunday morning, as well as the company’s Facebook page as well.

Keep a look out if you are interested in joining in with class in the mornings. Once again everyone is welcome, yet you might find it easier if you have had a dance training. Mind you, there are a few Circuit classes timetabled that any one can join in fact!

I loved you and I loved you

The Place – Work in Progress (30 July)

Theatre Harlech (19 & 20 Aug)

The Sanctuary, Zoo Venues, Edinburgh Festival (23 – 31 Aug)

The Court Yard, Hereford (8 Sept)

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital (10th Sept) 1pm

The Plough Theatre, Great Torrington, Devon (13th September)

Taliesin, Swansea (17 Sept)

MAC Birmingham (26 Sept)

The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead. (29th Sept)

Stanley and Audrey Theatre, Leeds. Excerpt. New Adventures showcase (30 Sept)

The Lowry (5 & 6 October)

Arts Depot (8 Oct)

Galeri, Wales (10 Oct)

Lincoin Centre for Performing Arts, Lincoln. (15 Oct)

Edge Hill Arts Centre, Ormskirk (22 Oct)

Capstone Theatre, Liverpool (27 Oct)

Stahl Theatre, Oundle. (2 Nov)

Cardiff Festival, Dance House. Millennium Centre (22 Nov) A Sunday.

Dance East, Ipswich. Last week of January. Date tbc.

Sally at Aerowaves in Barcelona

Sally was the ‘Meerkat’ at the Merkat de Flores at Spring Forward this year in Barcelona, interviewing people either side of the shows using the Meerkat app which live streamed everything happening live time through Twitter. Periscope is another App with which you can live stream video too.

Apprenticeship Scheme starting this summer.

The Sweetshop Tigers

An apprenticeship scheme for new graduates; originated by Sally Marie.

The Sweetshop Tigers is an ambitious, new and non-monetised apprenticeship scheme initiated by Sally Marie, artistic director of the independent British dance-theatre company Sweetshop Revolution. It is based on a deeply perceived need, for a wide range of valuable experiences to be offered to young UK-based dancers embarking upon a professional career and will involve, among other things, many opportunities for mutually beneficial exchanges with established artists in the dance and performance sector and experience of working as team players; producing elements themselves. We’re extremely excited about it, and trust that you will be too!

Background to the idea for the scheme.

I had the idea for the programme when a new graduate wrote to me asking if Sweetshop Revolution did apprenticeships. In each of my previous dance works thus far, I’ve had a student in for up to a month. And yet in retrospect I did not find this particularly easy due to the change of energy a new person brings to a room over such a long period. This was coupled with the realisation that most independent choreographers aren’t making work every month of the year. So I decided to contact a few independent choreographers I knew and to ask if they would be interested in joining the scheme. As it turns out fifty five of them said yes including high profile choreographers such as Lea Anderson and Charles Lineham as well as lesser known ones. From the audition of one hundred and forty people, nine people were chosen as the ‘core group’ visiting choreographers, with the other people being on the reserve bench, yet an essential part of the rest of the scheme detailed below.

The Reason for the scheme

The main difference I noticed about working professionally as a dancer, compared to taking class each day and working every night in some kind of other job, was ‘connection.’ By that I mean the connection between myself and the company members, audience and fellow professionals. And so I hope with this scheme to help the dancers who may be just starting out in the profession, to feel that they’re part of a team who care about them. In effect, they are being given the opportunity to make new connections, and to start building their own futures by instigating the various projects and leading various strands of the scheme; both from a dance point of view, but also a producing point of view. I am leading on some strands, but the the group itself will all be leading on various others according to their skills.

How the scheme grew from one idea

The scheme had started simply as a way to link up some new graduates with a variety of independent choreographers. And then it occurred to me that it might be great to invite various choreographers in to give a single sunday workshops to the apprentices, so that they get a chance to work and connect with that choreographer in a dance way. And from there came other ideas which will give a more rounded experience to the dancers.

Another aim is to heighten each of the dancer’s profiles. We have started a Facebook page entitled The Sweetshop Tigers and at a later date I myself hope to get a subdomain website for The Sweetshop Tigers, so that we can upload images and interviews with the choreographers (thus heightening the independent choreographer’s profiles as well.)
We are also organising photo shoots for the dancers, working with stylists and makeup artists, getting showreels done and preparing biographies and CV’s. Also, one of the dancers setting up a YouTube Channel for The Sweetshop Tigers as well.

The 12 Point Plan: 2015 – 2016

1 Choreographers – 65 individual choreographers have already volunteered to take part, inviting the Sweetshop Tigers into their studio for between two days and a week. Indeed, some choreographer have already requested dancers for their whole rehearsal period!

2 Dance Buddies – I’ve made a list of those who attended the audition, but did not make it through. The idea is to link them up with well known professional dancers, and for each pair to meet four times a year to work through technical dance movement and plan the training undertaken for each graduate and career goals.

3 Performance. Sally Marie is considering making a show with the apprentices, which will include bringing professionals into the process. The idea is already there but it’s the funding for the professionals that will need addressing.

4 Choreographer’s sessions once a month. The idea is to invite one choreographer in per month to work with the Sweetshop Tigers. They’ll have the chance to try out ideas with fifteen great dancers, and the dancers will have a chance to engage with an artist working on the realisation of particular ideas.

6 Reach Out is our hospital strand and involves taking dance to both young and old in hospitals. It’ll commence with workshops offered free of charge with a view to securing funding in the future to develop a performance for both young and old. Sally Marie herself has some experience of work in this setting as do other members of the group.

7 We will be endeavouring to secure free gym membership for a year for all of the Sweetshop Tigers as well as the company members of Sweetshop Revolution too. This will entail identifying gyms and then going to meet the managers there. A couple of the Sweetshop Tigers themselves will lead on this.

8 Between two and four Sweetshop Tigers will have the opportunity to come to The Edinburgh Festival to flyer for Sweetshop Revolution and two other Welsh companies, with heir travel accomodation paid for. There will also be some database input and a few admin tasks the apprentices can do to support Sweetshop Revolution’s company work as well.

9 At the end of the year, we’ll compile the blogs and photos into a magazine to be published in hard copy as well as a pdf version. This will be sent to programmers and industry professionals.

10 Sally Marie will offer each apprentice Life Coaching throughout the year, as she has just qualified in it. It will be useful for goal setting and developing new perspectives.
11 Talks by Simon Ellis and Neil Callaghan about their practice will also be offered.

11 Dance writers are being contacted by Graham Watts to take the Sweetshop Tigers to performances with them. There is also the option for the dancers to be mentored in writing short reviews. The thinking behind this is that it is useful for dancers to be able to articulate thought, feelings, impressions, of both the work of others and themselves.

12 We’re looking for one day a week of free studio space, preferably on a Sunday, to make all of the above possible to achieve. Can you help us with this please?

Some of the choreographers on board so far are Lea Anderson, James Cousins, Sarah Blanc, Alex Reynolds, Stuart James Waters, Riccardo Buscarini, Jo Fong, Joseph Yvan Toonga, Sue Buckmaster, Hagit Yakira, Charlotte Vincent, Renaud Wiser, New Movement Collective LTD, Miranda Mac Letten, Kimberley Harvey, Keira Mari Martin, Léa Tirabasso-Palmitessa, Avatâra Ayuso, Dam Van Huynh, Lucy Ridley, Lucy Suggate, Michael Mikey, J Asante Gillie Kleiman, Wired Aerial, Hubert Essakow, Jack Webb, Robbie Synge, Theo Clinkard, Rick Nodine, Rebecca Evans, Philippe Giraudeau, Leila McMillan Dance, Tony Adigun, Rachel Burn, Kath Duggan, Sean Tuan John, Raymond Chai, Charlotte Alexander and Richard Chappell. There are more choreographers coming board all the time.