Ben Duke: “Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me)”

“All consciousness in Milton is heroic, because it is somehow his own, whether Satanic or human, whether fallen or unfallen. (…) Milton’s particular greatness is his transformation of his own profound passions, his hopes for the human, into an art absolutely personal and yet also near-universal.” – Harold Bloom “ Him the Almighty Power Hurled […]

In Defence of Wankery

“That was the biggest pile of wankery ever”, said a woman to her friend as they brushed past me outside Toynbee Studios. The pile she was talking about was a showing of Impermanence Dance Theatre’s work-in-progress performance of Da-Da-Darling. It dawned on me, from what I understood of the ensuing Q&A, that Impermanence wouldn’t necessarily […]

General Election 2015

The Tories have won. We’ll never know whether we’d have been better off with Labour, but things aren’t looking too bright for the future of dance in the UK. Either way, here’s what you can do: – Support one another. Travel across London to see something small you’ve never seen. You may be surprised. Travel to […]

Ballad of the Middle-Class Artist

I don’t know about you, but it’s fair to say I’ve experienced unpleasantness in my life, to some degree. And joy, probably to a similar degree. I feel like I’ve sailed through this life. When I see another of the countless documentaries about, say, one of the World Wars, the ones with the touching interviews […]

“Douglas” by Robbie Synge

“And this came to be my gripe with the postmodern aversion to closure. It’s like, Grow up already! Take some ­responsibility for your narrative! I’m not looking for the meaning, but I am looking for a meaning, and you’re denying me a vital element of making sense of any story, which is its ending! Aversion […]

Warm Heart, Cold Hands

“The real message of media today is ubiquity. It is no longer something we do, but something we are part of. It confronts us as if from the outside with all the sensory experience of the history of humanity. It is as if we have amputated not our ears or our eyes, but ourselves, and […]

Dance in the Age of Advertising

Image. He walks down the line of young men, martially, looks at us, one by one. “You think you know what fear is? You don’t know what fear is. I know what fear is”. The Choreographer. As we’d come in the room, he’d made a point of being sat at the piano, tinkling away at […]

My aging body

I took a class last week with a teacher who happens to have worked with a bunch of famous people. He’s successful, and he looks the part. He’s a small, Mexican (I think) man with good looks and with an obscene level of physical fitness. To demonstrate how fit he is and take a stab […]

Relaxed Audience

This morning I read an interesting article by Maddy Costa about ‘relaxed’ performances, aimed at people with disabilities and their carers. But I thought the article begged other questions. Or one other question in particular: should we shut up at every performance and patiently be entertained/sedated/just-about-breathing as performance unfolds? I happen to be one of these people […]

My First Big D&D

  Last weekend I did something I don’t normally do: I went to talk to people. Specifically, talk to strangers about my “trade”. This happened at Devoted and Disgruntled’s tenth event at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, an event which aims, according to their website and in the words of Phelim McDermott, artistic director […]