A group of students in Bournemouth are planning an ambitious arts performance, set to take stage early next month.
A ballet in the style of hip-hop is not something you would think would be possible to pull off, but this is exactly what a group of students from Arts University Bournemouth are trying to make happen.
Electric Fusion was devised by Jess Ellison, Lara Simpkin, Megan Grant, Lucy Eversden, Francesca Kerr and Megan Weeds; all of whom are final year students at the University. What was originally a plan for a final year project has turned into a real determination to leave a mark on Bournemouth’s arts scene.
The performance is based around Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’, a piece consisting of ballet and orchestral accompaniment, originally performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris in 1913.
Video: The original composition of Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’.
The composition was known for being very controversial when it was first performed, resulting in riots at the theatre. The audience were angry that the performers were breaking the ‘normal’ conventions of stage choreography at the time.
An ‘arts community’ in Bournemouth
Megan believes that the whole build-up and performance is a way of “building a community of the arts in Bournemouth, because that’s what it’s lacking. It’s got good stuff going on but it hasn’t got a vibrant, thriving arts scene.”
The team were originally given £500 by the university to carry out their project. After 6 months of organisation, the event will set them back around £2000, making them rely on fundraising to ensure the night is a success.
The latest fundraiser, a night called called ‘Copacabana’ is being held at The Winchester in the town centre on 25th April, in an attempt to raise the much needed cash for the rent of the venue, among other costs. The themed nights will be their main source of income, as well as relying on donations from the public. “People can donate as much as they want” Megan said. They are also rewarding supporters; “anyone who donates over £30 will receive a limited edition print”, Lara added.
Jess said that they have had a lot of interest in the project: “[People] like the idea of the collaboration and the fact that we’re bringing quite a lot of different art forms together. It’s been done before, but not really in the quiet town of Bournemouth. It’s something that you would see in London, Bristol or Cardiff.”
The group are hoping to break boundaries with the help of electro-swing band Gentle Mystics. The nine-piece describe their sound as ‘like a cat being sick on a boat’, and have reworked the piece to give it a contemporary feel, as well as splitting it into four sections for performers to tackle. The parts will then merge together only a week before, with the team crossing their fingers, hoping that all the acts can collaborate together on the night.
VIDEO: Gentle Mystics, who will be performing on the night.
Ballet dancer Chanti Porter will start the performance at the Pavilion Dance Theatre. The New Zealand born dancer, who is a dance teacher at the venue, was picked out by the students after researching local talent in the area.
The group have also enlisted dance acts from around Bournemouth to help with the production. ROCKiT is one of the groups involved in the project. Best known for their breakdancing and hip-hop style, they are regularly involved in community projects around Bournemouth.
Back from the West End, local group Storm have also been chosen to be part of the performance and is led by 17-year-old choreographer Jack, who the organisers say is impressing them, after having to teach his dancers new styles.
Lucy believes it will all come together on the night: “We visited a rehearsal last night, and it’s all coming together.
“It’s just exciting to wait and see all of the groups actually form into one and kind of combine what everyone’s been working on, that’s the most exciting bit.”
She also believes working in Bournemouth has been an advantage, as there are only a handful of dance groups in the area, with many of the performers already aware of the different styles they will be working with.
“We mentioned to Storm that they would be working with the ROCKiT boys, and they actually knew them so it will be cool to merge their styles and hopefully they’ll all work together well”, she said.
You can see the performance at the Pavilion Dance Theatre on May 9th. For more information and tickets visit the website.