Dance Festival to take the floor

Swinging at the Cotton Club
Swinging at the Cotton Club

Ladies and gents take your partners as Berwick prepares to host its very own International Dance Festival featuring performers from across the globe.

The event, which will use The Maltings stage as its blank canvas, promises to be a riproaring celebration of fancy footwork from all different genres and cultures.

Hot footing it into town to get things started and set the tone for the rest of the festival is ‘Swinging at the Cotton Club’, featuring the The Jiving Lindy Hoppers Dance Company & Harry Strutter’s Hot Rhythm Orchestra.

The show ‘s mission is to take local audiences back to late 1920s New York and the famous Cotton Club nightspot which was the birthplace of the careers of household names such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

“People came from all around to see the shows at the Cotton Club,” explained artistic director Maurice Dennis.

“It was the finest music and dance around and we wanted to recreate that.

“The Cotton Club was famous for its fusion of dance styles such as cakewalk. lindyhop and Charleston and for the interaction between its dancers and musicians.

“‘Swinging at the Cotton Club’ is a nostalgic look back at the Cotton Club at its height. Our dancers have been over to America to work with some of the performers who were there at the time and I’m confident the people of Berwick will really love what we’ve come up with.”

The entertainment for the second night of the dance festival will be provided by Dance Ihayami and their show ‘Seeing Differently’.

Artistic director Priya Shrikumar spoke to ‘The Guide’ just after returning from India and said the show’s title emphasised what she and her company wanted to achieve.

“A lot of people know about traditional Indian dance - with all its costumes and colour and while we embrace that we also want to challenge people’s preconceptions.

“The main way in which we do this is by merging Scottish music with Indian dance.

“This stemmed from me listening to the radio and hearing a piece of Scottish contemporary music. I immediately thought it would really suit Indian choreography and it actually works really well.

“‘Seeing Differently’ is a challenging show for me as director and choreographer but I love a challenge.”