Liam Francis and Juan Gil star in spectacular Rambert triple-bill with ‘masterpiece’ choreography by INTOTO course-consultant Ben Duke
Published: Friday, 24 November 2017 14:22
Under the artistic direction of Mark Baldwin (a current patron and governor of London Studio Centre), Rambert presents A Linha Curva, and other works, a triple-bill featuring London Studio Centre alumni Liam Francis (ex-INTOTO Dance) and Juan Gil (ex-Images Ballet Company), who both provide exceptional performances. The show features three unique and powerful pieces; the third of which, Goat, is choreographed by rising star Ben Duke who acts as course-consultant for the Contemporary Dance Professional Option and INTOTO Dance Company at London Studio Centre.
Juan Gil (far left) in Symbiosis - Copyright Rambert Dance Company
Juan Gil trained at London Studio Centre with a full-scholarship and graduated in 2011. He was awarded the Bridget Espinosa Award for the most potential to succeed in Classical Ballet, having trained and toured with Images Ballet Company under the direction of Margaret Barbieri. He joined the Sarasota Ballet in Florida, under the direction of Iain Webb, and continued to work with Margaret Barbieri for five years, rising to the rank of Junior Principal. He has had featured roles in Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand, A Wedding Bouquet, Façade, Enigma Variations and Illuminations; George Balanchine’s Apollo and The Four Temperaments; Christopher Bruce’s Sergeant Early’s Dream; Vaslav Nijinsky’s L’après-midi d’un Faune; and Christopher Wheeldon’s The American. Juan joined Rambert in 2016.
Liam Francis in rehearsals for Goat - Copyright Rambert Dance Company
Whilst studying at LSC, Liam Francis also regularly performed the hip-hop dance theatre group ZooNation. In 2013 he became Resident Director and one of the choreographers for ZooNation Youth Company’s show Groove On Down The Road at the Southbank. In his graduating year, Liam was a member LSC’s contemporary dance company INTOTO Dance and performed works by Ana Lujan Sanchez, Wayne Parsons and Dam Van Huynh for their 2014 tour. After gaining a first class honours in his degree and receiving the LSC award for most outstanding performance in INTOTO Dance, Liam joined Rambert as an apprentice dancer in 2014. Whilst at Rambert, Liam has performed in Didy Veldman’s 3 Dancers, Mark Baldwin's Dark Arteries, Alexander Whitley’s Frames, Patricia Okenwa's Hydrargyrum and Malgorzata Dzierzon’s Flight.
Liam and Juan are not the first LSC alumni to have joined Rambert: Clemmie Sveaas, Yolande Yorke-Edgell and Rafael Bonachela have all performed with the company. Rafael even became an Associate Choreographer for Rambert until 2005, when he set up Bonachela Dance Company and later joined Sydney Dance Company as Artistic Director.
Liam Francis and Juan Gil with Daniel Davidson in Ghost Dances - Copyright Rambert Dance Company
Earlier this year, both Liam and Juan starred in Rambert’s critically acclaimed Ghost Dances, Christopher Bruce’s revival of his 1981 classic. They were both cast alongside Daniel Davidson as the iconic trio of “Ghost Dancers” and the show received much praise, with The Stage calling it “a triumphant return of a heritage work” and The Telegraph proclaiming the piece was “as powerful and as relevant as it ever was” and “magnificently performed”.
Liam and Juan both return to form in Rambert’s new show which features the following three pieces:
A Linha Curva: a Brazilian carnival-flavoured piece by Itzik Galili.
Symbiosis: a high velocity celebration of the Rambert dancers’ skills by acclaimed Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis.
Goat: a darkly funny and deeply moving Nina Simone-inspired piece by rising star and LSC course-consultant, Ben Duke.
Ben Duke in rehearsals, choreographing Goat - Copyright Rambert Dance Company
Ben is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Lost Dog, a company that blends text, live music and movement to create dance works framed by stories and characters. Lost Dog’s work has toured nationally and internationally and was awarded first prize at the Burgos International Choreography competition, second prize at the prestigious Hanover choreography competition and The Place Prize for Dance for the duet, It Needs Horses. Ben also won the 2016 National Dance Award for Best Male Performer for his role in the production Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) and the work was nominated for a Total Theatre award and a Sky Arts South Bank Award. As well as his work for Lost Dog, Ben has directed and choreographed works for other companies including Barely Methodical Troupe (Kin), Scottish Dance Theatre (The Life and Times of Girl A), Dance Umbrella (The Difference Engine) and Phoenix Dance Theatre (Pave up Paradise). Ben has also choreographed for INTOTO Dance three times. As a performer, Ben has worked with Probe, Hofesh Shechter Company, The Gate Theatre, The National Theatre of Scotland, Glyndebourne Opera and Punchdrunk.
Ben joined London Studio Centre as course-consultant in 2016 and provides a critical partnership with the Contemporary Dance Course Director and Artistic Director of INTOTO Dance, Sue Booker. Together they work to expand and nourish the creative knowledge and practice of LSC’s contemporary dance students.
Liam Francis in Goat - Copyright Rambert Dance Company
Goat is Ben Duke's first commission for Rambert and features Liam Francis as a ‘scape-goat’ figure. The piece has already received much critical acclaim:
“Goat is a goddamn masterpiece" – The Stage
“Ben Duke's dance to the death is a searingly emotional joyride” – The Guardian
“Goat is Rambert in bold future-forward mode” – The Herald Scotland
“Funny, moving and perplexing in equally glorious measure.” – The Scotsman
Liam and Juan are also receiving praise for their performances in the show’s other two pieces, A Linha Curva and Symbiosis:
“I have never seen A Linha Curva danced better” – The Stage
“Rambert’s dancers who’ve been performing the work since 2009 are exemplary in combining Latin-inflected sass with meticulous speed” – The Guardian
“The dancers brought a cool intelligence and driving dynamic to the shifting moods, isolations and interactions of Symbiosis … It’s clever, complex” – The Herald Scotland
A Linha Curva- Copyright Rambert Dance Company
A Linha Curva, and other works is at Salder’s Wells until Saturday 25th November 2017.
The show will also visit the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham from Tuesday 27th February until Thursday 1st March 2018.
Liam Francis and London Studio Centre are also currently collaborating on a new show which will be brought to the Pentland Theatre, artsdepot on Saturday 13th January 2018. Liam Francis & Friends present I.D. will include two original pieces choreographed by Liam which will be performed by LSC alumni and dancers from Rambert. LSC alumni Ryan Ledger and Viv West will also be choreographing a piece each performed by current students. Tickets will soon be available on the artsdepot website and more information on the show will shortly be announced on our website.