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LSC alumni star in Rambert's 'Ghost Dances' tour

Having already performed at Festival Theatre in Edinburgh last year, LSC alumni Juan Gil and Liam Francis are now starring in Rambert’s 2017 tour of Ghost Dances, Christopher Bruce’s revival of his 1981 classic.

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Above: Daniel Davidson, Liam Francis and Juan Gil as The Ghost Dancers - Photo © Chris Nash

Widely considered as one of the greatest contemporary dance pieces of its generation, Ghost Dances is an evocative tribute to the victims of political oppression in South America. The original 1981 performance came about when Bruce was contacted by Joan Jara whose husband Victor had been tortured and murdered during the 1973 Chilean coup d’etat. After hearing the harrowing accounts of individuals been taken away from their families, imprisoned, tortured and killed, Bruce choreographed Ghost Dances to highlight the plight of the innocent people of South America. However, despite the terrible circumstances which inspired the piece, Ghost Dances is as much a celebration of love, compassion and life as it is as a lament on death.

Thirty-six years on, due to much public demand, Christopher Bruce and Rambert have brought this poignant work back to the stage, with LSC graduates Juan Gil and Liam Francis cast alongside Daniel Davidson as the iconic trio of “Ghost Dancers”. Taking design inspiration from the Day of the Dead festival, the “Ghost Dancers” are mysterious skeletal figures with skull masks and long matted hair who perform indigenous dance moves driven by the bewitching rhythms of traditional Latin American songs.

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Above: Liam Francis, Daniel Davidson and Juan Gil as The Ghost Dancers

Graduating in 2011 and 2014 respectively, Juan and Liam took slightly different paths that led them each to Rambert. Juan toured with LSC's Images of Dance (recently re-launched as Images Ballet Company), where he was awarded the Bridget Espinosa Award for the most potential to succeed in Classical Ballet. After Graduation he moved to America to join Sarasota Ballet. Performing for five years in repertoire such as Frederick Ashton’s Monotones II and George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, Juan rose to the rank of Junior Principal before returning to the UK in 2016 to join Rambert. Liam, on the other hand, had a more diverse background, performing with Hip Hop Dance Theatre Company ZooNation since 2009. In 2013 he became Resident Director and one of the choreographers for ZooNation Youth Company’s 2013 show Groove On Down The Road at the Southbank. However, his love for contemporary dance blossomed at LSC where he toured with the third-year contemporary dance company, INTOTO Dance, performing works by Ana Lujan Sanchez, Wayne Parsons and Dam Van Huynh. In 2014, after gaining a first class honours in his degree and the LSC award for most outstanding performance in INTOTO Dance, Liam began his journey with Rambert as an apprentice dancer.

Watch the video to see Juan, Liam and their co-star Daniel getting in to character.

With Ghost Dances being such an iconic piece with many contemporary dance role-models having previously performed in it, Liam says that “it’s such an honour […] to be given the opportunity and to be trusted to perform this work”.

The tour has already visited Hall for Cornwall and Theatre Royal, Nottingham, but will be visiting the following theatres soon:

Sadler’s Wells    -    London     -    Tue 16 – Sat 20 May 2017
The Lowry    -    Salford    -    Tue 28 – Sat 30 Sep 2017
Mayflower Theatre    -    Southampton    -    Tue 10 – Wed 11 Oct 2017
Theatre Royal    -    Norwich    -    Thu 19 – Fri 20 Oct 2017

Follow the link below for more information and to book tickets.

“Moving and spectacular” – Edinburgh Guide

“I don’t see how anybody can fail to be moved by Bruce’s poetic visions.” – The Independent