NEWS: Barbican Theatre brings two innovative, exhilarating and critically acclaimed dance companies to The Plymouth Athenaeum stage this autumn

Barbican Theatre is excited to announce it will be bringing two professional dance productions to The Plymouth Athenaeum stage this autumn; James Wilton Dance’s ‘The Storm’ on Friday 5 October and Avant Garde Dance’s Fagin’s Twist on Friday 19 October.

Suzie West, Lead Practitioner for Barbican Theatre’s FUSE Diverse Dance project says

 “We’re bringing two very unique dance productions to Plymouth this autumn – what a treat! From stunning athleticism to hip hop dance theatre. Both will be a blast and leave you wanting to try it yourself. What’s great is that, you don’t have to be a trained contemporary or urban dancers to appreciate these productions. They are so good, they tell the story for you”. 

 James Wilton Dance, one of Europe’s most in demand dance companies, present The Storm, on Friday 5 October (7:30pm) A whirlwind of lightning fast, athleticism, where acrobatics, break-dancing, martial arts and contact work fuse to form dance that will blow audiences away.

Seven dancers, a soundtrack of thundering electro-rock specially composed by Amarok and thousands of pieces of paper combine to create a work that will astound you with its athleticism and touch you emotionally in a way that words simply can’t.

In this storm can you find peace? Can you find the calm eye of the storm? Will it all blow over?

James tells us

“After the considerable success of Leviathan, a work based on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick which will see its 100th performance in 2018, I wanted to create not only my own dance work, but also my own story. I have always been fascinated by the inner workings of the human mind, in particular how we process and understand emotions, and wanted to create a narrative that not only moves audiences emotionally, but encourages viewers to consider our psychologies and behaviours from all angles.

 Physically, I believe we have just scratched the surface of what my company are capable of.  Our unique blend of martial arts, break dance, capoeira, acrobatics and dance is continually evolving, and The Storm will be the next step of this. It will be more physical, athletic and energised than anything we’ve previously created, but with more softness and texture than we have previously added”

 Avant Garde Dance first brought their production of Fagin’s Twist to Barbican Theatre’s intimate stage in 2016 where it quickly sold out and had extensive waiting lists. So the decision to bring it to larger Plymouth Athenaeum two years later (Friday 19 October 7:30pm) was an easy one.

Fagin’s Twist is an ambitious fusion of hip-hop and contemporary dance theatre, Fagin’s Twist is based on the story of Oliver Twist. It tells the story of Fagin and Bill Sykes’ childhood, imagining how it may have resembled Oliver’s. They are corrupted by greed, and worn down by poverty. When the audience meets Oliver – a vulnerable child – it seems impossible that he will be able to break out of this cycle, and indeed in Avant Garde Dance’s version there is no fairy tale ending. Oliver is heir to Fagin and Bill’s criminal enterprise, and it is ambiguous whether Oliver is more victim or victor.


 Both images credit: Rachel Cherry

Tony Adigun’s Avant Garde Dance Company is at the forefront of London’s innovative Hip hop/ Contemporary Dance scene. Commercially Tony has performed with internationally recognised artists including Janet Jackson, Usher, Ashanti, Mel B, JoJo, Cheryl Cole and Whitney Houston and was the Creative Director for Sky 1’s ‘Got To Dance’.

Tony explains his choice of the Dickens’ classic and what audiences can expect from Fagin’s Twist,

“I was looking for a classic tale to re-tell, and finally settled on the story of Oliver Twist. In thinking about the different characters in the book, with the team, I set about re-imagining some of them; discussing what led them to the point at which the story we all know starts, and creating backstories for those who didn’t have them. Oliver’s character seemed too simple, he was too nice and everything just fell into place for him. It seemed too easy for him. Fagin was the last one we looked at. I’m a believer in the underdog and I was really interested in his personality. I wanted to take his journey before he got to the point where he’s most recognisable and look at his past, at his childhood and see what parallels I could make between him and Oliver”.

I want audiences to feel something. I say to my dancers: your job is to evoke an emotion from the audience, whatever that may be. If they hate it, take it: you’ve brought something out of them. The worst thing is for someone to be at a show for an hour and not feel anything. I also like the audience to think. I don’t like things to be laid out plain and obvious: I want the audience to find things for themselves.”

Tickets for James Wilton’s The Storm are priced at are priced at Full £13.50, Concessions £11.50 (under 16s, students, over 60s and registered disabled), inclusive of all booking fees and charges.  Tickets for Avant Garde Dance’s Fagin’s Twist are priced at Full £15.50, Concessions £12.50 (under 16s, students, over 60s and registered disabled), inclusive of all booking fees and charges.  Buy tickets 24 hours a day on our website www.barbicantheatre.co.uk, in person at the Barbican Theatre (11am – 6pm Monday to Friday) or by calling 01752 267131 (11am – 6pm Monday to Friday).