Photo credits:  Ballet Nights

The LBC is delighted to be invited for the first time to watch a dress/tech rehearsal of a Ballet Nights event at their home base of THE LANTERNS STUDIOS in Canary Wharf.

DATE:  Friday 26 April 2024

TIME:  Arrive 1pm for 1.30pm start. Finish at 3pm

VENUE:  Lanterns Studio Theatre, 3 Millharbour, London E14 9XP

Getting there:  Lanterns Studio theatre is located near 3 underground stations.  It is a 3 minute walk to DLR (South Quay station), 10 minutes to Jubilee Line (Canary Wharf), and 15 minutes to Elizabeth Line (Canary Wharf)

IMAGO is the creation of dynamic contemporary dancers and choreographers, James Pett and Travis Clausen-Knight, formerly of Company Wayne McGregor.  This duo have performed extensively internationally including in Japan, China, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Mexico amongst others, and at gala events worldwide, including Ballet Nights and Ballet Icons in the UK.

More about PETT/CLAUSEN-KNIGHT

Book for performances at Ballet Nights

BALLET NIGHTS Q&A with James Pett and Travis Clausen-Knight: 

1.  Tell us about the making of IMAGO

James: Imago looks at the human condition as seen from the perspective of hidden dysfunctions in relationships.  The toxic natures that we are all capable of exhibiting are represented through the floral symbolism we’ve created.  Some of the flowers are arranged in bouquets which are placed on five white pillars on the stage.  They create ever-changing visual architectures as Travis and I navigate our interactions. 

Travis:  We started to make IMAGO after the first lockdown in 2020.  We had a residency in Italy at Moonwalk Studios where we premiered the work two years later.  Moonwalk is amazing – it’s run by three creative individuals who have been incredibly supportive.

We were inspired by the historical book ‘The Language of Flowers’ to include flowers in our work in a symbolic way.  

In working out how to feature the flowers, we looked at what they mean, what they represent, how the seasons affect them, how they can reflect language and relationships.  During the making of the piece we looked at films of flowers opening at different times of the day; James picked an iris, for instance, so we could look at how its petals bend…we then created little sequences featuring flowers and a jumble of material we could look at.  Lavender, for instance, represents mistrust while chrysanthemums represent truth.

James:  At the same time we were working on a theme of the toxicity of relationships.  When a relationship is broken, for instance, there are areas of mistrust, isolation, or even a concept of insanity!  We played with ideas of dangerous behaviours in relationships… We would film something, write notes, talk about ideas and find music to connect with a particular theme.  Choreography would then fuel the next stage.  Sometimes music would give us an idea for a particular theme.

2.  What do you like about performing at Lanterns Studio Theatre?

Travis:  There’s something about the proximinal nature of Lanterns which adds something to the connectivity of our work.  In a way the audience is fully exposed to the rawness and they help to fulfil it.  We hope the audience feels that the work is a part of them and because they are so close to us onstage they actually feed us more than they know!

James:  What’s interesting about Lanterns is that it’s simultaneously intimate and expansive.  While audiences are very close to us they still get the depth of a theatre.  We love that the audience should feel what they’re watching and we love the ‘tennis match effect’ of audiences following the movement across the space – it gives us a superb connection with the audience.

3.  How do you choose your music?

James: We work very closely with my brother Sean who’s an amazing multi-instrumentalist and composer.  Sean plays a number of instruments including piano, drums, and guitar and he works within a digital spectrum, creating astounding things.  He’ll take an instrument apart in order to discover brand new sounds and he loves taking sounds from nature.

IMAGO features 12 chapters – each one with a different musical score.  Sean has created pockets of music to illustrate the various themes such as mistrust, or alienation.  His signature is unique – he’ll create a constant beat and suddenly drop in a snippet of Vivaldi making it a poetic, winding road of music.  It’s very exciting working with him – he’s really the third member of the duo…

4.  You’ve toured a lot internationally – any plans to take IMAGO around the UK?

Travis:    We love touring abroad and are looking forward to touring in the UK later this year and in 2025.  

We’ve worked a lot in Italy, Germany and Japan where we became the first international artists to present contemporary dance on the Cerulean Tower Noh Theatre in Tokyo.  

We had an amazing time in Bangkok; it was a very unexpected experience for the audience as they hadn’t seen any contemporary dance before and, as a result, James was invited to create a piece for the Bangkok City Ballet.

Bulgaria was another wonderful experience – the audience loved IMAGO and in partnership with the British Council we ran movement workshops for Ukranian refugees.  The exchange was very beautiful for us.

We performed IMAGO in Schenzhen, China and they loved it so much they’ve invited us back in August when we’ll tour to other cities including Shanghai and Beijing.  

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LBC Member £15.00 Members only
Non-Member £20.00

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