Last Saturday the nation was wowed by Britain’s Got Talent auditionees Another Kind of Blue. Their immersive performance captivated audiences with its mesmerising story-telling, told through a fusion of animation and contemporary dance. BGT is no stranger to innovative dance groups – 2013 winners Attraction engaged viewers with their shadow theatre performances - but Another Kind of Blue raised the bar further still.
Choreographer David Middendorp has always been fascinated by the possibilities of dance and animation, so he established the group in 2007 to realise his aspirations. I spoke to him about the troupe’s BGT audition piece and the unique blend of technology and dance.
‘The aim in my work is to make the multimedia part equal to the choreography and integrate it in a way they support each other, not fight for attention. I believe that technology has the ability to bring the audience another perspective.’
For me, the story is about two people that have a difficult moment in their relationship. We see them in their living room right before they have this talk. In my own story, the male has set up the room to create a good atmosphere for the discussion, however when the moment is finally there he avoids it by continuing to adjust the room. When he can’t hold it in anymore, he bursts and throws his emotions on the table. From that moment what we see is their emotions, not their literal conversation. For example, the feeling of falling and being thrown around and then caught at the last second. It ends again in the living room where they extinguish the fire. To me, this could either represent extinguishing the argument, or the relationship.
Are all of your pieces inspired by stories in this way?
To create my work, the inspiration always changes. Sometimes it comes from an exciting new technology that catches my interest, and other times it is the music, something personal or even just a problem or random idea.
How long does it take you to perfect each show/story?
It is never finished! I like to continue to develop my ideas, sometimes in a completely new and different way. Of course when you have a deadline such as a premiere or show, it forces you to get it done. However, it is a constant process!
What are your thoughts on the future of dance and what you see the role of technology to be?
Technology has always been there. Even from the invention of pointe shoes, which were made to make the dancer look weightless. I am doing the same, just in the 21st Century with the technology that is available to me today. The aim in my work is to make the multimedia part equal to the choreography and integrate it in a way they support each other, not fight for attention. I believe that technology has the ability to bring the audience another perspective.
Do you think it makes dance more accessible to the masses?
I think it definitely can, but it depends on how the creator uses it.
The team of dancers from Another Kind of Blue that are working together with me for BGT are:
Violet Broersma - 23 years old - The Netherlands. Violet is from The Hague, The Netherlands and has been dancing from a very young age. On the side of dance, Violet is a keen yogi and also the babysitter for David’s 6 year old daughter. Violet took to the stage in Saturday’s audition alongside Antonino.
Antonino Milazzo - 28 years old - Italy. Nino is from Sicily, and has been living and working professionally as a dancer in The Netherlands since 2006. Besides his passion for dance, Nino has an interest in gadgets, photography and loves playing volleyball.
Davide Cocchiara - 29 years old - Italy. Davide is from Naples and has been living and working professionally as a dancer in The Netherlands since 2005. Alongside performing, Davide is also a contemporary dance teacher and enjoys writing and following the world of politics.
Madeline Harms - 24 years old - Australia. Madeline is from Melbourne, Australia, and has been living and working professionally as a dancer in The Netherlands since 2010. Alongside her love of dance and the arts, Madeline loves to travel, and is also a part-time travel/content writer.
All four dancers will be involved throughout the competition if the group proceed.
Finally, can you explain Blue Technology briefly?
Blue Technology is a full evening performance, consisting of four different works, that all involve technology - sometimes as a subject, sometimes as a means to tell a story. The performance is a mix of modern dance, projections, animations and drones.
Last year we toured Blue Technology throughout The Netherlands and Germany. Check the agenda on www.anotherkindofblue.com for upcoming performances.
In 2014 Middendorp reached the semi-final of America’s Got Talent with a different dance duo, Blue Journey.
Whether Another Kind of Blue repeat this success in Britain remains to be seen, but the team certainly have a thumbs up from me!