DMU dance artists commissioned by Birmingham Royal Ballet
An original screen piece produced by contemporary dance graduates from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is part of an installation commissioned by the Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB).
Image credit: Paul Telfer
Leona McDonough-Smith and Kallirroi Vratti are two of five recent graduates selected to create artwork for Wherefore ART Thou ?, an exhibition celebrating the premiere of Edward Clug’s Radio and Juliet, a 21st century reinvention of history of Romeo and Juliet danced to Radiohead music.
Choreographed and performed by duo DMU, Detachment is a minimalist piece exploring what their relationship to love would look like if they were mechanical beings. It is screened at the Birmingham Library until Sunday October 17, as part of the BRB installation.
Leona, 21 from Worksop, said: “It’s both surreal and exciting to be a part of this exhibition.
“One of our biggest challenges was making our room accessible to everyone. Throughout the process, we had to keep in mind the context in which it was shown and make sure that we created something that everyone could enjoy and engage with.
“Another challenge was that I got home for the summer,” said Kallirroi, 21, from Greece.
“We had to do a lot of our planning and rehearsals virtually, but luckily Leona and I are working really well and quickly together. When I got back to the UK we only had two days to rehearse in person and one day to film it.
Image credit: Paul Telfer
In addition to receiving £ 1,000 to spend towards their commission, the selected artists benefited from professional development, including mentorship from award-winning artist duo Davy and Kristin McGuire, and exclusive access to a series masterclasses, questions and answers, interviews and rehearsals.
Leona said: “It has been a big learning curve but such a valuable experience. Although we both got into creating screen dance thanks to our degree at DMU, this project gave us the opportunity to challenge ourselves as artists and develop our skills even further. .
Kallirroi added: “We have definitely learned a lot of new skills in a short period of time. It was also great to meet everyone working on the project, especially Carlos Acosta, dancer and director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. It gave me stimuli for my work.
Graduation this summer was a source of pride for Leona and Kallirroi, who discovered who they are as dance artists and developed their individual creative practices at DMU.
During their graduation they successfully auditioned for Aakash Odedra’s pre-professional dance company, Aakash Odedra 2, where they had the invaluable opportunity to learn elements of Kathak and contemporary dance, this which influenced their own practice.
Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2021