At the Riley Theatre
Rich in contrast and leaping gracefully between the old and the new, SKIN Reimagined explores what lies beneath the skin.
Directed by ACE Artistic Director Gail Parmel, this powerful double bill reignites ACE’s collaboration with international choreographers Vincent Mantsoe (South Africa) and Akiko Kitamura (Japan) and features new scores, costume designs, choreography and digital projections.
Drawing on rituals, ancient spirituality and science, ACE’s company of six dancers dig deep to explore what it means to be an individual, and what binds us together.
Kitamura’s Blind Trip is a wildly explorative, intelligent piece that asks as many questions as it answers. The stage resembles a clinical laboratory, with futuristic projections, immersive soundscapes and dynamic lighting. Movement is inspired by the ceremony of fighting; dancers invade each other’s space with respect, while reading the invisible signals we give out – the details of our skin.
Letlalo, or Skin in Mantsoe’s mother tongue Sotho, has its roots firmly planted in African culture and spirituality. Letlalo takes the audience on a journey through time, exploring human power and spirit. Drawing inspiration from ancestral worship and ritual as well as contemporary world cultures Mantsoe examines what lies beneath the skin; our ‘true’ essence.
South African dancer and choreographer Vincent Mantsoe combines traditional African dance with Contemporary, Asian, Aboriginal, Ballet and street styles. He is the founder of Association Noa, and has toured internationally to venues including The Kennedy Center in Washington and Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa. His choreography has won him multiple prizes including first place at Rencontres Chorégraphique de Bagnolet, the Prix du Peuple at the Festival International de Nouvelle Danse, and Best Choreography at the Black Theatre Alliance Awards in Chicago.
Akiko Kitamura studied ballet and street dance at Waseda University. In 1994 she founded her own company, Leni-Basso, and in 1995 she travelled to Berlin on a training scholarship awarded to upcoming choreographers by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs. Akiko was invited to Bates Dance Festival in 2001 and created Finks, one of her best-known works which has since been performed over 60 times worldwide.
She was commissioned by the American Dance Festival to create critically-acclaimed piece Enact Oneself. She has since been commissioned by Group Motion Dance Company (USA) and In Transit (Germany) creating Rondo and Ghostly Round, both of which went on to tour internationally.
ACE Dance and Music is an internationally recognised leader in Contemporary African and Caribbean Dance. The company’s signature style is Afro-fusion – dance which is rooted in traditional forms yet expressed through a purely contemporary lens.
ACE creates high quality, innovative performance, frequently combining movement with original music, digital media and multidisciplinary techniques. The company’s reputation has developed through nine biennial productions touring to small and mid-scale theatres and festivals across the UK and internationally.
Founded in 1996 in Birmingham by Artistic Directors Gail and Ian Parmel, ACE Dance and Music (African Cultural Exchange Ltd.) was established as an agent for cultural exchange.