Rosie Kay: 'When you've got five more dancers, you can have five more stories'

Rosie Kay: 'When you've got five more dancers, you can have five more stories'

Choreographer discusses doubling the size of her award-winning 2016 work

As any military unit knows, the more personnel you have, the bigger the impact. So when choreographer Rosie Kay was given the chance to double the size of her award-winning 2016 work, 5 Soldiers, she jumped at it.

'Originally there were only five because that's all I could afford,' explains Kay. 'But we had to work really hard to make them look like a full army unit. Then Fiona Allan, artistic director of Birmingham Hippodrome, saw the show and said 'I could see ten soldiers on our large stage.' And I thought wow, not only is she supporting us growing the piece but she's going to put it on one of the biggest stages in the country.'

With support in place, Kay went back to the drawing board, reading over old notes from her time training with the Army, and adding in a whole new section about the transition from civilian to soldier. Continued help and interaction from the Army itself also gave Kay new content to work with.

'One of the big things the Army has been working hard on, is its equality for women and ethnic diversity,' she explains. 'They're certainly not there yet, but it's heartening to see them have really clear targets.'

As a result, 10 Soldiers has grown from having one female dancer to two, and incorporating a male dancer of Indian heritage and one who is mixed race. 'When you've got five more dancers, you can have five more stories,' says Kay, 'so I've had a chance to look at a few more issues as well.'

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu 30 May.

10 SOLDIERS

Army life and life on the frontline showcased through dance.

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