Martin Lawrance on Dance GB
The Scottish Ballet choreographer will share a bill with English and Welsh national dance companies
‘Am I allowed to swear?’ asks Martin Lawrance politely, before going on to describe how he felt when Scottish Ballet first knocked at his door. Suffice to say, he was a little nervous.
A dancer with Richard Alston Dance Company for many years, Lawrance’s status as a choreographer currently lies somewhere between fledgling and established. But when three of the biggest dance companies in Britain ask three choreographers to create new work to celebrate the sporting event of the decade, and you’re one of them, you must be doing something right.
In fact, Lawrance has been doing lots of things right – and Ashley Page, artistic director of Scottish Ballet, had noticed. ‘Ashley has been watching my work for a while now,’ explains Lawrance, ‘and he saw a piece I did last year and thought, “Now Martin’s ready”. So he wanted to give me something on a bigger scale than I’ve had previously – and Dance GB is huge. It’s daunting, but I’m loving it.’
Lawrance’s work for Scottish Ballet, Run for it takes an abstract look at various Olympic sports, and will sit alongside new pieces by Christopher Bruce and Itzik Galili, choreographing for National Dance Company Wales and English National Ballet respectively – with all three companies performing together on one bill.
Previous works created for Alston’s company have shown Lawrance to be an emotionally intelligent choreographer, with a real ear for music. And for Dance GB, he was offered a whole new box of tricks to play with: dancers on pointe, a live orchestra playing John Adams, and a specially commissioned set by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Boyce.
‘I really feel as though I’ve come up trumps,’ says Lawrance. ‘I’ve taken everything that’s been given to me and used it. I don’t know when I’m going to get this opportunity again, so I thought sod it, let’s just go for it.’
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Tue 19–Sat 23 Jun.