|Name Jonathan Burrows|
|Education Royal Ballet School|
|Books A Choreographer's Handbook|
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Blue Yellow - Sylvie Guillem - Jonathan Burrows -
Jonathan Burrows is a British choreographer.
- Blue Yellow Sylvie Guillem Jonathan Burrows
- Hands de jonathan burrows 1995
- Both Sitting Duet 2002
- The Quiet Dance 2005
- Speaking Dance 2006
- Influences and influenced
He started his career as a soloist with The Royal Ballet in London, but formed the Jonathan Burrows Group in 1988 to present his own work.
The company travelled widely and gained an international reputation with pieces such as Stoics (1991), Very (1992), Our (1994), The Stop Quartet (1996) and Things I Don't Know (1997).
Since 2000, Burrows has worked with other performers, notably non-dancers. In 2001 he presented Weak Dance Strong Questions (2001), a collaboration with the Dutch theatre director Jan Ritsema. This was followed with the trilogy, Both Sitting Duet (2002), The Quiet Dance (2005) and Speaking Dance (2006) with the Italian composer and long-time collaborator Matteo Fargion.
Other high-profile collaborators include Sylvie Guillem's performance of his choreography in Adam Robert's film Blue Yellow in 1996, and his invitation in 1997 to choreograph for William Forsythe's Ballet Frankfurt.
In 2003 Burrows and Matteo Fargion received the 2003–2004 New York Dance and Performance Bessie Awards for Both Sitting Duet. Burrows received a 2002 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.
Burrows has commented that it is sometimes difficult making dance in his home country of Britain, and that in Europe he finds a much more appreciative and open-minded dance and theatre industry.
Burrows has devoted fan-base among the (mostly young) dance in-crowd.
He currently lives in London and Brussels.
Hands de jonathan burrows 1995
Born in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England, 1960. Studied at the Royal Ballet School, both White Lodge, Richmond Park and Baron's Court venues, London, 1970–79, under Richard Gladstone. Winner of an Ursula Morton award for student piece of choreography, 3 Solos. Soloist with the Royal Ballet, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, 1979 – 91. Performer, Rosemary Butcher Dance Company, 1986 -99. Early pieces choreographed for Extemporary Dance Theatre, Spiral Dance Company, Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet, and the Royal Ballet Choreographic Group. Made experimental work at Riverside Studios in his early career. Founded Jonathan Burrows Group in 1988, which became a resident company at The Place Theatre, London, 1992 – 94. Entered into co-productions with theatres in Ghent (Belgium), Angers (France), and Utrecht (Netherlands), 1995 – 96. Choreographed for William Forsythe's Ballet Frankfurt, 1997. Artist-in-residence at Southbank Centre, London, 1998 – 99. Associate artist, Kunstencentrum Vooruit in Ghent, Belgium, 1992– 2002. Visiting member of faculty at the Performing Arts Research and Training Studios (P.A.R.T.S), the school of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker in Brussels, 1999 – 2002. Burrows and Matteo Fargion received the New York Dance and Performance Bessie Awards for Both Sitting Duet, 2004. Associate Director on Peter Handke's The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other for the National Theatre, London, 2008. Visiting Professor for the Department of Drama and Theatre at the Royal Holloway, University of London, ongoing.
Burrows and Fargion are among the most widely travelled of UK performance artists and have gained an international reputation for the intelligence, humour and musicality of their shows.
Both Sitting Duet (2002)
Sitting on chairs drawn up close to the audience, staring at music and dance "scores" at their feet, the two men draw us into a silent, unexpected and often funny conversation for two pairs of arms.
"Working mute, without instruments and almost without technique, the men become immersed in what are basically a series of brisk hand-jives. They barely rise out of their chairs as they perform. But the point of the duet is that they are able to magic their restricted vocabulary into sophisticated dance and music, twisting simple gestures into a variety of shapes and rhythms so that they mesmerise and dazzle."
"Sometimes imitative, sometimes in counterpoint, they weave a complex, witty, rhythmic tapestry, two strange characters entirely lost in obsessive movement."
The judges of the New York Dance and Performance Bessies awarded the 2003 prize, "For an extraordinary symphony of upper body gestures performed in extrasensory collaboration in an ordinary setting made tense by the silent musical score, for an intimate production by an unlikely pair of average middle-aged white guys in chairs."
Supported by the Arts Council England, the Jonathan Burrows Group, NOTT Dance Festival, Kaaitheater, P.A.R.T.S./Rosas and the Laban Dance Centre London.
The Quiet Dance (2005)
At the heart of this work is a love of rhythmic form and the quiet intensity of communication this allows them to share with each other and with the audience.
"The duo rob themselves not only of conventional music, but also of grace. It begins with the deadpan Fargion bellowing "Ahhhhhhhhhh!" as Burrows stomps across the stage, sinking lower with each step. Then the roles switch, the stomp turns into an angular stagger, and so on. Like all good comedy, it's impeccably timed – and, of course, it's not really that "quiet" at all."
"During one section, they riff on the verbal shorthand of different dance genres (ballroom, ballet and disco), and we can almost see them partnering each other on a real-life dance floor."
Co-produced by Dance 4, Nottingham, Dance Umbrella London, Joint Adventures, Munich, Kaaitheater, Brussels and supported by Arts Council England and the Jonathan Burrows Group.
Speaking Dance (2006)
Burrows' and Fargion's final part of the trilogy of performances. The last piece continues their exploration into how the relationship between music and dance is perceived, and the fragile but permeable boundaries between the two.
"As the title suggests, words are the thing here, but not in any conventional sense. There is, at last, music of many kinds, but, rather than move to it, Burrows and Fargion often read out dance notation ("Cross! Two, three, four…") or the actual names of the notes ("A! B flat! D!") in time to it." The Telegraph
Co-produced by Dance Umbrella, London, supported by the Arts Council England & the Jonathan Burrows Group and with thanks to Dance 4 Nottingham.
Influences and influenced
The critic Judith Mackrell has described aspects of Burrows' style as emanating from the influences of folk-dance, classicism and more weighted postmodern dance movement.
Burrows describes Riverside Studios, run by David Gothard as influential in his early career. Gothard drew together important artists and Burrows would see Samuel Beckett and Dario Fo around the theatre, and John Cage and Merce Cunningham duets were performed there. After seeing them in the early 1980s, American post modern dance, especially the Judson Church generation of choreographers from New York, such as David Gordon, Steve Paxton, Trisha Brown, and Lucinda Childs and also Douglas Dunn and their Contact improvisation began to influence his thinking. He also began performing for Rosemary Butcher.
He also lists Bronislava Nijinska, specifically Les Noces.
Burrows' long-time colloborator Matteo Fargion studied composition with the composer Kevin Volans. Burrows consequently chose also to study with Volans, and the ideas which came out of this time are still important to Burrows' work, and a source of connection between Burrows and Fargion. Both Sitting Duet is the translation of a score of a piece of music by American composer Morton Feldman, an important figure in music, and with whom Volans was friends.
Burrows learnt traditional English Morris dancing at White Lodge Royal Ballet School, and both he and critics have named this as another possible source of influence in his style. Burrows has commented that he looked for a new way of moving that he could manage better than ballet. He met this desire in contact improvisation and release work, but also in folk dances, such as the Bampton Dancers of Oxford. Burrows comments, "I like the traditional men's dances from England. The dancers had this weird quality of absurdity mixed with profound dignity."
Burrows has through his work and teaching and mentoring, been an influence on other successful choreographers.