#FriendsFriday 44 - Laonikos Psimikakis-Chalkokondylis

 Lao is one cool dude!

Lao is one cool dude!

 Lao Likes an adventure, just like the guys in #NightAtTheTheatre!

Lao Likes an adventure, just like the guys in #NightAtTheTheatre!

 The Team!

The Team!

How are you/have you been involved with Casson & Friends?

I am currently standing in as a production manager for a couple of weeks of the Midlands tour of Night at the Theatre this spring. This is both exciting and a lot of fun — it's so great to see the same piece eliciting different responses from each audience, and to see so many young people being inspired and enthused by this piece. I get to drive the set from one place to another, which I love, and I get to do all the technical bits for the performance, with the help of the often fabulous staff at each venue we visit.

What do you love about dance?

As an artist, what I love about dance is that dancers work directly with their material: there are no words, musical instruments, etc to get in the way—the dancer is the dance! This makes it very grounded in the human body, gravity, etc, which I find fascinating. I also love it as a social practice, dancing is a very beautiful and playful way of getting people to move in rhythm together — much easier to dance the salsa with a stranger than to join a salsa band..

What song always makes you dance? (We have a a Spotify playlist!)

Wade in the Water by Eva Cassidy — I was learning lindy hop some years ago and this was one of the tunes I would practice with, so now it's stuck as the go-to song for lindy hop! 

Also I love music with irregular rhythms, Radiohead's 15 Step comes in mind.

In Finland I did a master in Global Music, so I came across and played a lot of music like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab2wV283ykk - this kind of very earthy, groovy music definitely gets those feet moving!

Last, but not least, I love Scandinavian (particularly Finnish) folk music, and together with a bit of social lindy hop and latin, is a kind of music I love because is so much intertwined with a social dance tradition, and I have danced to myself quite a bit.

Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify

What else are you working on at the moment? (Upcoming performances, exciting projects, holidays!)

In December 2017 I took part in an outrageous deconstruction and reconstruction of Beethoven's Violin Concerto Op.61 at The Old Dentist in Hackney. This was actually only just broadcast on BBC Radio 3's "Hear and Now" last week, and is still available for another few weeks! https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09tmhvc (at 54:10 there's an interview, to give a bit of context for the piece, and the actual music starts at 1 hour in).

I recently started working for Eden Project Communities, where I am part of a team developing a network of community projects and individuals across the UK. It's fascinating, because it's a very ambitious task (to create a self-sustained, resilient network of community initiatives), has a direct impact on the people in the network, and it means I get to meet a lot of ordinary people doing extraordinary things all over the country.

In 2014 I co-founded artArctica, an arts organisation in Helsinki, and I am still involved although this is now a bit in the back-burner because of other commitments. We are aiming to produce a CD-album with music recorded from festivals we produced sometime in the near future.

I am also learning the shakuhachi in my spare time, which I love because it brings together the breath, sound, and mindfulness, as well as my passion for Japanese aesthetics and philosophy. I am trying to learn a bit of Japanese on the side, which hopefully I can put into use when in the future I have the opportunity to take lessons from a Japanese master — this is a big project in itself!

Any links? (Links to your work, your company website, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud etc?)

You can find Lao on his Website, Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter!

Meet more of the Casson & Friends team on Fridays with #FriendsFriday!

#FriendsFriday 43 - Andrew Gardiner

 Andy in motion!

Andy in motion!

 Rehearsals were all a bit much for Andy...

Rehearsals were all a bit much for Andy...

 "Hello...?"

"Hello...?"

How are you/have you been involved with Casson & Friends?

I have recently joined Night At The Theatre as a performer for the 2018 tour. Along the way I will also be learning how to deliver Casson & Friends workshops and The Dance We Made.

What do you love about dance?

I think that because there is always something to discover and work on I don’t easily get bored as with other things. It’s a passion where you really can follow your own interest within a wider context.

What song always makes you dance?

212 by Azealia Banks (its a little explicit) but it just never fails.

Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify

What else are you working on at the moment? (Upcoming performances, exciting projects, holidays!)

My biggest project this year is my Wedding that will happen in France in June. 

For work I will be rejoins Protein Dance and the work Border Tales that will be touring nationally in the UK and also internationally to Korea, Italy, Switzerland, Romania amongst others.

I have just finished a project with Curious Seed in Scotland called teenage trilogy also as a performer, this is set to tour autumn 2018. I will be back with Zoielogic Dance Theatre for upcoming works and artistic assistance.

You can find Andy on Twitter and Instagram.

Meet more of the Casson & Friends team on Fridays with #FriendsFriday!

#FriendsFriday 42 - Alice Sanders

 Alice Sanders - who is ace!

Alice Sanders - who is ace!

 Alice doing her thing in 'They Dance' (Photo by Gigi Giannella)

Alice doing her thing in 'They Dance' (Photo by Gigi Giannella)

How are you involved with Casson & Friends?

I created a dance show with Casson & Friends and it was the best fun! I used to be an audio describer, which means I described TV and film for visually impaired people. The idea for the show started with audio describing dance and the difficulties of translating dance into words, and went from there! 

 Alice doing her thing in 'They Dance' (Photo by Gigi Giannella)

Alice doing her thing in 'They Dance' (Photo by Gigi Giannella)

What do you love about dance?

I love that dancing is a different way to express yourself that isn't words! I also think it is an intrinsically pleasurable thing to do. When nobody is watching. When somebody is watching. When everybody is watching! In the words of David Bowie, let's dance. 

What song always makes you dance?

Oooh, I want to say something super cool but the honest answer is probably Mr Brightside by The Killers. 

Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify

What else are you working on at the moment? 

I'm writing a web series and I perform in too many improv troupes. 

You can find Alice on Twitter  and read some of the awesome things she's written here!

Meet more of the Casson & Friends team every Friday with #FriendsFriday!

#FriendsFriday 41 - Alice Shepperson

 Alice Shepperson by Zoe Bradley

Alice Shepperson by Zoe Bradley

 Alice in Dirtmarket's 'The Dancebombing Project' -  Copyright DWC Imagery

Alice in Dirtmarket's 'The Dancebombing Project' -  Copyright DWC Imagery

 Alice in Dirtmarket's 'The Dancebombing Project' -  Copyright DWC Imagery 

Alice in Dirtmarket's 'The Dancebombing Project' -  Copyright DWC Imagery 

How are you involved with Casson & Friends?

I’m an access worker for Laura Dajao whilst she is performing in Night At The Theatre (NATT). I am also NATT's number 1 fan!

What do you love about dance?

The vibe that dance creates, internally and externally, makes me feel alive and healthy (physically and mentally). Dance is for everyone and anyone. It's so malleable; they're are endless possibilities, which is so exhilarating for me to do and watch. I am forever learning.

What song always makes you dance?

I find this THE hardest question, but today I’m going for Jax Jones- You Don’t Know Me ft. RAYE

Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify

What else are you working on at the moment?

Around Easter, I will be back with Dirtmarket, a dance company I joined last October as a main dancer. We will continue with ‘The Dancebombing Project', performing in Burton Upon Trent and sharing the work at the Curve in Leicester. 

Also, I will teaching and assisting for various other companies.

You can find Alice on Facebook and Instagram

Meet more of the Casson & Friends team every Friday with #FriendsFriday!

#FriendsFriday 40 - Matt Winston

How are you involved with Casson & Friends?    

I’ve been rehearsing and touring Night at the Theatre with the company - it’s a family show about three friends who wander into an apparently empty theatre, only to find an audience there expecting to see a show! Hilarity entails… 

What do you love about dance?

I’ve always loved dancing, from a very young age. It was the joy of throwing myself physically into movement that got me hooked. As I’ve grown (and calmed down a bit) I’ve increasingly come to relish the sense of being in tune with your body - understanding its mechanics and nuances - that Contemporary dance can offer. 

What song always makes you dance? 

Ooooh, there are so many. I’m going to have to go for a classic - a tune off my favourite album by my favourite band.

People Under the Stairs: The L.A. Song (Warning, explicit lyrics!)

Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify

What else are you working on at the moment?

I’ll be traveling to China for a few weeks soon to teach dance to some theatre students, which should be fun and involve lots of delicious food. I’ll be performing in Hull this Summer as part of the City of Culture celebrations with Protein Dance, in a street performance piece called Invisible Dancing. I will also be learning a two man version of the full scale show that I recently toured with Protein, May Contain Food. Otherwise I’m available for birthdays, weddings and Bar Mitzvahs!

Meet more of the Casson & Friends team every Friday with #FriendsFriday!

 

 

#FriendsFriday 39 - Claire Lambert

 Claire Lambert in Night at the Theatre (Image: Alicia Clarke)

Claire Lambert in Night at the Theatre (Image: Alicia Clarke)

 Claire Lambert in Night at the Theatre (Image: Rhiannon Williams)

Claire Lambert in Night at the Theatre (Image: Rhiannon Williams)

How are you involved with Casson & Friends?

I am currently working with Casson & Friends as a performer in Night at the Theatre and I’m really enjoying touring the show!

What do you love about dance?

I am fascinated by the differences between people, by hearing stories and understanding how life is experienced across cultures and continents. I believe movement is the most universal of languages. It has a wonderful power to bring people together and create genuine human connections that can turn out to be life changing interactions. 

What song always makes you dance?

At the moment, I am loving Chunky by Bruno Mars! How could you not boogie to that funk?! 

Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify

 Claire Lambert in Urban Astronaut by Highly Sprung Performance Co

Claire Lambert in Urban Astronaut by Highly Sprung Performance Co

What else are you working on at the moment?

Spring is busy for me! I will be performing in a UK premiere with Summit Dance Theatre and touring Fall Out with Highly Sprung Performance Co (whom I also performed Urban Astronaut with last year) before heading out on tour with Casson & Friends! I'm also part of Angels in America playing at the National Theatre until August!

You can follow Claire on Facebook and Twitter

Meet more of the Casson & Friends team every Friday with #FriendsFriday!

 The lovely Claire Lambert

The lovely Claire Lambert

#FriendsFriday 38 - Laura Dajao

 Laura Dajao in Night at the Theatre (Image: Alicia Clarke)

Laura Dajao in Night at the Theatre (Image: Alicia Clarke)

 Laura Dajao in Night at the Theatre (Image: Rhiannon Williams)

Laura Dajao in Night at the Theatre (Image: Rhiannon Williams)

 Laura Dajao in Night at the Theatre (Image: Rhiannon Williams)

Laura Dajao in Night at the Theatre (Image: Rhiannon Williams)

How are you involved with Casson & Friends?

I'm currently a part of the Night At The Theatre Cast for the 2017 Tour. 

What do you love about dance?

I love the way it makes me feel: whether it's watching a clip on youtube, dancing in an empty lift, or watching people completely forget where they are when the music takes over! The freedom to be whoever you want to be, however you want to be in whichever way you want to be! Pure awesomeness! Just makes me smile is all! 

What song always makes you dance?

General Levi - Incredible - always takes me back! 

Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify

 Laura Dajao in Sardines Dance Collective's Me, Me, Me... and You?

Laura Dajao in Sardines Dance Collective's Me, Me, Me... and You?

What are you working on at the moment? (Upcoming performances, exciting projects, holidays!)

Currently enjoying touring NATT! I am also Associate Director of Sardines Dance Collective, the most current work is with Sardines Dance Collective: Me, Me, Me... and You? A fun duet about the competition in the Dance industry, how far are you willing to go to make it to the top?

In May, I'm planning on a Dance Holiday with Impact Dance to Escape 2017 - packed full of classes and sunshine! The last time I went it was pretty awesome so definitely looking forward to that! 

Find out more about Laura here, and learn more about Sardines Dance Collective or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Meet more of the Casson & Friends team every Friday with #FriendsFriday!

#FriendsFriday 37 - LO:CUS Dance Theatre

How are you involved with Casson & Friends?

We are LO:CUS Dance Theatre, an all female dance company based in Hull. We were selected to be one of Hull Dance's 'emerging artists'. Through this opportunity we were able to choose a mentor to help us with the choreographic and community outreach elements of this project. We met Tim earlier this year at Yorkshire Dance's, Dance Transports weekend and felt that he was the perfect match for the support we needed! 

What do you love about dance?

As cliche as it sounds, dance really does bring people together! We all met at our local professional class and not only have we made our company but we are all really good friends now. Other obvious things are that it's fun, exhilarating, liberating and allows you to communicate!

What song always makes you dance?

We can't stop listening to the Hot 8 Brass Bands cover of 'Sexual Healing', it's great and just really gets us in the 'dance zone'! 

Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify

What are you working on at the moment? (Upcoming performances, exciting projects, holidays!)

We are currently working on our emerging artist piece, 'Whistle a Storm' which will be performed at the Hull Dance Prize on the 23rd of November. Alongside this, we are curating a workshop project with two different community youth groups; who will be performing alongside ourselves at the emerging artist platform later in January 2017. There are lots of exciting things coming up in Hull over the coming year with the City of Culture happening in 2017. Whilst working as a part of LO:CUS, each of us work independently as free lance dance and community artists, continually engaging in professional development via various dance/ arts based projects or study. 

Find LO:CUS Dance Theatre on Facebook and Twitter. Catch their new work at Hull Truck on 23rd November here!

Meet more of the Casson & Friends team every Friday with #FriendsFriday!

 Tim with the LO:CUS Girls with their composer Joe Roper

Tim with the LO:CUS Girls with their composer Joe Roper

  Images from LO:CUS Dance's 'The Worst Day Since'

Images from LO:CUS Dance's 'The Worst Day Since'

#FriendsFriday 36 - Seb Lee-Delisle

How are you involved with Casson & Friends?

We've been working together for a year or two to develop interesting ways to figure out how we can use technology to encourage audiences to actively engage with dance. We've had a few R&D sessions, now culminating in our first trial of a new show "Choreocracy" where the audience gets to influence the dancers in real time through their mobile phones. It's a really fun show, and Tim and I both share a desire to make work that is as entertaining, unpretentious and accessible as possible.

What do you love about dance?

In modern society it's not usually the done thing to express ourselves physically. There's more talking than moving, and I spend most of my time sat typing at my computer! So it can be incredibly powerful to see people using their bodies to convey emotion. It's such a joy to work with dancers, it's so different from the people I usually work with. 

What song always makes you dance?

Ohhhh too many to choose from. I was a bass player in a band for many years so I am a groove fanatic. Le Freak by Chic is a favourite - the long instrumental in the middle with the driving bass from Bernard Edwards. Amazing :) 

Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify

What are you working on at the moment? (Upcoming performances, exciting projects, holidays!)

I have a new stage show called Hacked On Classics, it's a really fun celebration of retro technology, given a modern makeover using cutting edge technology. Oh and lasers, lots of lasers. I talk about how classic old games and gadgets worked, stuff like the original Asteroids game, Casio VL-Tone keyboard and Nintendo Zapper gun (which I've fitted with a powerful laser). It's part of the official closing celebrations for the Brighton Digital Festival and it's at The Old Market in Hove on the 28th September. Tickets at hackedonclassics.com

Find out more about Seb's Work here, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Meet more of the Casson & Friends team every Friday with #FriendsFriday!

 Joyful Genius Seb Lee-Delisle

Joyful Genius Seb Lee-Delisle

 The Dancers in rehearsal for  #Choreocracy

The Dancers in rehearsal for #Choreocracy

 Seb's Project  Pixel Pyros  (He loves a laser!)

Seb's Project Pixel Pyros (He loves a laser!)

#FriendsFriday 35 - Ellen Turner

How are you/have you been involved with Casson & Friends?

I've been working with Casson & Friends for a few years on the The Dance WE Made, getting together in 2015 for the The Dance LEEDS Made. It was a mass pparticipation dance working with a huge variety of different people with all exciting relationships with dance. We worked for a full week, creating dances based on the dance we made then performed in Trinity shopping centre in Leeds. I have since then, continued performing in The Dance We Made all over: Kings cross train station, Birmingham, & Middlesborough to name a few.

What do you love about dance?

I love how it makes me feel: completely free, yet still able to express how I'm feeling inside. I actually find dancing and moving a much easier way of communicating...I also find it incredibly inspiring.

What song always makes you dance?

Mumford and Sons. I particularly like Hopeless wanderer as it reminds me of when I went to New Zealand and was wandering & prancing around in the countryside. 

Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify

What else are you working on at the moment?

My sisters & I own our own dance company, Turn Around Dance Theatre and we are currently in the process of creating a new family friendly aerial circus and dance outdoor show: 'The Thief, the Fox & the Phoenix.' which will be previewing in mid September.

Find out more about Turn Around here, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Meet more of the Casson & Friends team every Friday with #FriendsFriday!

 Ellen in The Dance LEEDS Made (Brian Slater)

Ellen in The Dance LEEDS Made (Brian Slater)

 Ellen Rocking Out by Nicola Selby Photography

Ellen Rocking Out by Nicola Selby Photography

Ellen making dances at Birmingham Mela!