#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 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

We're Auditioning!!!

Audition - Dance Artists
Casson & Friends (UK)

Casson & Friends create accessible interactive dance theatre that brings the joy of dance into the everyday! We are currently seeking dance theatre performers for a re-tour of our successful integrated family production, 'Night at the Theatre' from Spring 2017.

Originally produced and created in collaboration with Stopgap Dance Company, Night at the Theatre is a fun filled accessible family adventure that follows three friends as they explore an 'abandoned' theatre. More information and videos can be found at cassonandfriends.com/theatre

We are looking for disabled and non disabled performers who have experience of contemporary dance and dance theatre, experience of teaching, enjoy working collaboratively and have a desire to work on a family dance production.

Rehearsal dates:
Late December 2016 and Late January/Early February 2017 (exact dates to be confirmed).

Touring:
From February 2017 throughout the Spring, with the intention of touring throughout the year.

Fee:
£450 per week

Audition Date:
Wednesday 3rd August 2016

Location:
London (TBC)

To apply: 
Please send a CV, performance footage and a covering letter (or video application if you are less comfortable writing) explaining why you would like to work with us to hello@cassonandfriends.com by 15th July. Successful applicants will be notified by 21st July.

#FriendsFriday 15 - Cherie Brennan

 Cherie Working with Stopgap's Youth Companies

Cherie Working with Stopgap's Youth Companies

 Cherie and Dan share a joke in rehearsal!

Cherie and Dan share a joke in rehearsal!

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

I am involved with Casson and Friends for Night at Theatre through Stopgap as one of the dancer's access worker (Nadenh). I also help out with other things too, such as constructing the set, welcoming the audience, handing out programes and feedback forms and most importantly the 'I Made a Dance' stickers. I also dance along with the kiddies and make sure they don't run on stage. I sometimes lead vocal warm ups too.

What do you love about dance?

I can never really put into words what I love about dance. I just love moving, letting go, feeling free, not caring, getting lost in the music and movement... Lots of things :)

What song always makes you dance?

A song that I quite like at the moment is DJ Snake-Middle ft. Bipolar Sunshine
Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify 

What else are you working on at the moment?

I haven't long got back from a holiday in Croatia which was lovely. I am currently sitting in on the Creation of Stopgap's new work The Enormous Room and making a creation diary which has lots of different things in it, as well as supporting Lucy or the dancers where needed.

Stopgap's youth companies have started back and I am heavily involved with those groups, we will be working towards a small summer sharing. Night at the Theatre continues to tour and we are in Colchester and RichMix next. I have also just organized a graduation meal for 2 of the dancers that are now progressing into Stopgap's main company. Lots of different things... I'm an all rounder!

Find our more about Stopgap and their work here and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

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

#FriendsFriday 13 - Lou Rogers

 The lovely Lou Rogers!

The lovely Lou Rogers!

 Lou is producing our collaboration with Stopgap, 'Night at the Theatre'. Image by Camilla Greenwell

Lou is producing our collaboration with Stopgap, 'Night at the Theatre'. Image by Camilla Greenwell

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

I am the Creative Producer for Strategic Touring at Stopgap Dance Company and have been working with Tim to produce Night at the Theatre

What do you love about dance?

Dancing makes people happy! We have a rule at home which is to dance every day. (We have three rules: Always have olives in the fridge, always buy quality toilet paper and dance every day)

What song always makes you dance? (We are creating a spotify playlist!)

Loads of songs – I have very eclectic taste! I’ll pick December 1963 (Oh What a Night) as my ten year wedding anniversary is coming up and this was our first dance!
Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify 

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

#FriendsFriday 9 - Tim Van Eyken

 Tim Van Eyken & Dani B Larsen in 'Untitled' (Image by Camilla Greenwell)

Tim Van Eyken & Dani B Larsen in 'Untitled' (Image by Camilla Greenwell)

 Tim Van Eyken

Tim Van Eyken

How are you involved with Casson & Friends?

I created a new work, 'Untitled' with dancer Dani B Larsen for Casson & Friends 'Wild Card' at Sadler's Wells last year, I'm the voice of 'The Director' for Night At The Theatre, and am about to start collaborating with Tim on work for my new theatre company Native.

What do you love about dance?

I think dance distills emotion in a unique way, it atavistically connects with gut-instinct very powerfully, and I love how that can simplify and clarify a story.

What song always makes you dance?

'Le batteux / La grande gigue simple' by La Bottine Souriante

(Listen to the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify Here: http://bit.ly/friendsfridayplaylist)

Follow Tim on Facebook here, on Twitter here and visit his website at www.timvaneyken.co.uk

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

#FriendsFriday 8 - Lou Cope

 Lou Cope :)

Lou Cope :)

How are you involved with Casson & Friends?

I am working with Tim as his dramaturg, we worked together on Night at the Theatre.  

What do you love about dance?

It makes me want to dance! and I love that it can communicate what words cannot.

What song always makes you dance?

I Love to Love - Tina Charles (always gets my dinner parties going!!)

(Check out the #FriendsFriday playlist on Spotify here: http://bit.ly/friendsfridayplaylist

You can find out more about Lou at www.loucope.com, she is also South East Dance's Dramaturg in Residence, learn more at facebook.com/LouCopeSED

Casson & Friends are thrilled to be working with Lou via South East Dance's COLLABORATE Scheme.

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

And here's a quick video from our premiere at The Vaults last weekend!