After 3 countries, 9 UK venues, teaching opportunities and original creations, it feels good to be at home. But the journey of EDGE is not just measured in miles travelled – it is an exchange opportunity for dancers across the globe to come together in a professional environment and explore new creative destinations. Four months of touring are coming to an end, but the adventure is far from over. For Jacob Elliott Roberts, member of EDGE, this year has given him the chance to connect the postgraduate to the professional world. Between a busy schedule of rehearsals, the young dancer had some time to tell us a little more about “this odd period when we are actually learning so much”.
For most of the EDGE dancers, this was their first time touring – an exciting but challenging experience. The group got used to perform at least once a week, during 15 dates across the UK, Austria, Finland and Portugal, where they spent a week performing and teaching young people. Indeed, for Jacob this was the most intense part of the tour where the dancers needed to multi-task: “It was actually non-stop. During the week in Portugal, we taught local children, we presented work that we made with each other and we also presented the tour programme… At the same time, we were making sure that every single thing we did was of the highest quality”.
Following the principle of “learning by doing”, the dancers also got the chance to exchange experiences (and their best moves) with other postgraduate companies such as Verve (Northern School of Contemporary Dance), Mapdance (University of Chichester) and BODHI PROJECT (SEAD, Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance). But the experience of a lifetime goes beyond the studio: being on tour was also about enjoying those little moments between performances like a simple walk on the beach after the Falmouth show, one of the highlights for Jacob.
Back at The Place and inspired by their home in the heart of London, the postgraduate company performs a triple bill created during the year. EDGE worked with the award-winning choreographers Hagit Yakira, Jorge Crecis and Fabio Liberti, giving his UK debut. Each piece has its own personality, from improvisation to high quality technique. However, there is a common thread connecting all the works: this ensemble of international dancers is together on stage, sharing their breathtaking movements and reminding us that they are all travelling towards their final destination - performing.
Being part of EDGE has given 13 dancers this year the chance to connect their individual worlds and create something unique. This is not only a journey about progress - it is also about sharing. “I always have this moment of looking to the group and it is always an emotional thing, to feel connected to the people around”, reveals Jacob.
Ready to dive into the professional world, Jacob took a valuable lesson from EDGE this year. The chance to work within a multicultural group alongside international choreographers made him believe that “you have to be true to the work and true to yourself”. Being back home also brings a special feeling to these last performances, “especially being in this theatre, you feel you are part of it… part of something that is bigger than you”, he added.
After performing 9 minutes by Jorge Crecis this week at The Place, EDGE has accepted the challenge of adapting the piece to populate an art installation with plenty of dance, spoken word, circus and music. The final result will be presented on the 29th of June as part of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival.