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Eleesha Drennan is a multi-award winning choreographer based in London. Former House Choreographer of National Dance Company Wales she has toured extensively both in the UK and overseas.In 2014 she was awarded the prestigious Sky Academy Arts Scholarship. Ahead of her London premiere of her debut piece Channel Rose presented at The Place on Fri 27 & Sat 28 Feb, we caught up with her to get a bit of an insight into the piece.  

1. Can you tell us a bit about Channel Rose?

Channel Rose is a work that is specific to a time period in my life where everything needed to change. I started researching the impacts on my perception by walking through cities, both familiar ones and new ones, wearing rose- tinted glasses. I became inspired by the idea of searching for utopia as a way of trying to understand on a deeper level ‘where is our ultimate destination?’ Utopia literally means a ‘perfect place’ and ‘no place’. This double meaning interests me a lot as a way of addressing the impossibility of perfection - it’s the striving for it that counts.  

2. What about the musical score for the piece?

I collaborated with Mark Bowden as composer and musical curator for Channel Rose which has been very enriching for the work. Mark has a great sensitivity to dance and brings his musical knowledge into the studio. He has composed a new piece of music especially for Channel Rose. The music will be performed live on stage by two musicians, Simon Haram, Principal Saxophonist of the London Sinfonietta and the internationally renowned solo percussionist Julian Warburton.  

4. How has winning the Sky Academy Arts Scholarship Award helped?

The scholarship has allowed me the time to focus on my creative development. It is amazing to have the support and advice of my two invaluable mentors Katherine Ware (Head of PR for Sky Living) and Wayne McGregor, whose knowledge and experience is enormously helpful to consult.  

5. Having been a dancer with National Dance Company of Wales for 9 years and then the House Choreographer for the Company; how does it feel to now be making your own work for other dancers?

It’s both rewarding and challenging to make work independently after being under the wing of NDCWales for so long. I like to have a bit of an edge and this project definitely has that which is satisfying and a big learning curve. It’s a lot of responsibility and there is nothing to hide behind, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

8. As a choreographer and artist, who are your influences? Whose work do you really like?

I have been very fortunate to work with many brilliant artists/ dancers /choreographers in my career who have influenced me in different ways. As a dancer I was particularly inspired by working with Ohad Naharin, Stephen Shropshire and the late Nigel Charnock. I greatly admire the work of Crystal Pite, Pina Bausch and Peeping Tom amongst others. I grew up without a television and I read a lot of Roald Dahl as a child which I think stimulated my imagination. 

Find our more about Channel Rose or book your ticket

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