London premiere of Yorke Dance Project's California Connections

London premiere of Yorke Dance Project’s California Connections

Yolande Yorke-Edgell first set up Yorke Dance Project in Los Angeles in 1998. Now in its 25th year, the company comes to the Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House to give the London premiere of California Connections on 21 and 22 March. This new mixed bill pays tribute to three extraordinary female choreographers, Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham and Bella Lewitzky, from the state that many see as the birthplace of American modern dance.

Kenneth MacMillan’s three-act ballet Isadora, created for The Royal Ballet in 1981, captured the life of San Francisco native Isadora Duncan. Now Yorke Dance Project, Yolande Yorke-Edgell and Lady Deborah MacMillan have distilled the original into an intensely theatrical one-act chamber work which explores the conflict between Isadora’s search for love and her mission to revolutionise the art of dance.  The original score is by Richard Rodney Bennett. These performances are part of the Royal Opera House’s MacMillan Celebrated.

Martha Graham spent her formative years in Santa Barbara, California where she was first introduced to dance. Her 1947 masterpiece Errand into the Maze is a duet based on the legends of Ariadne, Theseus and the Minotaur. Influenced by the theories of the psychologist Carl Jung and set to a score by Gian Carlo Menotti, it confronts human fear and explores sexual power struggles. Yorke Dance Project’s revival is the first time the work has been seen in the UK in 20 years.  The company’s performances are part of a three-year centennial celebration of Martha Graham Dance Company which turns 100 in 2026.

Yolande Yorke-Edgell danced with Bella Lewitzky from 1994 to 1998 when Lewitzky retired and disbanded her company. Here her company presents Lewitzky’s boldly sculptural and physically demanding Meta 4 where four dancers perform four movements to an original score for string quartet by Robert Xavier Rodriguez.

A Point of Balance, a new short work for three women from Yorke-Edgell set to music by Laurie Anderson, Bach and Heiner Goebbels, will get its London premiere at the Linbury.

The Yorke Dance Project dancers are Luke Ahmet, Abigail Attard Montalto, Ellie Ferguson, Jenny Hayes, Dane Hurst, Edd Mitton, Pierre Tappon, Amy Thake and Harry Wilson. Guest artist Eileih Muir from Company Wayne McGregor joins for A Point of Balance.

Yorke Dance Project will be at Linbury Theatre, Thursday 21 March at 7:45 pm and Friday 22 March at 2 pm and 7:45 pm. Tickets are available here.

Yorke Dance Project will be at Theatre Royal Winchester on Tuesday 23 April at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available here.

Yorke Dance Project, Meta 4, photo by Jimmy Parratt