This website is designed to document the creative processes leading into two dance works: Forest Revisited by choreographer Robert Cohan and director Martin Welton, and The Road Awaits Us by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar. The performance of Forest Revisited is being created by ten dancers, five former members of London Contemporary Dance Theatre (LCDT) who first performed the work and five alumni from the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC). The five former LCDT dancers, Christopher Bannerman, Anne Donnelly (whose dancing name was Anne Went), Linda Gibbs, Paul Liburd and Kenneth Tharp are joined by NYDC alumni Josh Attwood, Hannah Mason, Kennedy Mutanga, Luigi Nardone and Ruby Portus.

Forest Revisited will be performed at Sadler’s Wells as part of the 2017 Elixir Festival on 23 and 24 June. It focuses on the transmission of the knowledge and insight required to perform Robert Cohan’s Forest which was first created during LCDT’s pioneering residency programme of the 1970s. ResCen Research Centre, led by former LCDT dancer and choreographer Christopher Bannerman, is collaborating with Sadler’s Wells Theatre to provide a record of this process in which a significant piece of contemporary dance history is being transmitted to a new generation of dancers whose task is to embody and realise the work. The challenge for the ex-LCDT dancers includes inculcating a way of moving from another era, and to transmit the experience; for the ex-NYDC dancers to embody it and then to inhabit the dance work, its movement and its stillness, to realise it on stage in the here and now – and to share that with the audience.

While many, including myself, recall the making and first performance of Forest, the record of the details is not complete, partly as it did not come from a conventional rehearsal period followed by a performance. I was a member of LCDT during that time and took part in the making and the first performance of the work, but I am hesitant about relying on personal memory. I often say that I hope that I have a good sense of history, but I know that I have a poor sense of time, and so I will ask my LCDT colleagues from that time to assist in confirming the details of the making and first performance of Forest. Linda Gibbs who joins me in this revisiting, was also an original cast member, but I have also asked those who are now spread far and wide to assist and so we look forward to their contributions to this website.

The second work, The Road Awaits Us is being created for the Elixir Ensemble, a company of ex-professional dancers who first came together in Jonathan Burrows’ and Matteo Fargion’s The Elders Project presented as part of the inaugural Elixir Festival in 2014. The Road Awaits Us will be created over a three-week period in May and June although work has commenced in the shape of two exercises given to the dancers via a skype call in April. The dancers are now doing their ‘homework’ in preparation for the studio time and more will be posted in due course – for updates, please see the latest blog posts.

Christopher Bannerman, May 2017