September 2017 marks the start of Company Chameleon’s 10th anniversary year. For ten whole years, we’ve been creating dance theatre productions in our home city of Manchester, which have gone onto tour across the UK and the world.
In ten years, we’ve presented 370 performances, delivered 650 workshops, taught dance to 12,500 people and performed in front of a total audience of 75,000!
Co-Artistic Director, Kevin Edward Turner, said: “Anthony and I are very proud of what we’ve achieved in the last ten years. As one of the few touring dance companies to be based in Manchester, we very much hope that our work has enriched the dance ecology of the city, and raised aspirations for dance locally and in the wider North West.”
Fellow Co-Director, Anthony Missen, adds: “Over the last decade, we’ve introduced lots of artists to Manchester – dancers, composers, lighting, costume and set designers – and employed many people in the creation of our 14 productions. We’ve grown from a team of two to a core team of seven, plus, an extended creative team. Working in dance can be difficult and limited, and as we celebrate this milestone, we feel proud to have created jobs for people in the sector.”
In terms of highpoints from the last ten years, Kevin and Anthony agree that one of the most exciting elements has been seeing Company Chameleon’s international reputation grow.
The company’s premiere performance outside the UK took place in 2010, when they performed Rites in Santander, Spain. An instant hit with international audiences, Company Chameleon’s powerful and original dance style quickly took off.
Today, Company Chameleon regularly perform abroad and have proudly put UK dance on the map through exporting work to Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, South Africa, France, Italy, Romania, South Korea and Trinidad and Tobago.
Dance Management Agent, Sarah Trist, leads on Chameleon’s tour bookings and said: “The reason why Company Chameleon has been so successful in reaching audiences abroad lies in the authenticity of their creative approach and the athleticism and eloquence of their performers, and this is why their work speaks to people from all over the world.”
From the outset, learning and participation has been an integral part of what Company Chameleon does. Classes, residencies and workshops are delivered in tandem with the touring programme, and as result, Chameleon has introduced thousands of people from across the world to a different side of dance and movement.
There is one education project however that particularly stands out for both Anthony and Kevin from the last ten years. Working on the Art Connect project in Trinidad, saw Chameleon take dance to young people who were surrounded by violence and gun crime on a serious level. It was on this project that Anthony and Kevin witnessed the truly transformative power of dance on a scale that they had never seen before.
Anthony said: “It was incredible to be part of something that demonstrated so clearly the transformative power that dance can have. The impact of what we shared with those young people is something I will never forget, it was deeply moving, and had a profound effect on me. This experience undoubtedly fuelled our fire and vision for making a positive difference through dance and movement.”
Kevin added: “The project was truly inspirational and re-confirmed our belief and faith in creating opportunities for others. We do this through our youth dance company, Chameleon Youth, and is one of the reasons we’re committed to taking dance into different settings. This year we’ve delivered a workshop in a secure mental health unit in hospital which is hugely rewarding and demonstrates how dance can be used as a tool for positive change.”
In terms of personal highlights, one of Kevin’s highest moments followed the Plymouth premiere of Witness, our dance piece which explores mental health issues.
Kevin explains: “I made Witness after a period of illness, which had seen me question whether I would ever dance, direct or work in dance again. After the premiere, I suddenly realised how far I’d come and how much I’d achieved. It was a very emotional moment, which was personal to me. I felt proud in that moment of what I and the Chameleon team had created; he support the company had given me to get there; and how the work had succeeding in speaking to many different people. That was a year ago, and it’s amazing to think that since then, Witness has toured across the UK and achieved our biggest audience figures to date.”
For Anthony, choreographically, he is most proud of Beauty Of The Beast, which explores male group dynamics and different faces of masculinity. Anthony said: “I feel it pushed the boundaries of what we do by its inclusion of so many styles and ways to represent ideas. I feel proud of how audiences connected with the piece, and that it is our most extensively toured production to date. Also, the fact that three generation of dancers – with 20 years difference between the youngest and oldest – were involved in the creation and first tour.”
Andrew Hurst, Chair of Company Chameleon and Chief Executive of One Dance UK, said: “It is a real privilege to be Chairman of Company Chameleon, and I am immensely proud of what Anthony and Kevin have achieved over the first ten years. Together they have inspired a whole new generation of future dancers and continue to make work that both connects with audiences and tackles issues in innovative ways. For me personally, I particularly enjoy how their work speaks to me and moves me and others watching it, and I look forward to seeing what they can achieve over the next ten years with great excitement.“
Anthony, Kevin and all the team at Company Chameleon would like to say a very special thank you to everyone who has supported the Company over the last ten years.
Join the party: be part of our 10th year celebrations
As part of our 10th year celebrations, Company Chameleon is creating a new anniversary production featuring new and current choreography. The piece will premiere and tour in Spring 2017. More announcements soon: we hope you can join us.
Looking back…we’re collecting memories: be part of our memory box! Do you have a favourite Chameleon moment from the last 10 years? We’d love to hear about it. Tell us more by sharing on our Facebook, twitter or Instagram. #10yearsChameleon