In this second series of Theatre Thursdays, we’re celebrating the very best of dance in Greater Manchester, by shining a light on some of the amazing dance artists that live here and the wonderful work they’re producing.
This week, we showcase independent artist, Daniel Lukehurst, whose early experience in a breakdance crew paved the way for his development as a dancer.
Dan’s production tharE is available to watch on our YouTube channel for the next week. Here in a Q&A, we find out more Dan, his choreographic approach and why the Greater Manchester dance community matters to him.
Q1. Dan, great to have you as part of Theatre Thursdays. Tell our readers more about you!
Hi, my name is Daniel Lukehurst, I’m originally from the West Midlands and I’m a Choreographer, Composer, Dancer and Sound & Lighting Designer.
Q2. What about your dance background?
I originally trained in aerial trapeze and acrobatics and a friend who I trained with invited me to start a breakdance crew with him and from there I was hooked. I first performed professionally at the age of 18 as the apprentice for Autin Dance Theatre. Since then I have performed and worked with choreographers including Catarina Carvalho (Studio Wayne McGregor), Anthony Missen & Kevin Edward Turner (Company Chameleon), TheMiddletonCorpus, Suzie Davies & Mattias Ekholm (DEED), DeLeon Company, Tamsin Fitzgerald (2Faced Dance) and Anton Lachky.
As a composer, I have made music for dance, theatre, film and various installations for people in the UK and Europe. I assisted Vincenzo Lamagna during the creation of the music for Akram Khan’s XENOS. As an independent music composer, I have released three albums under the names of One Thousand Paper Cranes and Daniel Lukehurst. My music has also been commissioned and used for various films and performances around Europe.
Q.3. Tell us about your production that is featured in the Theatre Thursdays’ series.
It’s called tharE and its about the way we treat the planet and each other. It looks at how the general sense of guilt that most people seem to feel about climate change and not doing enough to save the planet whilst its tearing itself apart due to the strain we are putting it under. The piece is explored from the perspective that we’re closer to the end than we realise and we need to start acting immediately.
Q.4. What is your choreographic process?
I started by making a rough outline of how I wanted the piece to go before whittling it down to a clearer structure. Since I work as both the choreographer and composer for the piece, I then started making some music ideas that I could share with the dancers to support the movement creation. Some of the music became very clear to me before rehearsals started and others parts weren’t finished until the second last day of creation. From the music we were able to get a sense of direction of how certain sections would look and feel.
For the creation of the movement, I showed the dancers visual stimuli in various forms – movements, time lapses, images and videos – and we talked through each other’s ideas and interpretations. The generation of the movement then followed. After that it was a matter of putting it all together like a jigsaw puzzle, aligning the choreography with the music to best fit ‘the story’.
Q.5. Why does a dance community in Greater Manchester matter to you?
Everyone is so lovely and open to new artists. It feels really nice to be part of a community that values new people and new ideas into the dance industry without people being over protective of their place within it. It feels like an environment where everyone is building each other up for the love of the craft, because they know how hard it is to make a living off doing dance.
Q.6 Where can people find out more about you and keep up-to-date with your work?
You can follow Daniel Lukehurst’s Various Creations on Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow my artist pages on Spotify and Bandcamp if they want to check out my music.
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Thank you to Dan for being part of Theatre Thursdays. Head over to our YouTube Channel to watch his production tharE – watch here.
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Thank you to everyone who comes to watch us perform and for all your wonderful comments and feedback!