Moving dance forward

14 March 2023

With a digital audience from over 12 countries across the world, and a sold-out live audience in the studio, our evening of dance on Thursday 2nd March, showed a thirst for dance and how Chameleon is moving dance forward in Greater Manchester.

The evening saw the UK premiere performance of two works choreographed by Anthony Missen.

Umbra performed by Company Chameleon and Announcing… performed by Emergence, the post-graduate dance company of Joss Arnott and the University of Salford. Showcasing the youth company’s talents, Chameleon Youth also performed two works. 

Our Artistic Director, Anthony, tells us more.

Why was the event important for Chameleon Anthony?
The evening of performance represented a big moment for us.

Not only was it a showcase of the different ways in which Chameleon work – with young people (Chameleon Youth), post-graduates (Emergence) and professionals (Company Chameleon) performing, it was our first-ever live broadcast!

People joined us to watch from countries including Italy, Germany, Denmark, USA, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Netherlands and Ireland, which was amazing.

We’ve been working hard to transform our main space into a studio theatre, fully equipped with a retractable seating bank and broadcast equipment. The evening was the first time we have performed for both a live audience and online digital audience.  A new way of producing an event, it involved figuring out broadcast software and platforms, and new roles and responsibilities for the team.

This opens the door to not only creating a space to present our work, where we can reach both live and online audiences, but also to building an infrastructure that supports the development of other artists here in Greater Manchester. We can now provide space, expertise and the required tech for the development and presentation of work by voices that might otherwise be under the radar.

It’s a great challenge finding appropriate and affordable dance and rehearsal space in most cities. The logistics, costs and time required to present work is unfeasible for many. This is perhaps why so many only reach a certain point in their career.

We want to do all we can to move dance forward and to raise the bar in Greater Manchester.  To be the conduit for hearing new or unheard voices and stories.

What did you enjoy most about it?
One of the things I felt most proud of was watching Chameleon Youth. It’s a joy to see young people express themselves, and the commitment and confidence they showed when performing, was really inspiring.

Beyond that, I was pleased to see discipline – no fidgeting or adjusting clothes in the wings, just stood ready, poised, and waiting for their next entrances.

These are great things to learn at this stage of development, for those young people, who will go on to become professional dancers.

It was a pleasure to see Emergence perform. There’s some incredible talent in the company – dancers of the future. I’m proud Chameleon is part of their journey.

And the Chameleon dancers? Just WOW! They are incredible, and anyone watching would see exactly that. To see such physical capability reflects just how hard they work. Even though I made Umbra, and know it inside out, they move me every time they perform.

What does the event tell us?
The event tells us that there is an audience and a hunger for dance, and that world class art is been made in the heart of communities where you might not expect it to be.

The event tells us that we have a great following of support, locally and internationally.

It tells us we are on the right track, and that with dedication, hard work and commitment, everything is achievable.

Watch the performance of our evening of dance online – press play below. 

Keep an eye on our website and on social for future news about live and online performances by Company Chameleon.

Photography: Joel Chester Fildes

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"10 was such a wonderful experience - I cant wait to see more of your incredible work!" "Effortless grace, strength, humour and athleticism - a visual treat!" "We brought 65 young people to your performance tonight - every single one loved it! What an amazing show!" "This show reminded me why I dance and what I’m constantly working towards! Thank you for this experience!" "Such beauty in the small moments of this show - please don't stop doing what you’re doing"

Thank you to everyone who comes to watch us perform and for all your wonderful comments and feedback!