Archive for May, 2013

ACE dance and music – the spirit of collaboration

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2013 by The Lift Creative Services

Collaboration is and always has been at the heart of ACE dance and music. ACE’s Artistic Director Gail Parmel has initiated countless partnerships and intercultural experiences. Over the years she has joined forces with world renowned choreographers, such Akiko Kitamura (Japan), Robert Moses (San Francisco), Vincent Mansoe (South Africa), Andile Sotiya (U.K.), Douglas Thorpe (U.K.), Jose Agudo (Spain) and Barwen Tavaziva (Zimbabwe).

Her ventures continue to challenge promoters and audiences to think differently about what they can expect from contemporary dance. This drives much of the exploration that can be seen in ACE’s work, with the unique combination of captivating and energetic contemporary movement with African \ Caribbean dance, rousing music scores and media techniques. Read more about Gail here

For ACE’s next touring production Mana, Gail Parmel will lead a unique international collaboration with two world-acclaimed Artists who will draw from their rich cultural heritage and diverse dance styles to create two exquisite thirty minute pieces… a night of full-on dance to make you think and feel. Read more about Mana here

“We chose to work with Jose Agudo because of his interest in the Buddhist culture, his flamenco background and how is work comes from a real place. He likes to tell stories through his work and his work is earthy, spiritual and he has seamlessly combined contemporary dance with, flamenco and yoga techniques. He also uses original music and creates music with his movement. The dance and musicwork together and are as significant as each other.” Gail Parmel (Artistic Director, ACE dance and music )

As part of a long-standing collaboration Vincent Mantseo worked with ACE dance and music back in 2007 creating the beautiful ‘Letlalo’ as part of the Skin double bill.

“Letlalo has a warm, vibrant resonance to it, full of emotion and expression, and the dancers really look as if it is part of them, not just executing the steps. It is energetic and magical.” The Stage

This collaborative spirit helps ACE achieve their vision, making work that excites, pushes boundaries and is truly diverse, drawing from many backgrounds and cultures – while also celebrating what is shared between two Artists, a joint spark or vision that then moves within the dancers…

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Meet Gail Parmel

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2013 by The Lift Creative Services

Gail Parmel is the Artistic Director of ACE dance and music and as one of Britain’s hidden female choreographers we thought we would showcase her achievements in this blog. Gail was born in Leeds in 1970 and is very proud of her Yorkshire roots, she graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 1996. After working for Kokuma Dance Company, Gail founded ACE dance and music with husband Ian Parmel in 1997. The company have toured throughout the U.K. and internationally at the Grahamstown Festival in South Africa, in Lyon, France and in Milan, Italy.

Collaboration is and always has been at the heart of Gail’s ambition for her creativity – initiating partnerships and intercultural experiences. Over the years she has joined forces with world renowned choreographers, such Akiko Kitamura (Japan), Robert Moses (San Francisco), Vincent Mansoe (South Africa), Andile Sotiya (U.K.), Douglas Thorpe (U.K.), Jose Agudo (Spain) and Barwen Tavaziva (Zimbabwe). Read more about collaborations here…

A true internationalist, Gail is keeping African and Caribbean dance forms alive by immersing herself in practical research and using this research to make creative work that has contemporary relevance in Europe, as well as passing on and maintaining the techniques and quality standards amongst professional and non-professional dancers and dance makers in England. Her ventures continue to challenge promoters and audiences to think differently about what they can expect from contemporary dance. This drives much of the exploration that can be seen in ACE’s work, with the unique combination of captivating and energetic contemporary movement with African \ Caribbean dance, rousing music scores and media techniques.

Gail, a resilient champion of youth dance formed ACE Youth in 1998 and ACE Graduates in 2012.  Award winning ACE Youth is now one of the UK’s most high profile youth company’s.  ACE Youth is testament to Gail’s commitment to inspiring young people and helping them to reach their potential. They regularly perform locally, nationally and increasingly internationally and promote young people as artists and leaders in their own right. Eight members of ACE Youth are currently studying with or have already graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Five ACE Youth members have gained a place at The Birmingham Academy of Dance.  Read more about what ACE Youth have been up to here. ACE are at the forefront of excellence in European Youth Dance, and alongside Virevolte Company are part of a fledgling European Youth Dance Network: Dance=Désir.

Working holistically, Gail has taken into account every entry point for dancers and the public to engage with African, Caribbean and contemporary dance – professional touring productions, youth dance work, dance in education settings and the professional development of the next generation of black British dancers.  Her cultural leadership, underpinned by a passion for youth dance, is contributing to a growing sense of community cohesion and pride in artistic endeavour. Her work is repositioning what it means to experience African People’s Dance as a professional dancer, audience member or young person. Gail has demonstrated positive pathways for people who do not normally participate or relate to the arts and dance.

In 2010 Gail was selected for the UK’s top 50 Women to Watch List, organised by the Government funded Cultural Leadership Programme. highlighting talent from a variety of backgrounds – from independent consultants to business directors and those working within some of our leading organisations – and aims to inspire future generations to be equally dynamic and ambitious.

Here’s what Clore said about Gail: “Gail’s work impacts on the people around her. For the last ten years, she has made a significant contribution to Africa people’s dance nationally and on Birmingham’s communities, particularly amongst members of the black working class.”

In 2011 she was voted as one of 20 Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora in Europe in celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE), has asked members of the public to nominate women of African origin in Europe who they find inspirational. This list reflects the diversity of Diaspora women and shows how well they have infiltrated all sectors of industry: they are engineers, scientists, inventors, bankers, doctors, artists, media personalities, writers, speakers, bankers, politicians and entrepreneurs.

Gail commented: I feel truly honoured to have been selected as one of 20 women to receive the first ever ADPWIE award. Being recognised as an inspirational woman, not only by my peers, but by members of the public is humbling and gives me a wonderful sense of achievement. ‘Paving a way for the next generation is paramount to my existence and I am proud of the fact that my work and my company touch the lives of real people.’

ACE dance and music is now in the process of creating a 9th production for UK touring ‘Mana’ and in 2014 will be creating ‘7 pillars’ to tour in the UK and South Africa. Including an international exchange programme for ACE Youth with Flatfoot youth dance company in South Africa. In addition to Directing two full-length touring productions between now and 2014, Gail will also be overseeing the re-development of ACE’s home in Birmingham. She will have her work cut out for her that’s for sure, but the team here at ACE dance and music have no doubt that she will acheive her goals!

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Teaser

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2013 by The Lift Creative Services

 

ACE Graduates news

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2013 by The Lift Creative Services

ACE Graduate Company is a training and development ground for young, talented dancers, who have finished their studies, but may not be in continual dance employment. Graduate members have regular performance showcase opportunities locally, nationally and occasionally internationally. The group is self-run but is trained under the artistic eye of Gail Parmel.

ACE Graduates are always looking for passionate and adaptable  dancers to join the group. Please email education@acedanceandmusic.com for more information.

Untold

Untold – back in the picture // ACE graduates are visiting Amsterdam on 7th July to take part in an exchange with Untold then from 29th July Untold will visit the UK working at mac delivering workshops.  ACE and Untold go back a long way and have collaborated previously via exchanges and performances, read more about a previous exchange here.

Performance @ Birmingham Carnival // ACE’s graduate company will take part in an exchange with a percussion group called Eternity.  Based in Amsterdam, many of Eternity’s young group members come from a Surinamese background. They will create a new piece combining live drumming and dance to be performed in Holland and as part of Birmingham Carnival on 4th August.

Flux // ACE Graduates have been working with former ACE Youth member Rudi Cole,to create a new piece of work  ‘Flux’. Rudi has performed and toured internationally with Company Thor’s ‘To The Ones I Love’ (Brussels) and Akram Khan Company’s ‘Vertical Road’. Rudi also had the opportunity to perform in the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

Flux  info // ‘the rate of flow of a fluid, radiant energy, or particles across a given area.’ Generated by diverse and complex rhythms; the dancers explore the utility of a feeding in and out of a steady heartbeat style rhythm, overlapping and feeing into one another. Flux has been performed at ADAD open stage (Swindon Dance), Testing Ground (Circomedia) and most recently at MAC Birmingham.

 

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ACE Youth, why do they come back every week? Hear in their words…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 10, 2013 by The Lift Creative Services

“I go ACE to learn new techniques, to improve and progress as a dancer and to perform with an awe inspiring group of dancers. The environment here in ACE is so powerfully driven with their passion for dance and there is an audible thirst for more within the classes, everyone is so kind and fun to dance with and everyone is just as determined to improve as individuals as they are as a group. I absolutely adore the classes, the experiences and the people I have met; I feel challenged with each class and performing with ACE as part of the Youth New Recruits for the first time was an unprecedented experience for me; I hope I can experience many more of these events in the near future! ACE is amazing.” Zoe Larsson 17

“I go to ACE Youth because I want to dance and everyone is so friendly and helpful. ACE Youth is great because they never give up on me and help me to do the best I can. The thing I enjoy most is taking a bow at the end of a performance; it makes me feel happy and proud to be a dancer.” James Campbell 12

“ACE is like my second home, it is the only place where I actually feel comfortable with myself. We’re like a family, although we dance together and perform together, we also are able to confide with each other and open up which I think is amazing. I learn so much at ACE whether it’s the intellectual side or practical. I love coming to ACE and I don’t think I would have it any other way.” Ines Kanyinda 17

I go to ACE dance and music because I really enjoy the style of dance they do, I look forward to going every week and learning new routines. I also go because our teachers believe in us and push us to do our best in everything we do.” Kaylah Edwards 14

“I love coming to ACE because is like a next family that I never had, everyone welcomes you with warm arms, however the reason why I come back every week is because it’s challenging and if it was easy it would be boring and not as exciting or interesting as it is. Dance pushes me, even if I do get the move or I don’t but it’s all about trying hard. Coming to ACE has taught me that you can succeed in anything also along as you push yourself trying.” Tinaya Davis-Walker 16

ACE Youth update spring 2013

Posted in ACE Youth, Uncategorized on May 8, 2013 by The Lift Creative Services

dsc_7537Sell out at mac // ACE Youth and our visitors Virevolte performed ‘Qui Sommes-Nous?/Who Are We?’ at mac on Sat 6th April and the show sold out! This performance was a culmination of a week of collaboration between young dancers from Birmingham’s ACE Youth and Geneva’s CompagnieVirevolte, who worked together at mac, exchanging dance ideas, and exploring social issues around the diverse cultural identities that both cities have developed. We visited Geneva back in October half term 2012.  This visit was made possible by Birmingham City Council’s Great International City programme. Check out pictures taken at the dress rehearsal.

ACE Youth pathways // We are delighted to announce that longstanding ACE youth dancer Jamaal Burkmar was chosen to present a new piece as part of Verve, the Northern School Of Contemporary Dance’s graduate performance group.  Five ACE youth members have also been succesful in gaining a place at The Birmingham Academy of Dance.  It’s heartening that the ACE Youth experience has served these talented young people so well.

South African Exchange // In 2014 we are planning an international exchange programme for ACE Youth and other young dancers with Durban based Flatfoot youth dance company in South Africa.  What an amazing opportunity for all! ACE dance and music’s professional company will hopefully tour in South Africa in 2014 and this youth exchange will form part of the programme. Read about our South African developments here.

dsc_6826And if you didn’t already know… Formed in 1998 ACE Youth are a group of talented young people from in and around the Birmingham area, all between 11 and 21 years old. Trained under the artistic eye of Gail Parmel, our vision for ACE Youth is to promote confidence and understanding in young artists and communities through the appreciation of African and Caribbean culture, dance and music. We encourage ACE Youth members to go off and study further. We offer members support and advice on running a dance company from administrative skills to marketing, web design, set design, technical skills, education and being a touring dancer or education deliverer. We open our doors to those that have recently graduated for apprentice positions. Eight members of ACE Youth are currently studying with or have already graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Amayra Fuller of ACE Youth graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and is now a dance practitioner with ACE dance and music and 23 year old Iona Waite is currently the group’s leader in charge of pastoral care and organising the group’s rehearsal schedule alongside the Directors, evidence of the company’s commitment to inspiring young people and helping them to reach their potential. ACE Youth regularly perform locally, nationally and increasingly internationally and promote young people as artists and leaders in their own right. They are at the forefront of excellence in European Youth Dance, and alongside Virevolte Company are part of a fledgling European Youth Dance Network: Dance=Désir.

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Afrobeats – a great success!

Posted in Classes, Uncategorized on May 8, 2013 by The Lift Creative Services

The Afrobeats project has been a fantastic experience. We worked with 15 seniors from the Annie Woods friends group working with traditional African and Caribbean dance, drumming and singing. We used a traditional dance entitled ‘Quadrille’ as our basis to formulate our sharing using partner work, group dances and also solos. The highlight of the project was learning new information about our heritage and how it is relevant to today, this will be useful for further practice with our young people here at ACE. The end sharing at Newtown Community Centre on 7th May was ‘AMAZING’ the seniors were full of life they worked well as team. It was great to see the seniors’ family and friends come out and support them. The seniors were really proud of what they had achieved in such a small amount of time and are very keen to continue a relationship with ACE dance and music.

‘Ace has put some life back into the Annie Woods group and it’s been great having young people working with us’ Christine Wilkes

This project was supported by Birmingham City Council.

Afrobeats project group