Monday, 9 June 2014

Let the boss win at squash

Hello if you haven't heard R2M is awful busy spreading the gospel of #squishsquared as part of the Culture 2014 programme. We are currently delivering an excellent show, quality workshops and displaying some fine racketball/squash skills for schools at sports venues around Scotland. Yes, it's a cracking wee project even if I do say so myself. Squish Squared is touring until June 26th 2014 and you can find out more info here and keep up to date with tour happenings via our R2M Facebook.

In other news, R2M goes auf deutsch as Box Fresh appears at the International Dance Platform, Tanzmesse in Dusseldorf on the 28th August 2014. I am already practising my sales patter.

Following that we are back on the road with the R2M triple threat tour...Watch iT!, Squish and Box Fresh go out and about during Oct & Nov 2014. Taking no prisoners along the way, don't miss these heavy hitters...more info to follow.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

365 days and counting

Well's certainly been a while since I put fingers to keypad. Let's put it down to a host of new year resolutions. I have the feeling that time speeds up as you get is more vivid and visceral...some things get better and others get worse but it all happens too fast. Life is short I keep reminding myself, so why not try and cram it full of good happenings, relationships, love, family, friends, work hard but don't kill yourself, be a nicer person but don't take unnecessary s***, reflect, admit when you're wrong, realise what is valuable and try to look after it, care for yourself, care for others, don't be just an observer, adapt, grow, try to break those ridiculous behaviour patterns that leave you annoyed at yourself, treat yourself, treat others just for the hell of's not all clotted cream and dumplings, but it can be pretty good. So with that in mind R2M ventures out into 2014 armed with goodwill and good skill. There's a lot on the cards and we're looking forward to sharing it with you. All the best with your endeavours for 2014...and if the s*** hits the fan, then just call ironman....

Friday, 26 July 2013

Reviewing the situation... a nutshell R2M had a blast in Russia. St Petersburg was awesome and Moscow was mammoth. I have somehow managed to manoeuvre myself into a tasty position with a couple of organisations over there so hopefully i'll be back in the USSR next year...bigger and better. Check out what went down at the Open Look festival here.

R2M is back on terra firma in the U of K and was straight back into the thick of it with performances of Watch iT! for the Almeida Theatre Festival in London. It was superb to be performing once again in London town and to be back with a re-vamped and fully loaded show. Our 3 performances went quite smoothly and had some rather tasty reviews to tie it all of:

Now we are back in the burgh and soon it's off to the west side to present a new piece, Sprawl, in collaboration with All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre for the Merchant City Festival. Performances take place on King St in Glasgow at 1:30, 3 & 4:30pm...and it's free! Let's hope it doesn't rain.

We won't be spending too much time in the westside as we have to be back to deliver Squish at Dance Base from the 2nd - 17th Aug. Full details here and here. Make sure you come down and support.

time for some shut eye...not!

Sunday, 30 June 2013

It's all about the timing...

Timing is so important. Not just in the world of dance, but in pretty much everything we do....finding a rhythm, missed opportunities, striking while the proverbial iron is hot and just being out of sync can be a small matter with a large impact. Recently I always feel pressed for time. I always try to make sure I have enough time. I don't like to be running out of time. But I don't think my timing was good for my short trip to Rio. I almost didn't make it infact...and not because of bad time keeping. I got to the airport, checked in, through security, check my flight and my gate and it's all good. I get around to boarding...quick double check...yes right flight number and gate. Cool. I get past the gate and onto the bus (a few people get back off the bus at this point but I don't pay any attention as i'm on the right flight afterall). The bus takes us to the plane, I get on the plane, get my window seat, get comfy. Happy days. Now by this point my portuguese is pretty rubbish but I can pick out a few words while the airhostess is doing her thing. I manage to deduce that this plane is going to Belo wait....that's not Rio. I have a look on the map. yes indeed BH is not Rio. Perhaps they are going via Rio I thought. I better check. The hostess confirms my fear and at this point the plane is beginning to back out onto the runway. FML. So I cause a fuss and manage to get them to bring me back. It turns out I was not the only person shepherded on the wrong plane. A hop skip and a jump and we're finally on the right plane.

I don't know if anybody reading this has been to Rio, but if they have then they will agree with what i'm about to say next. Rio is beautiful. Unreal city. What a location. It's a clear sunny day (well received after the continual wet and greyness of SP) and the city looks in fine form. The nature surrounding the place looks incredible. After a rather dicy (imo) low flying episode to get us on land I taxi it over to the apartment where i'll be staying to the next 2.5 days. I just can't really do hostels anymore. Used to love them but now I just actually want my own space so I can walk around in the buff whenever I feel...actually some folk do that in hostels. Anyway I scored a tidy wee apartment right on the front of Copacabana beach. I was sure that the owner could speak english due to our previous exchanges. But it turns out she was infact just a handy user of google translate. Nevertheless we got all the details sorted and I kicked off my shoes and had a wee rest in the indoor hammock while listening to the sound of the neighboring beach action. 

Whenever I go somewhere new I usually try to link up with some locals and get a few details from friends of friends. I think I probably bit off more than I could chew for the time I was there. that coupled with some lax Brazilian time keeping  meant a lot of missed opportunities ensued. I was a bit knackered but felt it would be nice to link up with some bboys around here. I got in touch with one guy called Lucio (thanks Ella). We had arranged to meet out on the shore front opp my apartment. Some miscommunication and bad time keeping meant we actually met about 3hrs later. By that time there was no danger I was gonna do any training but I figured I could at least check out the spot. So start to walk away from the beach area and into town. We begin climbing a hill. He had suggested hiring some mopeds but since many of my encounters with motorised vehicles end up in accidents and since I ain't got much clue about how to ride a bike...I felt it was best just to use the tools god gave us in this situation. So we start walking up this hill. And we're chatting away about breaking and what he does and what I do blah blah...all good. As we're walking, i'm looking around and i'm starting to get the sense that we're heading into the Favelas. Now I hadn't really intended to go there. It wasn't really on my to do list and certainly not at around midnight. But we were going there. I don't mind admitting feeling a little bit anxious about that. I figured I could pass for a Brazilian but as all the street sellers who wouldn't leave me alone demonstrated, I was not passing as a Brazilian. But Lucio seemed to be the man about town, saying hello to everyone as we climbed further. It turns out he works for an NGO that promotes cultural activities in these areas. The same group our compadres Bad Taste Cru worked for (who did actually get robbed once while there). But I gotta say...the Favelas is definitely where the action is. It's pretty lively up there. We hit the spot and first of all we're greeted by young feisty kids thrashing about a football with some Brazilian swagger and all barefoot. Inside, there's a handful of bboys getting down. It's all concrete but not a bad space at all. We go out onto the balcony and the view is amazing. And this was another case of bad timing. The air was so clear that night, you could see the full moon (which had a slight orange tint to it) sitting effortlessly on the edge of the horizon...with it's reflection shimmering in the calm seas. And all the lights of the favela's illuminating the hillsides of Rio. It was a sight...but I had forgotten to charge my camera. So when I went to take a picture...nada! So that's just one for the memory banks. Lucio put me in the hands of a capable young lad to take me back down the road. We managed to pass the time with a menagerie of portuguese, french and english. All the while i'm just trying to look like i'm one of the boys you know what i'm saying.

The next day I met up with a friend who I had met on my Blaze Russian adventure, Natalia. A reporter who is now pole dancing and writing her way around South America. We managed to get some tanning and beach time before she had to head off and pack for Chile and I wanted to go and see old Christ the Redeemer. I did waste a lot of time that morning searching for a coffee on the beach. You can get pretty much anything on the beaches in Rio...but not a coffee? I don't understand. After very poor coffee in SP I was pleasantly surprised at the perky wee espresso com leite I ordered at the restaurant just outside the apartment. Solid taste, good depth and texture with some rich flavour. I liked. So once i'd satisfied my coffee addiction and said goodbye to Natalia, I was all sorted for seeing Christo. I could do it in a few hours then be back in time to meet with another friend of a friend who was going to take me along to see some capoeira. I was running low on funds due to the rather high cost of doing your laundry at the Golden Tower Hotel in SP (first person to comment with a suitable pun gets a free t-shirt). So I went to a bank to stock up, but my card was not being accepted. I tried several banks. All turned me down. I did actually need cash or else I would have been struggling to get to the airport the following day. So after an long process of skype calls back home and several visits to the same bank the problem finally got sorted. But I had lost too much time and it would have been too tight to head out to see Cristo and get back in time for some capoeira. So I thought I would do Cristo first thing in the morning. So the time came around when I was supposed to meet this capoeira dude. But facebook no text. So I text him. He had forgotten about out appointment....who could forget about meeting Tony Thrills you know...????? beggars belief. So he suggested making my own way there and would send me the address. The address never came but if it had been too far away I probably would have given it the slip anyway as I didn't fancy trying to negotiate my way around late night Rio. I had another invitation to meet with someone else but by that time I was simply too tired and thought I would save my energy for Cristo.

BAM!!!!! RATATATATAT!!! BOOM!!!! ....these are the sounds that woke me up in the middle of the night. Now i'm no expert on guns (i'm pretty good with a .22 air rifle though) but these sounded like gun shots to me. A mixture of automatic fire and single shot. The flashes and the noises that went with indicated they were fairly close as well and probably not out of place in this town. This went on for a fair bit of time also. There were no police sirens to follow so perhaps I was wrong or perhaps it was some young bucks shooting ammo up in the air. That late night mystery remains unsolved. The next thing that woke me up was my alarm. Time to get myself over to see the redeemer. I have a look out the window and it's not looking good weather wise. The previous 2 days were clear and sunny. Today was humid and misty. I may well not get the stunning views i've read and heard about but this was my only chance to off I went. While researching it, getting there seemed to be a bit of a headache but actually it was pretty simple. The drive up was almost as impressive as standing on the top. Some people have some lush houses on the hills. As suspected the view was nullified by the weather. My penultimate case of bad timing in Rio. Still it's an impressive monument and well worth going to if you get the chance.

I managed to squeeze in a final dip n the sea before packing my bags and catching a bus to Rio's International airport...which fyi is frigging miles away! So due to not being as flush as I would have liked taking the bus seemed to be the cheapest option. I had heard and read that it takes about 1 hr from the beach areas. Ok then. I gave myself 2 hrs. I don't like to be late if I can help it. I can only be thankful that I was not traveling at  peak times because the whole journey took about 1hr 45. I just about made it before check in closed. It could have been the final nail in the timing coffin. My problem in this type of situation is that I try to pack too much as many people...check out as many things.  Nah. I should opt for the more just-let-it-happen approach I think. I guess that just means i'll have to have another crack at Rio.

The wandering continues and I have touched down in St Petersburg for a week of performances and teaching for Open Look Festival. It's kicked off with me having to sleep in a sofa bed for the week so let's hope things go on the up from here.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

3 for 3

So we are done! Our South American adventure has come to a close. Well almost...i'm using the opportunity to head to Rio and see what all the fuss is about. Only for a couple of days, as i've got an appointment with Open Look Festival in St Petersburg starting on the 1st July. It's a been a pretty wham bam type of affair in Sao Paulo. Often when a project like this comes to a close, when there's been so much build up and work to make it all happen and then it's over, you can be left with the question of who really benefits for all this effort? Or at least i am. I have a constant dialogue with myself on this subject. But i think one ought to question what you're doing...keep yourself on the right track...or at least the right track for you. But if i had to look at the outcomes i would say it has been an excellent learning experience for R2M to organise, mount and deliver the show in such far off foreign lands. The show has been super well received...3 for 3 on the standing ovations. And although that's great, what actually tickles my fancy is the fact that you can make a piece of work in a completely different country with a different cultural and social background. Then present this piece somewhere else and it's accepted. They get it. Whether it's everyone's cup of tea or not is fine, but people can relate to the show and get some enjoyment from it. That is a success for me...and for R2M. And we have built relationships. With audiences, with fellow artists, those in training and our theatre colleagues. The Cultura Inglesa team did an excellent job in bringing the work to Brazil and supporting us while we were here. It is these professional relationships, based on a mutual desire to see work happen, that can be so enriching as well as the surprise outcomes that result from such activity. And, in my opinion, establishing such relationships are fundamental in the dissemination of art and culture. Because whether you question what you're doing or not, or if sometimes you can't see the end point....what matters is to do it, to put something out there in the first place. Because if you're looking for answers, then there first has to be a question. Anyhow, enough semi-philosophical musings. I'm about to depart to Rio. Apparently it's's still Rio :)

Setting up at Teatro Celia Helena

No room for vertigo in this job

Video and set team

Chief of LX at Teatro Celia Helena

Rolling out the red carpet

Now i would have left a video of Rio by Duran Duran here for you to watch, because that ties in nicely doesn't it! But, unfortunately, the wifi network i'm using won't allow access to video sites. So just imagine.....Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand....(you know the rest)...

Monday, 24 June 2013

Someday Sunday

Our first and only day off for the tour was yesterday...Sunday. We were invited to come and check out the music concert as part of the Cultura Inglesa festival. After successfully negotiating the underground by ourselves we arrived at the venue. Some young Scottish lads going by the name of the The Dark Jokes were playing when we arrived. I got to find out that they were from the burgh in fact. The weather wasn't so hot but the hospitality was pretty good...and that's all i'll say about that! I've kept this one short so you can spend a bit more time watching the videos below...if you like Kate Nash and The Magic Numbers (apologies for my dodgy camera work).

R2M team getting comfy.

I guess no one in SP has heard about the helium shortage.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Revenge of the Ants

Well i didn't manage to get a post up after the first show so here it is after the 2nd show. Day 1 was hectic. I ran the show 4 times in the end. Looooong day...but totally worth it at the end to get our first proper (no best mates included) standing ovation. Everybody worked super hard and the team that Cultura Inglesa supplied was great. There are always a few kinks to iron out. Even more so when you try to mount your show in a different country. But everyone wants to get the show up and looking it's best and that was the vibe all day. Still the control freak in me won't totally let go so i have to remove myself from time to time to get out of people's hair. To ease the stresses of the day Cultura Inglesa put on a nice spread for the dressing room rider...

All bases covered...fruit, sugar and coffee.
Where the magic happens at Teatro Cultura Inglesa-Pinheiros.

We started to day with a 3 hr workshop for some local SP dance enthusiasts. A mixed group but all very much up for it. At first 3hrs seemed pretty long but in the end turned out to be too short. Such is life. I was able to get 40 winks before show 2. The show began very well...until it got to the point where i turned on the flatscreen tv. I was greeted by the words "sem sinal" as in no signal = fml! This is the problem with technology in shows. When it works well it's incredible...when it doesn't you're completely f£$%ed! I did a litte bit of fiddling about and somehow the picture finally came on....but the show had been knock off balance a little from that point. Following this i managed to tie myself up in the TV cable during the ensuing pas de deux. Then there were some sync issues with my TV dialogue. Ah well you can't win them all. But i put this wayward show down to karma. Yesterday some ants got the notion to attack my rider..and i put a stop to that pretty quickly. It was borderline ant genocide. So i name tonight's show the Revenge of the Ants. I'll be watching my step from now on and keeping the wrapper on my food. All that being said SP repped with another standing ovation. Muito obrigado!

Manuela and Gabriel doing a little last minute set design. I miss the old chair!

Our "angel" Vitor and his squeeze
So we have a day off tomorrow and will be checking out one of the free concerts as part of the festival. BUt not before doing some serious number crunching with Ed the producer....trabalho, trabalho, trabalho!