A new work is in the making which are always exciting times. ‘The Room’ will be Didy’s new work for Humanoove. With a two-week research and development period at DanceEast in Ipswich in May 2019, a residency at Jacob’s Pillow, USA in November 2019 and a residency and premiere at DanceEast in January 2020, she has gathered support for a new creation. A new ACE application will be submitted, 4 dancers have already been selected and she is currently looking for one more dancer to join her team. Sabio Janiak, multi-instrumentalist from Poland will compose the music for the work and Joana Dias who also created the set and costumes for ‘The Knot’ will create a new design. Ben Ormerod, a long term collaborator, will be the light designer for her new creation.
Known for a sharp-eyed approach and some humorous touches, The Knot is Veldman’s second work for her company Umanoove since it launched with her critically acclaimed The Happiness Project in 2016. Veldman scrutinises what a wedding means and how it feels in The Knot, the role of ritual, doubt, religion and gender is examined and the romanticised ideas of Walt Disney challenges our perceptions of marriage.
Stravinsky's masterpiece Les Noces (The Wedding) is intertwined with specially commissioned music by London and Paris-based British composer Ben Foskett. His work has included commissions for CBSO Youth Orchestra and London Children's Ballet.
Lighting design is by Ben Ormerod, a regular collaborator of Veldman’s, and set and costume design is by Joana Dias.
‘Didy Veldman is a dance-maker of note, and a story-teller of skill. Her latest work, The Knot, performed by her company Umanoove at The Place, allows her audience to revel in 60 minutes of intentional theatre – a rarity in modern dance of late. The work questions marriage; what it means, how it looks and how it feels through a heady mix of dance, gesture, word and music.’
Culture Whisper by Matthew Paluch.
Photography Chris Nash
'Happiness is like oxygen, untouchable but essential'
Internationally renowned dance artist and DanceEast Choreographic Development Award recipient, Didy Veldman, launches her own company Umanoove with The Happiness Project, a choreographic investigation of western society’s endless search for fulfilment.
This supremely physical and theatrical full length work for four dancers is made in collaboration with designer Kimie Nakano and celebrated composer and violinist, Alexander Balanescu, who will be performing live through out the performances.
'I have been curious for many years why we chase after happiness like it is some sort of object we can buy, hold onto or even re-create. I wanted to develop a choreographic work for an intimate space, with very experienced dancers. The Happiness Project gives me the opportunity to delve into this subject matter, physicalise and question if happiness can exist without unhappiness and discuss with my creative team how each individual deals with seeking happiness. I see this process as a journey which I started 5 years ago and it will end with 'The Happiness Project'.
THE HAPPINESS PROJECT
'Who wouldn’t be happy to see choreography that’s beautifully crafted, has something to say about humankind and is performed with exquisite finesse to live music by composer/violinist Alexander Balanescu'
Mary Brennan Scotland Herald
“You don’t want it to end, you want to hold on to it, put it in a box labelled “mine – hands off!”
Glasgow Herald *****
“The Happiness Project is terrifically enjoyable and, marking the long-awaited launch of Veldman’s own company, it promises even better things to come.” The Guardian ****
“Veldman sure knows how to pick all the right ingredients for a dance show. Balanescu and the 4 dancers - world-class contemporary movers and terrific dramatic communicators - do a stunning job individually and collectively” Dance Tabs
“Fuelled by live and recorded music – a truly fine cast includes the composer Alexander Balanescu, a violinist with a fascinating onstage presence – the dancers’ skilful, shared sense of exploration keeps things fresh and engaging.” The Times
“So often, happiness comes from the uncomplicated things in life ... One might add spending an hour in the company of four fabulous dancers exploring some thoughtful ideas in a piece that more than holds the interest throughout.” Seeing Dance