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Newbury dancer's emotional return to live performance

NEWBURY dancer Mason Pretorius is super excited to be returning to his hometown on Thursday for his first performance to live audiences since Covid began.

Mason will be performing at Arlington Arts with the elite touring company mapdance, an established group of dynamic young dancers recruited nationally and internationally – all studying at the University of Chichester, where Mason is now finishing his postgraduate degree.

He said his Newbury return represents a “full-circle”, as it was the location that nurtured his passion for dance as a teenager.

Mason performing with mapdance photo:Chris Nash
Mason performing with mapdance photo:Chris Nash

The 22-year-old added: “It’ll be an emotional one for me, but also for everyone, as its our last full theatre performance.

“I’m slightly nervous as I’m hoping to have friends, family and teachers come to watch, some who haven’t seen me in many years perform, and I hope they all enjoy the show.”

The diverse repertoire promises audiences a refreshing mixture of gritty dance-theatre, wry humour, and both intricate and questioning choreography – although Mason admitted to the challenges of rehearsing in lockdown with social-distancing rules still in effect.

Mason performing with mapdance photo:Chris Nash
Mason performing with mapdance photo:Chris Nash

“Studying dance during the pandemic has been an interesting experience,” he said.

Mason, who will be performing alongside former Arlington resident dancer Myles Swan, added: “What I miss the most is the contact – contact was so helpful in creating a physical and creative bond with someone. But I do think this year has brought us all close together as we’ve now all had a shared experience of working through such a tough time, understanding the struggles that came with it.”

Tickets from www.arlingtonarts.ticketsolve.com or call (01635) 244 246.

For more about mapdance visit www.mapdance.org

The mapdance performance will include work by Robert Clark, Joseph Toonga and Yael Flexer along with the restaging of AYIN by Ceyda Tanc.

Robert Clark’s work Closer explores the desire for, and repercussions of change. 12 people consider their future selves and attempt to simultaneously control and break free of the present whilst looking to each other to find meaning and a way forward.

Joseph Toonga’s Fun Humans carries his signature style, imbedded in the hip-hop form. Combining the rawness, compactness and precision of hip-hop with shapes and structures from contemporary choreography Fun Humans is a collection of movement responses to music.

Artistic director Yael Flexer’s new work references the Yiddish word Nu which carries a myriad of meanings often related to time, an impatient ‘come on!’ to a suggestive ‘well?’. Made in short bursts between lockdowns Nu reflects our recent experience of ‘stop/start’ time spent in confined spaces, with the sense of waiting, longing, anticipation and anxieties it brings.

Using virtuoso movements of Turkish dance Ceyda Tanc creates a unique and driven movement vocabulary. Her work AYIN draws inspiration from ritual and the notion that within rituals one searches for love and acceptance.

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