Mbulelo Ndabeni

Festivals

Hello,

At Rambert we are about to set off on our Autumn Tour. Next week we travel up to Salford, Manchester for a the premiere of Malgorzata Dzierzon’s new work Flight. The work is based upon migration and the experience of leaving one’s home in search for another. With use of a moving set, multimedia projections and live orchestra, Rambert is adding another interesting work to the repertoire. I will be performing in this work, but I hope to sneak into the auditorium to capture some images of the work, watch this space!

One of the things I love about London is the thriving arts scene and its commitment to providing free cultural festivals. Last month I had the great pleasure at photographing at two of them. The National Theatre hosted their own River Stage Weekends where they set up a stage next to the river and present live music, dance, performances, DJs and workshops for free to anyone who wanted to drop by. This event gave me the opportunity to photograph an old Rambert colleague turned choreographer, Mbulelo Ndabeni. This was a solo dance featuring live accompaniment from the Yemalla Drummers. For a public performance on a busy through-route it was incredible how well Mbulelo held the audience, by the end of the solo he had a large crowd and received a warm reception. 

 

Mbulelo Ndabeni performing NaY ft. Yemalla Drummers as part of The National Theatre's River Stage Weekends.

 

The second festival I attended was Evolving Landscapes held in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and featured Parkour Dance Company. This mini festival was funded as a means to inspire and increase the numbers of people regularly taking part in physical activities. This performance took place in the Tumbling Bay playground, and although just off the beaten path, gathered a large crowd for their two performances. It was fantastic to see and hear how the younger audience members and their parents reacted to this performance! It goes without saying the performance was engaging and exciting, I can’t wait to work with these guys again in the future.

 

Jacob Smart and Eric Mitchell in Parkour Dance Company's new work, Sacred Sons as part of Evolving Landscapes festival held in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

 

In addition to these festivals I took to the studio to have a play with lights, and photograph on my own terms. I was joined by Vanessa Kang and Jacob O’Connell who are obviously fantastic and great models to have onset. I always look forward to these sessions as they give the ultimate in creative flexibility. Naturally I will be booking the studio again soon for some more sessions.

 

Jacob O'Connell onset in the Rambert Studio.

 

The month ahead is looking very busy indeed, with trips away up north and overseas.

More soon,

Stephen

Silver Lining

Greetings,

Every cloud has a silver lining, so they say. My cloud happened to be an injury, but my silver lining is the opportunity to work full time on my photography. 

This week I have been making trips back and forth to The Print Room, I’ve returned to shoot for Mbulelo Ndabeni, and also shoot for choreographer Kirill Burlov. These choreographers are ex-colleagues from Rambert and both have gifted movement vocabularies to draw from.

Ndabeni asked me to return to picture some Production shots for him, he had a location in mind and wanted to create something theatrical. With this brief, we set up and started shooting. This shoot lasted for all of about 20 minutes (due to it being rather chilly!), but we came away with plenty of keepers! 

 

Beholder of Beautychoreographed by Mbulelo Ndabeni with Mbulelo Ndabeni and Piedad Albarracin Seiquer.

 

I have had the pleasure of dancing for Burlov on many occasions when he made work during Rambert’s various choreographic platforms, so it was great to see him working on his new commission. His piece, Absinthe, is a duet danced by Burlov and London based dancer, Rob McNeil. These guys dancing together create an intensity that is awesome to watch, and great to photograph.

 

Absinthe, choreographed by Kirill Burlov, with Kirill Burlov and Rob McNeil.

 

All in all, things are going well! My hip is making a super speedy recovery, and I only need crutches when I am out and about (no more shooting on crutches!). I am being kept busy doing my rehabilitation at Rambert, as well as making the regular trips over to Notting Hill for The Print Room

Take care,

Stephen

mbulelo.com
kirillburlov.com