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Sunday, 16 April 2017

COAL, Gary Clarke Dance Company.


One of the most poignant events in our UK history is the mining industry, something that often feels lost and unrecognised for it's importance in our understanding in society. Gary Clarke's piece COAL serves as an importance reminder of this industry, keeping the memory of it very much alive. 

In the 80 minute production, Gary's choreography is flawless, perfectly executed and full of energy from beginning to end. The emotion behind every single movement was breath taking, from the choreographic elements of labour and effort that Gary wanted to explore in showcasing the realities of working down in a mine that thousands of people did. I loved it from the moment the curtain went up it perfectly showcased a response to the upbringing Gary experienced for himself in the working class mining village of Grimethorpe in South Yorkshire. 

It was raw, emotional and very much real. It was also historic and educational, it wasn't politically forced but personal and brought together communities at the heart of the production. It's political drive was within the piece but it wasn't at the forefront. It felt like a celebration of those who lived through the times, those who stood up for what they believed in after the threshold of Margaret Thatcher's leadership and how it affected the ones closest to them. Through his creative process, Gary Clarke invited women from local coal mining communities to perform in the production. This worked so perfectly and the women Katie Adkins, Tara Cousins, Patricia Kneale-Buxton and Sylvia John performed a convincing and strong performance as Pit Women. The ability to present a piece that has authenticity at the heart of it all was important to make it as honest as possible and was well executed.


I loved the use of recruiting local brass bands to be a part of the production too, which in our performance was Members of Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band using their live score to bring a new layer into the performance which was unique and added to the whole realness feel of the entire production.

Another big emphasis on the piece was not forgetting the women, women who were as affected by the mining industry as the ones working within it. Forging the working class relationships between a man and women we see how emotionally motivated they were to not only stand besides men in their protests on the mining industry but also create their individually views and protests on what was just as important for women. There were some less emotional but comedic elements to the piece that made it a lot less dark and emotional to watch, these were well blended in without causing distraction from the main thread of objective that the choreographer wanted to create. 

The production definitely made you feel as though you were transported back to capture this moment in history, even for a split second you had to remind yourself that all of this is very much real. I would absolutely love to see this performance undertake a educational tour, I feel it's benefits to educate and inform young people of a time in the UK history that has shaped a lot of the future in this country we're now apart of.

thanks for reading,








1 comment:

  1. Looks interesting. Unfortunately it's a bit too far to travel for me. I live in S.Africa. :-) Have a great week. https://shirleycorder.com/opportunites/

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