Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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Rosie Kay's 10 Favourite Dance Productions.

Birmingham, UK

Rosie Kay is one of the leading female choreographers within the UK. Located within the West Midlands means we're able to embrace the athletic movement, rigorous research and intelligent theatricality that Rosie has become renowned for. Rosie Kay has been involved in an incredible amount of projects over the years including, choreographing the hit film Sunshine on Leith, 5 SOLDIERS and the Commonwealth Games 2018 handover televised live on the BBC Two in Birmingham. 

I thought it would be great to reach out to Rosie during lockdown so that she could share her Top Ten Dance pieces with you. "Let me begin with a caveat- by no means is this list exhaustive of all the amazing dance I have ever seen, nor is it indicative of all the great dance work I haven’t seen! These are works that in some way have stayed with me forever, and inspired and affected me in some way".

Nelken, Pina Bausch
I saw this work in the 1990’s, when Pina Bausch was programmed at Edinburgh International Festival. Her company rarely performed in the UK at that time, and was not well known at all. In fact, the theatre was not very full, and people even walked out- shocking now, when she is recognised globally as the genius of 20th Century dance. This work utterly mesmerized me, and blew my mind, expanding what I at the time (as a teenager) considered dance was, and I felt compelled by the beauty and the pathos evoked by the incredible performers. I was lucky enough to meet Pina Bausch in Wuppertal, and she truly was a legend.

Beach Birds, Merce Cunningham
I have been a huge fan of Merce Cunningham, since studying Cunningham technique while a student at London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS). It can appear to be rather dry and abstract, but once you shift your perceptions, and focus on the movement, you can see a lot of humour, intelligence and analysis of human behavior. I spent time training at the NY Cunningham studios in 2000, and I met Merce a few times- he would watch class, and I loved watching him move- his sense of space was extraordinary.

Les lieux de là, Mathilde Monnier Company
I saw this at the Edinburgh International Festival, and it’s a work that literally put me into some kind of altered state by the end. Like Cunningham, it takes a little while for your eyes and mind to adjust, you learn to read Monnier’s style and she builds layer upon layer of meaning that start to affect you emotionally in a very deep way. By the end I was in a trance, and this performance has stayed with me ever since, it was like watching the live, careful creation of a work of art. A mediation on nature, humanity and the very essence of time itself.

Hexen Tanz, Mary Wigman  
Wigman and Weimar Dance (German dance between the wars 1918-1932) was the subject of my final year dissertation at LCDS. This solo, which only a fragment of exists in faded celluloid form, was very inspiring and formed the inspiration for my first ever solo works premiered 1999 at Edinburgh festival fringe. I love watching the intensity of Wigman’s performance and the choreographic detail, it could be an anthropological study of an ancient tribe of witches, or it could be the beginning of a new movement of 20th century dance; Austrucktanz. I’m returning to solo work this year, after 21 years, and this reminds me of how inspired I was by Wigman.

Romeo and Juliet, Kenneth Macmillan
This is an all-time favourite work of mine, and Kenneth Macmillan is incredible at creating intricate, challenging choreography that also exposes real, raw emotion. I’d seen this work a few times, but my most memorable performance was by Birmingham Royal Ballet. I sat at Birmingham Hippodrome and I felt pierced in the heart- it felt immediate, honest and yet was also stunningly beautiful. I am creating my own version of Romeo and Juliet in 2021, and this version inspires and terrifies me!

READ MORE: Interview with Rosie Kay about her production 'MK Ultra' in 2017.

Solo Echo, Crystal Pite
Crystal Pite is one of the biggest names in dance right now, her work is unlike any other choreographer; unique, human and heartfelt. I loved this work created for Ballet British Columbia (Ballet BC) when I saw it in 2018, and I follow all of her work. I love the way she creates huge intricate patterns and with precise musicality- honestly, I don’t know how she does it!

Jewels ‘Rubies’, George Balanchine 
Balanchine is such a clever and vital choreographer, he reinvented ballet, particularly with New York City Ballet. His choreography of the female ballerina is exquisite- it’s sexy, provocative and seriously challenging for even the best prima-ballerinas. The central part of his work Jewels is called Rubies, and the dancers are clad in stunning red tutus. I used this as an inspiration for my work Fantasia- the approach to musicality, the sense of satisfying the audience visually, but also with a use of humour and deliberate provocation. This is a joyous work.

Mmm, Michael Clark 
Michael Clarke is a huge hero of mine, he makes really original work that you can always identify as his. Again, his humour shines through and the combination of technical excellence and visual verve is so inspiring. Mmm ends with one of the most stunning solos in dance history. I saw it at The Rep in Birmingham and was blown away.

WATCH: Mmm, Michael Clark Trailer

Bedroom Folk, Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar 
Through my role as Director of Dance Consortium I was lucky enough to meet the Artistic Director of Ballet BC, Emily Molnar and she invited me to shadow her at work at their Vancouver studios so I went up there last year after our first US tour of 5 Soldiers. I saw Bedroom Folk in rehearsal, in the studio, up close and personal, which is a huge privilege as an artist, and watched their rehearsals each day as the dancers honed the intricate moves.

Impressing the Czar, William Forsyth
I saw this performed by National Ballet of Flanders, and it is an extraordinary work. Forsyth has had a huge influence on both ballet and contemporary dance, and he is a really charming and generous person. This work dazzles in its confidence, bizarre and absurd humour and the stunning dancing.


  1. Awesome entry! Makes me really miss dance! xX

  2. This is such a lovely post and has given me some inspiration on what to watch next! Thank you for sharing x


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