Pop lyrics are the spur for a dance alternative; Scottish Ballet is at the Theatre Royal but there's something else in town. DAVID WHETSTONE talks to Gillie Kleiman about her dance 'knees-up'.
IS it a dance or is it a concert? It's A Lyrical Dance Concert and it brings Gillie Kleiman back to the North East for performances at Northern Stage and The Maltings, Berwick.
Gillie was born in Israel, to an Israeli father and a Geordie mother, but came to the North East as a young girl.
She was already dancing, having started ballet lessons at the age of three, and in the North East gravitated towards Dance City.
She then studied for a BA in dance and culture at the University of Surrey and got a coveted dance scholarship which took her to Vienna, coinciding with an international festival called IMPULSTANZ.
"It opened up lots of things to me and made me feel I could be an artist in a way that I didn't have the confi-dence to be before," says Gillie.
She is ringing from Sweden where she has been meeting her (now pregnant) collaborator Sara Lindstrom, whom she met on an artists' residency in France a few years ago.
"She had been living in London and now she's back in Sweden. I was living in Newcastle and then went to London. We encountered each other a few times and liked each other.
"We had this discussion about what a lyrical dance could be and we started to mess around with pop songs in this big bedroom I had, dancing out the lyrics. There was a lot of laughing and we had lots of fun but we also thought there could be something in this.
"I find pop lyrics really persistent. I find myself singing them and thinking about what they mean.
"It was really funny doing this show with someone who's not a native speaker of English. You tend to fill in the gaps of understanding with movement."
Out of all this the new show was born. Described as "a contemporary dance performance with DIY glamour," it focuses on pop lyrics and their literal meaning and how they can be expressed in movement.
Having devised the show with Sara, her Swedish friend then found herself expecting. Stepping into her shoes for this second tour is Eleanor Sikorski, another of Gillie's friends from the world of dance.
If you have preconceptions about what dance and dancers should be like, this show may confound you.
Gillie studied ballet, but it was never going to be for her, and this is no Nutcracker or Swan Lake.
She says: "I was always a plump kid but in a dance context that has never been an issue. I didn't like ballet because I wanted to make my own dance.
"I've always been interested in being technically proficient and I like to do things well, but this is art (Gillie calls herself as an artist rather than a dancer) in the form of a knees-up.
"People can have a drink and we might have a real party afterwards. The show is deliberately silly. We think it's fun and people seem to like that."
The show is at Northern Stage on February 24 and 25 (www.northernstage.co.uk) and at The Maltings, Berwick, on February 28 (www.maltingsberwick.co.uk).
Gillie Kleiman and Eleanor Sikorski whose Lyrical Dance Concert is coming to Newcastle