We invite you to discover something new at our theatre and if you haven’t been to see a contemporary dance show before now is the time. Hippodrome Associate Artist Rosie Kay of Rosie Kay Dance Company, responsible for the choreographer of the Commonwealth Games Handover ceremony and 10 SOLDIERS, talks to us about what you can expect when coming to see a piece of contemporary dance.

 How would you describe contemporary dance?

The best way to describe contemporary dance is to compare it to modern art – contemporary dance can be conceptual, abstract or narrative, but is focused on the body and how dance can make you look and think in different ways. Contemporary dance is led by the vision of the choreographer – and we are often trying to push the art form – we try to be inventive, challenging, and I particularly want to relate to the world in which we live.

How does contemporary dance differ from other dance pieces?

Ballet has its own history and highly polished physical technique and was formed to create stories and spectacle for kings and queens and royal courts. Contemporary dance has some roots in ballet, for example, we all have some ballet training but what we are trying to say and how we dance is more modern in approach. We play with how the body moves – the weight of the body, the sound of the body, and we are less bound by any rules – in fact, we like to break the rules!

Will the show follow a storyline?

Some shows will and some shows will not. 10 SOLDIERS has a narrative, told through the body and the relationships of the characters. Because this is based on a real subject matter, and real observations of soldiers and their experiences of war, the work is very understandable; you follow the journey of these 10 young people and you care about them. I want to get the military details right, so soldiers will know that the work is authentic, but I also want people who have never had any experience of the army or of war to feel what it feels like to be a soldier.

How should you approach watching contemporary dance?

I think it’s important not to feel intimidated by dance – I’m often told by people that they are scared that they might not ‘get it’. However you see it, and whatever you think about it is valid and good – people interpret dance their own way. You need to sit and let your eyes and mind adjust – and enjoy it! We’ve converted a lot of people with our shows – they might not know what to expect, but they always come away having had an exhilarating and mind-blowing experience.