Sparklemotion

Let them eat cake!

Let them eat cake!

It’s hard for me to separate myself as a choreographer from my dance troupe Sparklemotion – where one ends, the other begins. All my achievements have been under the Sparklemotion umbrella and I see everything I do as being a Sparklemotion project.

I’ve tried to create something original, but with an old school charm; a dance troupe with a knowing twinkle in their eyes and killer routines in their pockets. l guess my choreographic motto is pretty simple: to make interesting work with a beating heart and a great soundtrack.

Over the years we have performed with and for a diverse and colourful array of artists ranging from the ultra kitsch to the mega cool. We’ve danced with cabaret stars and hipster bands; in nightclubs and art galleries; at music festival and weddings. Anything goes and that’s what makes Sparklemotion so exciting for me, it never sits still. Bring on the next adventure…

Rick Astley

Tie me up, tie me down

Tie me up, tie me down

Amazing. Mega. Random much? Oh yes, another surprising Sparklemotion adventure sallies forth. This time with (is this really happening?) Rick Astley. He of PWL tea boy fame. The man who shocked us all on TOTP back in the day.

When I got the call about this job you could have knocked me down with something much lighter than a feather. It’s all thanks to AMAZING director Michael Baldwin—a man who made us look pretty damn good in a Cocknbullkid video and who seems to really like what I do. Lucky me.

So, the brief this time was “badass angels”…saving our hero from a nasty demise in a Soprano’s-style “to the bottom of the sea you go” scenario. Dancing-wise the challenge was to come up with something nonchalant and cool, a bit cute and a lot sassy.

Shoot day and once again we’re in our usual industrial setting. It seems that Sparklemotion will only do video’s where a hi-vis vest has to be donned to go to the lav. Ha ha!

It was actually a beautiful day—sun shining and everyone working hard to get the job done. Taught the routines in a shipping container, got angel-ed up in our customised leather jackets and kicked up some dust with our bad-ass moves. Chrissie even got a kiss!

Result? A totally fab video. WOW. Michael Baldwin you are my hero. And as for mister Astley himself, what a dude. His album is called 50 y’know. Respect is due.

Guilty Pleasures

marianne-machin-guilty-pleasures

So, what to say about GP? The daddy of pop clubs. A superbrand with nights all over the world and a pop sensibility that is borne out of a total love and respect for the music they play. And they have dancers. And they REALLY look after their dancers. It’s a BIG DEAL and Sparklemotion have been lucky enough to be part of that. This is the one job I really really wanted so it’s literally magic that it came about.

There is definitely a kid in a sweet shop element to Guilty Pleasures for me. The idea that I can sit down and pick any song from the entire wonderful pop canon and then make up a dance to it is just crazy. And it’s been great in other ways too cause I think I can err on the conservative side and you have to let that all go to make an impact at a GP night. It needs to be WILD. I’ve had to learn to add a sense of spectacle to what I do and I’ve loved it.

More importantly, without GP I never would have discovered I looked so good in a beard, so, for that alone, Mr Rowley and your Guilty Pleasures, I salute you.

The Cancer Slam

UK Garage

UK Garage

David Wilson is a dude. He is also a an amazing video director I’ve been lucky enough to work with on a few projects.

In 2013 Cancer Research chose David to direct a video for their Race for Life campaign. The brief was to create a full length pop video featuring a simple and iconic dance routine that participants and their friends and families could learn and perform en masse at the race meets. A fantastic idea for a fantastic charity and I was obviously thrilled to be part of the project.

My job was to invent the dance, which might sound easy, but creating simple yet original and exciting choreography is actually very, very hard. David and I worked together using Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2 as our inspiration (slinking across a parking lot looking effortlessly cool) and thus the Cancer Slam began to take shape. I even had to name the moves to make it easier for people to learn (armpits!).

The video shoot itself was an experience never to be forgotten…16 hours outside in a scrap yard on a grey and freezing February day. Brrrrr. But my god, the result is perfect – a fierce, super cool promo with an unforgettable message.

House Party NYE

Starry starry night...

Starry starry night…

So, New Year’s Eve 2012 Sparklemotion danced on live TV.That’s LIVE TV kids…and IT ROCKED. A memorable way to see off one year and usher in another for sure.

We were booked as part of Channel 4’s epic House Party…6 hours of kick-ass tunes, visuals and interactive New Year shenanigans. My remit was to fill the gap between the only two ad breaks (no pressure) with a routine to The Jacksons ‘Can You Feel it’ (Tune!). Christmas went by the wayside and instead I had a frantically fab week choreographing, costume making, and rehearsing.

The day itself was amazing and terrifying in equal measures. And yes, the space was tiny, and yes, equipment wobbled and yes,the nerves were off the scale, but the dance passed without incident and the crew at House Party made Sparklemotion look awesome. Seriously, like an episode of TOTP from yesteryear. Pretty special.

Metronomy

My left foot

My left foot

Once upon a time a band called Metronomy played their first wonderful live show and their fate as a totally cool genius pop band was sealed. I went home that night and listened to You Could Easily Have Me about a million times and dreamed a dance – one of my first proper choreographies (and most likely the best thing I’ve ever done).

As the band got bigger and the venues more roomy Sparklemotion were invited to join them on stage as part of their Nights Out shows. I can’t explain what an honour this was for me. Choreographing to a Metronomy track is the best and worst of times. Best because the songs are thrilling and strange and off the wall in a way that makes them just about as interesting as it could ever get for a dance. Worst because it’s nigh-on impossible to do them justice. I will always treasure the fact that Sparklemotion shared a stage with such a special, charming, amazing band.