As part of this month’s Spitalfields Festival, contemporary urban choreographer Tony Adigun is bringing a bit of London street style to the world of the madrigal, as his company, Avant Garde Dance, performs to the music of Monteverdi alongside singers and musicians from the Early Opera Company.
How did this happen? Turns out the starting point wasn’t the Italian master composer who pioneered the Baroque sounds of the 17th century, but a quintet of early noughties reality show runners-up, Liberty X.
‘I went on tour [as a dancer] with Liberty X with a live band and it was the most amazing experience,’ says Adigun. ‘Every night was different, a different energy. That made me really fall in love again with both elements [dance and live music]. I wanted to bring that to our world.’ Since then Adigun has been determined to make his own work with live music, but a 389-year-old Monteverdi score wasn’t what he originally had in mind. It has proved a challenge. Firstly dealing with the music itself, which is driven by its text (the show’s centrepiece is a story of gender confusion and fighting to the death!), and secondly dealing with the classical music world: ‘The rules and regulations, things you can change, things you can’t change. How far you can go,’ Adigun explains.
If it were completely up to him, Adigun would be free to manipulate the score as he would a piece of choreographic material. ‘I’d say: “We’re going to sing it like this, we’re going to repeat this section, then we’re going to sing it in reverse.” I’d mash it up,’ he says. ‘It should be billed as two worlds colliding, and what happens that night is the result of it. Bang! And then whatever flies up in the air…’
The Blues Kitchen Camden
This lively, contemporary bar-diner on the main Camden drag celebrates American musical heritage in song (live shows, DJs, free harmonica lessons), spirits and sustenance. The food is all-American in spirit and substance, with barbecue and burgers featuring prominently. Though you can, if you insist, order a 'superfood salad.' There are around 50 bourbons in a variety of categories, some used as bases for cocktails. Rarer types (Blanton’s Gold, Sazerac 18-Year-Old Rye, Woodford Reserve 1838 Sweet Mash) go for a tenner or more, but otherwise you’ll be paying £3.50 to £6. ‘America’s native spirit’ is how Kentucky bourbon is described, with Ancient Age and Evan Williams typical examples; Tennessee, ‘the first cousin of Kentucky’, is honoured with a full suit of Jack Daniel’s labels.
Venue says: “Free birthday bubbly for parties booking in for drinks at Blues Kitchen Camden on Friday nights. Get in touch for more details.”