4th pole dance title - Pole theatre uk Professional drama
Inspired by a true story, Sophie created her piece ‘Last Breath’, in honour of her Godfather, Duncan Allcock to present in her first elite category pole competition; Pole Theatre UK.
Last Breath is inspired by the film of the same name, which premiered in April 2019. Three Saturation divers, Duncan, Dave and Chris are on a standard dive to fix a North Sea oil well. When a technical error occurs on the boat at the surface, causing it to drift, the divers 100meters below are being dragged along the seabed. This is the story of one mans flight for survival, and how his team are faced with loosing a colleague at the bottom of the sea.
Creating this piece was so emotional, but I wanted to make something so special and unique that it would move the whole room, the same way I was moved by the film and my own godfathers team and heroism.
TWO ROMANIAN PREMIERS WITH HORIA SURU
Jan - May 2019
2019 saw the creative reunion of Sophie with Romanian director Horia Suru, on two very different new theatre productions; ‘Si Liniste Are Plus’ and ‘Ziua Recunostintei’
The first, starting creation in January, saw Sophie create movement with 9 actors from Teatrul Andrei Mureșanu in Sfântu Gheorghe. The show, translated into Romanian, is a contemporary work by british playwrite Brad Birch, originally named ‘Even Stillness Breathes Softly Against A Brick Wall’. Although written for just 2 actors, this adaptation was shared between three couples, plus 3 other praying characters which wander the open space, set out for the audience. The action apprears in three raised spaces, allowing the audience to move freely in the space. The drama follows the life of a couple, as they slowly fall into a bizarre self distructive stupor, fueled by montonous careers, never ending repetition and the persistance of overseas war.
In a complete switch of genre, Ziua Recunostintei (‘Thanksgiving’), is a show the Romanian answer to variety theatre, 'Revisa’. Featuring live music, vocals, drama and dance, this comedy completely tears apart reality talent shows, and to an extent, Revista theatre itself. An orginal production, it strips away the glamour of Revista, with simple rehearsal style costumes, crew visibly moving props scenary during the show and a constant battle between the desire to perform, over the desire to argue with eachother, the show takes on a very casual but wholy entertaining turn, very differnt from what is normally expected. The show is currently playing at Thearul Toma Caragiu, Ploiesti, Romania.
Both shows will run thorughout the 2019/2020 seasons.
The Launch Of: The Foundry by Hammond + Duncan
Collaborating artists, Sophie Duncan and Lisa Hammond, have developed their combined Dance and Pole Dance program, The Foundry by Hammond + Duncan.
Their workshops aim to bridge the gab between dance and pole movment by holding full day workshops, specialising in more than just pole tricks or flow. Both specialists in their own diciplines, The Foundry features workshops which include performance, flow, tricks, choreography, character work and choreography techniques, which are more uncommon in the pole world.
Their first Foundry sold in in less than 24 hours, with 12 students attending the full day course at Pole Athletes studio in Chesterfield.
With more workshops planned for 2020, check out the instagram for more info and to follow: @thefoundrybyhd
A DRAMATIC RETURN TO HONG KONG
Debuting in her first ‘Pole Theatre Competition’, Sophie wins the Semi Pro Drama category back in the city she received her first pole dance title, Hong Kong.
Hosted by Aerial Arts Academy, the competition features Semi Pro and Professional levels performing in 4 categories: Drama, Art, Comedy and Exotic.
The event took place in the renowned Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts in Wan Chai, on Hong Hong Island. Less than one year ago, Sophie performed in her first amateur pole competition, Pole Idol Hong Kong, winning her category and also winner of Best Choreography and Overall Winner.
“Looking back, its insane that I’ve come full circle from entering an amateur comp just to see where I stand in the pole world, to then come back to compete in such a well known event, and also winning. The only problem noW - I have this and UKPPC wins, so I have to compete in either Elite or Professional categories…everything just got a bit more real!”
SOPHIE WINS PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY AT UKPPC
Competing in one of the UK’s most prestigious pole dance competitions, Sophie takes home her first major title of UKPPC Winner of the Professional Category, competing with 7 other artists. The UK Professional Pole Championships were held at the Telford International Centre, and featured 3 categories; Instructor, Professional and Elite. The Instructor category is for instructors of pole who dont perform professionally. The Professional category is for performing artists of any kind who make a living from their dicipline and the Elite category features artists who have won or placed Runner Up at least twice in any major competition.
All categories are performed in front of the panel of acclaimed UK judges: Hanna Rose, Dan Rosen, Charlotte Robertson, Annie Norris, Clair Stringer and Robyn Rooke, and International superstar judges, Anna-Maija Nyman and Evgeny Greshilov.
“I am so over the moon with this. I was incredibly nervous about UKPPC because I know its such a well know and well respected competition, so whoever I would have been against was gonna be amazing. It made me really focus on training, regardless of how much I hated my song by the end of it!
I am very thankful to everyone who helped me in the process; in Macau, Hidden Talent Studio, Josephine Hon who is a great training partner and Varie Anderson who organises the whole event. In the UK, Lisa Hammond, you are my training lifeline. As a fellow competitor, we made each other train and keep sane! Pole Atheles Studio and Lorna Walker, thank you to you! And finally, my delightful #Duncettes! This is my little posse who follow me literally around the globe and they were there on the day. Thanks to the judges, and the audience on the day. I am a performer from the heart but a performer is only half of it, without an audience!”
A video of the performance will be released very soon!
SOPHIE SELECTED FOR POLE THEATRE HONG KONG
Sophie will compete in the world reknowned Pole Theatre Competition taking place in Hong Kong on 20th January, 2019. This will be only her 3rd ever competiton in just 2 years of pole dancing and will perform in the Semi Pro category! The competition will take place at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts!
S L E E P E R
S L E E P E R is premiered online! After 7 Derbyshire County Council Members offered funding for the project, the film was shot over just 3 days and features 16 young dancers performing at incredible sites in Chesterfield, including The Chesterfield Canal and The Barrowhill Roundhouse. The story features a girl lost in her own world as the real one revolves around her. Original music was created by 'Strays', and story was created by Sophie Duncan and Strays artist, Adam McCulloch. This is in part a NGDance Project, the first of many to come.
Directed By SOPHIE DUNCAN
Story by SOPHIE DUNCAN & ADAM McCULLOCH
Edited By MAX ARSENAULT
Performers SOPHIE DUNCAN ADAM McCULLOCH RYAN FLETCHER
Young Dancers SOPHIE BADDERLY MOLLY BALDWIN JASMINE BLACKWELL AIMEE DAKIN GEORGIA ELLIS BEN FEATHERSTONE JASMIN FOX ASHTON HARKNESS ABBIE LINACRE LIBBY McGARRY MELISSA MIDDLETON MILLY SCHLEIFER JACOB SMITH DECLAN STANHOPE ELLIE ROSE WALKER KERRY ANNE WOODHEAD
Pole Artists LORNA WALKER LISA HAMMOND Animals AXL ROSE ROBINSON
Music Composed and Performed by STRAYS
SOphie selected for UKPPC Grand Final
After a successful video audition, Sophie is selected alongside 6 other artists to compete in the highly acclaimed UK Professional Poledance Championships in Telford, UK, on November 25th, 2018.
UK PPC has three categories; Instructor, Professional and Elite, all with 6 artists plus one wild card entry. Sophie will compete in the professional category after previously winning Pole Idol Hong Kong in April.
“This is only the second competition I’ve competed in and its one giant step forward from Pole Idol HK. I know I have what it takes but, I really want to up my game on this one, especially as this is the first time Ill compete on home turf!”
SOPHIE WINS THE HONG KONG POLE IDOL CHAMPIONSHIP
Sophie's winning performance of Rock'n'Roll Suicide takes home the award for Best Choreography and Overall Champion of the 4 day competition.
Performed at 18+Central on the Hong Kong Harbourfront, the competition hosted 6 finalists per day in 3 categories: Exotic, Fusion and Drama. From each day, the winner and first runner up were entered into the final on day four.
World reknowed, Felix Caine, would judge the competition, alongside several of Hong Kongs leading pole and aerial artists.
'Im over the moon. I honestly cant tell you how thankful I am to win my first competition. I entered so that I could gain some experience and also meet some new faces so to take home the win is absolutely awesome! Im so happy!!!'
ROCK N ROLL SUICIDE : DEBUT SOLO POLE PERFORMANCE
Just short of 1 year since beginning training pole with Pole Athletes Studio owner and former Miss Pole UK Champion, Lorna Walker, Sophie performs her first solo dance pole act at Hidden Talent's Christmas Showcase event.
Created to David Bowie's, 'Rock'n'Roll Suicide', the pole theatre act is a short 3 minute story of a celebrity fall from grace moment.
sophie moves to montreal to begin creation on new show 'destiny'
June - August 2017
Sophie will begin a 10 week creation in Montreal as Dance Captain on the new show, Destiny. Featuring dance, circus and some of the most current technology in the industry, the show is due to premier in Macau in Spring 2018.
“Having worked in Macau already for three and a half years, initially I was a little dubious to see what will become of the show, but now, 4 weeks into creation, I can see some how this show will really fit into the Macau entertainment life. Its fun, vibrant, not too serious but has love, art and energy in it. Plus, I’m in love with our cast and crew so far. Such lovely bunch of people, i feel that we were cast not just based on our talent, but on our working compatibility and personality.” - SD
NEW FILM : SLEEPER
Coming soon! SLEEPER, is a collaboration between Sophie Duncan, musicians and long time buddies Adam McCulloch, Ryan Fletcher and filmmaker / musician Nick Allott.
Over just 3 days, Sophie and her team worked with award winning pole artists Lorna Walker and Lisa Hammond of Pole Athletes, plus 16 young dancers from Directions Theatre Arts and 8 filmmaking students from Chesterfield Collage on this short dance / music film featuring some of Chesterfield’s defining local landmarks including Chesterfield Canal and The Barrowhill Roundhouse.
The film’s concept faces current relationships between our lives vs social media, but takes the audience on a dark journey of enlightenment from the depths of a monotonous sofa-bound existence to remembering there really is a world out there!
Then film will be launched alongside a documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with the cast and crew and all the backstage movement. The film will officially premier at Junction Arts: Tapton Lock Festival in September 2017, but there will be testers released prior.
Keep an eye out!
SPIN: A SKATEPARK ADVENTURE
April - May 2017
SPIN: A Skatepark Adventure was performed at the world renowned Brighton Fringe Festival throughout May, with a mixed bag of BMX, Beatbox, BBoying, Wheelchair Stunts, Inline Skating and Contemporary Dance / Physical Theatre.
A fairly informal production, the show was set on a temporary skatepark in the stunning graffiti filled hall of The Brighton Youth Centre and sent audiences into a world of story telling and imagination, tricks and nail biting extreme sports, with an occasional crash or almost misses!
This production saw Sophie’s first collaboration with Nathan Geering and Oliver ‘Unome’ Pontefract of Rationale Productions, who specialise in the development of audio description within theatre. Sophie and Nathan’s ‘battle’ duet was audio described by Oliver with a mixture of storytelling and beatboxing, describing the action and the texture of the movement during the act.
The show was produced by Hubble Bubble Productions in collaboration with the artists and received some of the highest audience numbers in the festival.
Columbinus receives 2 nominations for best romanian show, 2016
Already winner of Best Show at The National Theatre, Bucarest's Teen Fest, COLUMBINUS now has 2 nominations for best show of the year in all Romania. Selected by a panel of 7 judges, Columbinus has to face rivalry from shows all over the country in all medias.
Noted for various aspects the show: choreography, direction, design, subject matter, technology, it stands a great chance of winning the grand prize.
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL INTENSIVE
NGD | SESSIONS | LAB
JANUARY 22nd, 2017. THE DANCE STUDIOS NOTTINGHAM
Sophie just completed another great day of dance with her youth dance training program, NGDance.
Co-Founded with ballet dancer Joshua Ecob, NGD offers Intensive courses of 1, 4 and 6 days. The 1 day courses or | SESSIONS | Labs focus on one practicioner or style for that day. The January Lab focused on contemporary; contemporary ballet, intro to floorwork, improvisation, partner improvisation and some orginal rep from Sophie. 18 young dancers attended, all abilities and aged between 9 - 18.
For more information on NGDance, please visit the website: ngdance.org
The next intensive:
BEST PRODUCTION AT TEEN FEST
THE NATIONAL THEATRE, BUCHAREST, SEPTEMBER 2016
COLUMBINUS, the theatre drama of two students who go on a gun fueledrampage around their high school, wins The Grand Prize of BEST PRODUCTION at The National Theatre, Bucharest's Teen Fest.
Voted by a team of judges and the public, it won based on best direction, best choreography, design and performance out of over 25 other new productions.
"I was excited just to have a production at The National, but to win this is an absolutely amazing thing! Thanks to everyone and my awesome romanian team!" - Sophie d
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
ANDORRA LA VELLA, ANDORRA
2nd - 30th July.
At this new event, you'll follow the adventures of a brother and his little sister and the beautiful unbreakable bond they share, a representation of the family values.
The protagonists will be faced with finding themselves separated in a totally unknown universe. They will arrive in an imaginary, surreal and futuristic world, where they will travel between reality and fiction. Throughout their adventure they will come across many elements of their home town, but in a futuristic form.
The little sister will let herself be ruled by her instincts until she becomes completely lost in this futuristic dimension. Her brother, meanwhile, will follow her footsteps in the hope of finding her, while immersed in a totally different experience. Separately, each of them must make this journey on their own, overcoming the challenges of their own reality. Their instincts and the strong bond of brother and sister will be the key to their meeting again.
APRIL 2016 - A WORK IN PROGRESS
POP CIRCUS was a short work in progress piece of circus and ran at the start of April, at the glorious Roundhouse, London. The short 20 minute show featured chinese pole, straps, rope and dance to tell the story of two friends Robin and Alex. The pair, who both dream of making it big in the music business have been friends for years, but when Robin begins to loose her hearing everything begins to spiral out of control. Alex starts to develop a new track, which is so good you cannot stop dancing, so much so you pass out from over listening. With Robin not hearing the track, she it immune to its powers....but not Alex.
Sophie played the role of 'ROBIN', and the show was the opening on the evening for Main Act, Barely Methodical Troupe.
From the makers of Some Like it Hip Hop, A Harlem Dream and Kylie’s Showgirl Tourcomes a ground-breaking new collaboration fusing music, narrative, circus, and fashion.
ORIONTEATER, STOCKHOLM SWEDEN
JANUARY 06 - 24th
SD: "I really didn't expect Gynoïdes to have such a huge impact but here I am, one day before the final show knowing that this is seriously the hottest ticket in Stockholm.
Not just from the amazing response we're getting every night from our audience, but from the press, industry professionals, critics and now, huge theatres and institutions, in Scandinavia and the rest of the World, wanting to present our show to other audiences. Sold out every night, we even had to add a extra performance which sold out in 41 minutes. That's a ticket sold every 12 seconds! I know that Marie-Andree Robitalle (our director) is proud of what we've achieved, but I am also very proud too, of the wonderful talented girls I've had the pleasure of working and performing with and our great crew who's been there from the madness of creation. It's been an epic return to theatre after the grandeur of The House Of Dancing Water, and I've changed a bit my profile into porting and learning some other tricks which is exactly the progression I wanted. Its a fun show to perform. A huge skipping rope scene which is always exciting for me. My improvised solo which is different every night. And all these moments where I'm sat on stage just watching the other girls master their disciplines. This is the fun part of creation, the final outcome. And we've managed to create something unique, funny, simple yet deep if you want to read into it, and otherwise a genuine force brought on my us, the women involved. And apparently, you guys like it too!"
The success of GYNOÏDES has been somewhat, well, outrageously good. By the premier, over 50% of the tickets were sold, and three days into the run, it was completely sold out. 5 Stars on Ticnet.com via audience reviews, the Number 1 thing to do on VisitStockholm.com and countless reviews online, in newspapers from a number of critics.
Circus Artists aka GYN♀IDES
Sophie Duncan UK, Veera Kaijanen FIN, Sade Kamppila FIN, Sarah Lett CAN, Laura Lippert USA, Manda Rydman SWE
Singer Musician aka GYN♀IDES Anna-Maria-Hefele DEU
Concept and direction Marie-Andrée Robitaille CAN/SWE, Assistant Director Lea Firus Norrman SWE, Sound Dramaturge Niclas Lindgren SWE, Costume Nina Falk SWE, Light design Raimo Nyman SWE, Set Design Marie-Andrée Robitaille CAN/SWE, Props maker Sara Selander SWE, Technical Coordinator Matti Heckscher SWE,
Photographer Einar Kling Odencrants SWE.
New Creation from November - January 2015
WORLD PREMIER @ ORIONTEATERN 6TH JANUARY
SD: "After 3 and a half years with The House Of Dancing Water, I decided to finish my contract and move to new pastures and I've found myself in Stockholm, Sweden. In the Winter. Wow. But Im very happy to be spending the next three months with a group of ladies ... the GYNOïDES! This show has been a work in progress under 'Beta Test's' with Marie-Andree Robitaille for the past few years but now she's ready to make it into a full length work"
"Updates will come along when I have them but for now take a look at the Facebook page at #CIRCUSPERSPECTIVE for info about tickets, us playing during creation, general notifications as well as photos and videos. But for now, all you need to know is that we're in creation for 2 months and we premier on the 6th of January, with our final performance on the 24th of January. Short and sweet"
July- September 2015
HKD 34,463.35HKD raised for the Samaritans Hong Kong. I think you can say this is a success.
SD: "Done and Done! Its been a rollercoaster since we first started on a tiny seed of an idea back in December last year. We knew we wanted a show to commemorate a dear friend. We knew we had more talent than what we do on a day to day basis. All we needed was a direction, and finally with LODDO, we pulled together and we came out with something far bigger, far more successful and far more meaningfull than anything I could have hoped for. It was a spectacular event. The Macau Design Centre was packed with over 200 people all squeezing into what is normally an visual art space. The Bar took more money than they'd ever taken (and was worried about running out of beer!), we raised far more than our original prediction of 10,000HKD, and overall, there was a feeling of elation. Even 2 weeks on, I'm getting feedback from all over the place about how different it was, how people felt that there was a buzz and how surprising the talent was...and when is the next one? The wonderful LODDO creative team are already considering where we go with this. We have a plan to get into discussion, and so far we've captured the imagination of our own, Dragone Entertainment Company, the local media and the local community.. I think LODDO has a future, a big, little one. Small venues, simple planning but massive impact. It could be a great asset to ourselves and the companies we represent"
Rehearsal Images taken by Tom Fairchild and Chelsea Patrea
Inspired by. Tribute to. Memory of. Gian Luca Loddo.
This artist's night showcases work by artists currently working at The House Of Dancing Water.
"In December last year, we sadly lost a beautiful performer and person, artist Gian Luca Loddo. This show that we want to create is in tribute to his incredible talent and artistry with inspiring performances from all aspects of dance, drama, aerial, acrobatics, music and performance. 'LODDO' is in support of the Hong Kong branch of Samaritans, a charity with a dedicated hotline to offer emotional support to those who are suicidal or in general distress. "
"The show is created and performed by volunteers, performers and family members at The House Of Dancing Water. In essence, it came out of an plan to tell a story about the troubles and dark places we all find ourselves in life from time to time, and what helps us to move forwards enough to carry on. All of the evenings performers have the chance to do something other than what they already do in their 'normal' show day, so it's very important to me that everyone gets an opportunity to expand their professional horizons and take on new roles."
The show is set to premier for one night only on WEDNESDAY 2nd, of September at the Macau Design Centre.
Checkout the Facebook page for updates and Gian Luca Loddo's art works
To find out more about the Hong Kong Samaritans please clink the link above. Otherwise, if you've like a bit of information about what a Samartans volunteer take on during their duties, please enjoy this article from The Irish Times, talking about the Dublin Branch. It is a very insightful and personal article:
"You Don't Have To Be Suicidal To Ring The Samaritans" - Irish Times Article (May 8th 2015 - Patrick Frayne)