A new film celebrates 30 years of one of the north's most influential contemporary dance companies - and explores the physical limits and self-discovery of performance.
The Becoming has been created by balletLORENT to mark its landmark anniversary and to share its nationally acclaimed work for free with a wider audience via its social media platforms. The film has been funded by Arts Council England.
The film, directed by Game of Thrones actor and comedian Ben Crompton, captures a live performance recorded at Newcastle’s Boiler Shop in January 2023.
Choreographed by the company's founder and artistic director Liv Lorent, The Becoming is performed by ten dancers aged from 23 to 59, including two apprentice dancers from Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds.
The action starts outside on the street, as a number of anonymously dressed figures seem almost compelled to reach the doorway of an unassumingly looking building. Once inside, they start to transition and are explosively reborn in a multitude of physical forms.
The performance reflects the themes of discovery, rebirth and transformation and incorporates the iconography of dance through the past century.
It features costumes by fashion designer Nasir Mazhar and music from Dr Who composer, Murray Gold. At just under 25 minutes long, it premiered to a full house at Tyneside Cinema in June 2023.
Liv Lorent formed balletLORENT in 1993 after graduating from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She relocated the company to Newcastle-upon-Tyne three years later and it is now based in the west of the city. The balletLORENT Youth Academy works with young people from all backgrounds.
Liv Lorent said: “It hard to believe we’ve been doing this for 30 years.
"The Becoming celebrates the physical and emotional business of performance. Interest in dance at every level has grown in the time we’ve been working. People are more willing to give dance space, culture has changed massively, and dance has definitely become more mainstream. In youth culture, on prime-time TV, in musical theatre and major music tours – most people have now seen contemporary dance. It’s a universal language that speaks to everyone.
“Our in-theatre audiences have been growing, with full houses and great turnouts for shows in Newcastle, Leeds, Darlington and London this year. Streaming The Becoming can take our work to a new and broader audience. We have had 30,000 views for the trailer in the first few days, which is very exciting – we are still getting used to those numbers.
"Newcastle has been very good to us over the last three decades. We have met and worked with some of the most amazing dancers from around the North East. Our dancers come from all walks of life. Many don't have a traditional dance background. They have trained in other fields including gymnastics, or they came to dance later in life.”
Caroline Reece, who has danced with balletLORENT since 1996, said: "Liv creates a special kind of magic on stage with synergy between all the dancers. The Becoming is an incredible tribute to what her company has achieved over the last 30 years."