Dancers and Choreographers the Alleyne Twins talk about their show ‘A Night’s Game’ playing as part of Certain Black’s ‘Shipbuilding Festival’

Renowned for showcasing the work of diverse artists across a multitude of disciplines, arts development organisation Certain Blacks continue on with their mission as they present their latest eclectic line up in their upcoming Shipbuilding Festival. A week long event exploring ‘what it is to be British and diverse in these challenging times’, post pandemic, Brexit and Black Lives Matter. Marking the conclusion of their year long development programme, the festival will present four different works, one of which including a performance from dance duo Alleyne Dance, consisting of identical twins Kristina and Sadé Alleyne. Acknowledged for their fusion of a range of dance styles, from West African dance to Kathak, originating from India performing to create resonant sequences – their latest work, A Night’s Game will be performed on Friday 18th February and seeks inspiration from stories of imprisonment, escape and fighting for freedom. Ahead of their performance, the duo tell us more about exploring these themes further, what it means to take part in Certain Black’s pertinent showcase and what they’ve taken away from working on the piece!

Alleyne Dance (AD) is a UK based company with an international reach, founded in 2014 by award winning dancers and twin sisters Kristina and Sadé Alleyne. The choreographic aesthetic reflects the sisters diverse background in athleticism and dance training. Within their abstract contemporary construct, Alleyne Dance blend West African, Caribbean, Hip Hop, Kathak and Circus Skills, delivered as fast paced and dynamic movement. They infuse lyrical and fluid motion, layered with rhythm and textures in physically powerful, yet graceful performances. Alleyne Dance strives for high quality and excellence as the Company delivers its three main objectives: performance, participation and development.

Hi Alleyne Dance, you’ll be taking part in Certain Blacks’ festival Shipbuilding with production A Night’s Game on Friday 18th February. How are feeling ahead of the festival?

We are so excited to be performing our work alongside an amazing programme of diverse artists. We look forward to sharing our passion with others as we love to dance, tell stories and express emotions through movement.

A Night’s Game is inspired by stories of imprisonment, escape and fighting for freedom. It asks the question – “How does it feel to have your freedom taken away from you?” What inspired you both to explore these themes further?

We were interested in reflecting on the anguish of incarceration, exploring the physical and personal prisons we create or are placed in. We wanted to create an intense and urgent piece that unfolds into something meditative. As sisters we wanted to summon an instinctive, triumphant sense of communion.

We like to draw from true stories/ true events and re-image them in an abstract way. We researched many individuals and prisons such as Otis Johnson and Issac Wright, and connected with the Innocent Project and visited Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.

Our slogan is PASSION & SWEAT: passion will lead you into a sweaty situation. In our practice we study how physicality can create an emotion or character.

How have you both worked together to realise the show?

A Night’s Game was the first piece produced by our company Alleyne Dance, which we founded in 2014. We enjoy blending West African, Caribbean, Hip Hop, Kathak and Circus Skills together in a contemporary context to explore expressions of the body, to allow our experiences and training to support and aid our physical language.

It was an interesting journey creating this work together. We agreed with each other a lot but did have moments of disagreement, so it was about comprise and trust.

Alongside developing the company strands Participation and Development, we were slowly creating our first work. This production would also be the birth of our work as a duo and the first stepping stone for the company.  As two individuals coming together, we had knowledge and experience that we could share with each other in order to create what would become the language of the company.

We love to celebrate our knowledge, traditions, practice, joy and emotion with others. We would say our physically, fearless approach provokes our emotions. We can say that we are both quite enthusiastic and daring in our practice. We enjoy the journey of discovering and bringing our vision to life.

Certain Blacks are renowned for their support of diverse artists within performance, live art, music and theatre. What does it mean to be a part of this showcase?

Visibility is very important to us. We were fortunate enough to have amazing heroes that we looked up to in our industry. We are always trying to continue the legacy from outstanding individuals who have paved the way for us to be here. We need to continue to inspire others in any aspect of work, and it’s important that we continue to share our passion for dance.

Our story relates to a lot of people who start their training later in life and share the same enjoyment for dance. Coming from sports and taking the brave step to shift into dance, we knew we had to commit to the training, do the research and work hard. That journey is what we share with others: that which seems impossible is possible.

Certain Blacks has created an amazing platform, where we can celebrate Diversity in British Art and be visible for the younger generation to continue in our steps, we are extremely happy to be a part of this journey.

What have you learned/taken away from the production?

We’ve built memories. It is a wonderful gift to perform together as a family. Performing this work, we have travelled the world and met so many amazing people. We have built a stronger performance relationship on stage. We feel invincible on stage knowing that we can 100% trust our partner. We have each other’s best interests in our hearts and yet we challenge each other to produce our best. We are each other’s biggest inspiration. We can now look back and be proud of our journey and excited for the next steps as Alleyne Dance Company.

What can audiences expect from the production?

Twin sisters bringing to the stage dynamism and athletic strength, delivered with grace and beauty to create a dark, atmospheric and abstract show that is as thrilling as it is powerful.

It is an emotional experience, surprising, uplifting and soulful.

What would you like for audiences to take away from the production?

We hope the audience dares to feel and embrace the emotional journey of watching this piece. We want the audience to experience the key issues that we are exploring in A Night’s Game, but we also hope to leave space for them to draw their own thoughts and conclusions.

Questions by Lucy Basaba.

The Shipbuilding Festival will take place from Friday 18th until Sunday 27th February 2022 at Rich Mix. To find out more, visit here…

A Night’s Game will play on Friday 18th February 2022 as part of the Shipbuilding Festival at Rich Mix. To find out more about the production, visit here…

To find out more about Alleyne Dance, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop