After a nation-wide search, six exciting choreographers have been selected take part in this year’s Ignition Dance Festival. Each will create an original work to be premiered next month at the Rose Theatre Kingston.
And one of them is West London-based dancer, performer, choreographer and dance teacher Salah El Brogy.
Hailing from Egypt, Salah was lead dancer for Akram Khan Company’s award-winning ensemble Vertical Road.
He is a graduate of Cairo Opera House Contemporary Dance Theatre School, where he trained in dance, acting, singing, theatre and music – turning him into an all-round artist. Just before he graduated he became one of the soloists for Cairo Opera House Contemporary Dance Company.
Starting his life with martial arts at the tender age of eight, Salah eventually joined his home city’s Ismailia Folkloric Dance Troupe in his teens. However, Salah has had a constant thirst for the next challenge and subsequently joined the Reda Troupe, the first and biggest folklore dance company in the Middle East.
Salah choreographed his first production in 2007 entitled Incidents Change but the Meaning is One. In 2008, the French Cultural Centre in Cairo (now French Institute) awarded him the Best Dancer Award for his part in The Newspaper and the following year he choreographed, performed and toured his solo Adrenalin in Lebanon, UK, France and Egypt.
From 2010-2012, Salah worked with celebrated British choreographer Akram Khan and upon finishing Vertical Road’s world tour, he opened Salah El Brogy Company to pursue his own artistic vision. In 2015, Salah became an Emerging Choreographer Award nominee for Dance London.
Extemporaneous is a dance vocabulary that Salah built from improvisation and remains improvised, developed initially for himself in order to overcome his challenge of remembering choreography due to being severely dyslexic. Salah has turned his limitation into an opportunity.
Extemporaneous is one of three elements that make up the founding signatures of Salah’s dance choreography. The others are drawing inspiration from his Egyptian, African, Middle Eastern heritage and his eclectic mix of other disciplines he trained in (martial arts, kung fu, yoga, whirling Dervish, Egyptian folklore, hip hop, capoeira, ballet, contemporary).
He now teaches his Extemporaneous Dance Style Workshops regularly aiming to give his students elements that will allow them to have free-form thinking and to find their own distinctive way of moving.
Salah’s company credits include: Hurriyah (Freedom) (2013, Nour Festival); Halfway to the Other Side (2014, International Dance Festival Birmingham and The Place's Spring Loaded); The Moment (2014, Nour Festival and 2016, The Mosaic Rooms); The Race (2015, The Place's Resolution Festival and 2016, DanceWest’s Dance in the Square) and GLITCH (2016, The Place's Resolution Festival).
His piece for Ignition Dance Festival, entitled Letting Go, is about the disorder of emotion that you go through when you lose loved ones.
“That work is dedicated to the soul of my father,” said the Artistic Director of Salah El Brogy Company, who lost his father in 2010.
Here's Salah's interview with DanceWest about his piece:
Salah recently performed extracts of The Race, an ensemble he created for The Place's Resolution Festival in 2015:
Other choreographers participating in this year’s Ignition Dance Festival are: Cindy Claes, Thomasin Gulgec, Estela Merlos, Jane Coulston and Sally Marie. All six have performed with some of the world’s leading choreographers and dance companies before launching their own choreographic careers.
Festival organisers, DanceWest have been delighted by the volume and quality of applications.
Producer and Choreographer Rosie Whitney-Fish said: “The interest we’ve had from dance artists has been astonishing, but the choreographers we’ve commissioned are really special.
“The festival, now in its third year, is going from strength to strength.”
What to expect from this year’s festival? Now in its third year, it is the only festival of its kind in West London.
The two-day in July event showcases brand new work by pioneering choreographers at Kingston’s Rose Theatre.
Catch this year’s Ignition Festival at the Rose Theatre Kingston on Saturday, July 2.