Liv Lorent celebrates 30 years of female-led productions at balletLORENT

The Newcastle-based dance company balletLORENT, founded by Liv Lorent in 1993, celebrates its 30th anniversary by returning to Cast with its production of Rapunzel and the adult interpretation Rapunzel After Dark.
The two shows, on 8 and 9 September, can be watched independently, but offer a deeper kind of storytelling when digested as a pair. balletLORENT founder Liv believes this to be the first time a dance company has staged a work in this way.
Liv, who was awarded an MBE in 2014 for her services to dance, is renowned for her strong, female-led casts and productions, and the two productions of Rapunzel are no different.
“Rapunzel and Rapunzel After Dark have many similarities, and share some identical scenes,” she says. “But Rapunzel After Dark is explicit and unashamedly about female desire, rage and ambition to become a mother no matter what it costs.
"Both versions are told from a female perspective and are made through the female gaze."
Rapunzel – first staged at Cast in 2013 - was the balletLORENT’s first of many collaborations with Dame Carol Ann Duffy. The former Poet Laureate is a long-time collaborator of Liv, and described her as “a national treasure” during a BBC Radio 4 interview in 2018.
Since graduating from the Laban Centre in 1993, Liv has created close to 100 works. These include musicals, dramas and international commissions alongside balletLORENT productions. Based in the north of England since 1996, Liv is renowned for her unique approach to choreography, casting differently abled and non-professional performers of all ages alongside professional dancers.
Rather than pushing people into exacting roles, she encourages them to develop their individual styles and create performances way beyond what they imagined to be possible.
Liv says of her approach: “Having an independent dance company means having freedom of ambition, and the ability to change shape and direction as many times as we feel driven. There has been no strategy, but a deep desire and curiosity to explore how wonderful dance is, how many ways it can be created, what it can communicate. 
“Happily, I have an amazing group of dancers that have let me endlessly experiment with them. And a board of trustees, producer, collaborators and staff who will keep an open mind and allow me to keep making work in response to our changing times and my changing life." 
And it’s not just Liz’s own changing life she incorporates into her productions.

As Caroline Reece, a 59-year-old dancer who has worked with Liv since 1996, explains: “Liv looks for the skill in the dancer, whether it’s contemporary or breakdance or any other form of less traditional dance, and then builds the performance around them. This focus on bringing out people’s strengths and creating roles for them is so reassuring to me.
“While I may not be able to jump and twirl across the stage anymore, my style and experience are what make me unique. I’ve danced with Liv and balletLORENT for almost 30 years and consider them to be my second family.”

In Rapunzel, pregnant dancers and new mothers perform in the show, their roles adapted to incorporate their changing physical capabilities. All aspects of the production, including rehearsals and backstage areas, are geared towards ensuring inclusivity for mums and babies, as well as the local children who appear in regional productions of Rapunzel.
By day, the family friendly Rapunzel and its cast of local children offers a gentler, though still darkly beautiful, retelling of the infamous story. The show sensitively navigates its way around the classic fable through movement, music and narration, and is suitable for audiences aged 5+.
Rapunzel After Dark is a no holds barred staging of the yarn, closer in spirit to the Brothers Grimms' original story, which was never intended for children. 
Friday 8 September at 6pm and Saturday 9 September 2023 at 2.30pm
Tickets from £14
Click here to book tickets
Rapunzel After Dark
Saturday 9 September 2023 at 8pm
Tickets from £14
 Click here to book tickets