03 July 2024

Sea of Troubles wins Best Film Award

An innovative production of the rarely-seen ballet Sea of Troubles, filmed on location at Hatfield House, has recently won the Best Film Award at the National Dance Awards.

Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan’s Sea of Troubles , inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, poignantly explores universal human emotions of grief, jealousy and the drive for revenge.

The film has recently been included in Dance Revolutionaries, a captivating 74-minute exploration of raw emotion through dance set in stunning locations, showcasing Portraits – an intimate series of five solos created with award-winning dancers, and Sea of Troubles.

Emmy-nominated director David Stewart’s film explores the emotive world of two dance visionaries: Kenneth MacMillan and Robert Cohan, who have redefined our connection to the art form.

Yorke Dance Project, in partnership with the Royal Ballet, and with award-winning artists Romany Pajdak, Dane Hurst, and Jonathan Goddard, produces and performs this extraordinary journey, providing unprecedented access to the revolutionary works of Cohan and MacMillan.

Producer’s statement – Yolande Yorke-Edgell

What connects us as human beings is our shared experience, the compassion and empathy we feel in understanding each other’s physical and emotional reality. Robert Cohan and Kenneth MacMillan were both compelled by this shared, human experience to make their dances real for audiences. They sought to express what we all know – what it is to be human.

Though working in different styles, Cohan in contemporary dance and MacMillan in ballet, they each changed how we experienced dance at a pivotal moment in dance history.

Moving away from the stylised, fairytale storytelling of much traditional ballet, MacMillan brought a deep, psychological reality to the stories he choreographed. In doing so, he drew deeper emotional truth from the dancers’ performances which at times was received with some resistance as audiences were not used to experiencing this sort of work.

At the same time, Cohan had formed the London Contemporary Dance Theatre in 1967. He brought all that he had learned from working with Martha Graham to the company and encouraged his dancers to find the essential, inner vibration which made movement necessary. His dances were driven by the search for a truth which audiences would recognise in themselves in unspoken ways.

Yorke Dance Project now brings two incredible works by these dance revolutionaries to the screen, allowing audiences to fully immerse themselves in the movement, connecting to dancers and the drama on a deeper, more immediate level.

In Portraits, Robert Cohan creates a series of intimate solo portraits, each conveying the essence of the dancer and how Cohan experienced them as artists. Completed when he was ninety-five years old, Cohan’s lifetime of experience is intricately woven into each dance.

MacMillan’s Sea of Troubles takes its inspiration from Shakespeare, capturing Hamlet’s grief anxiety, fears and the consequences of loss. MacMillan beautifully portrays the intensity and universality of these visceral elements of the human condition.

Commented Director David Stewart:

“Dance revolutionaries is a revolution in how to make a dance movie. It’s dance for the many, not the few.”

The film is being screened now in over 80 cinemas nationwide.



Sea of Troubles wins Best Film Award - Hatfield Park