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2012 was Andy Howitt’s 30th year in dance, which he wanted to mark by working with artists who have inspired him, choreographers he has worked with before and dancers who make him want to create new and inspiring dance theatre. Andy is inspired by working with visionary artists, discussing ideas, and by the possibilities afforded by creating something new.

Stephen Deazley and Andy Howitt wanted to collaborate on a production which embeds live music at the heart of their work for some time. The piece was in development for over a year, and both agreed that although challenging, the process was very fruitful in the creation of a major new score for a dance work.

Choreographer & Director: Andy Howitt
Composer & Music Director: Stephen Deazley
Lighting Designer: Simon Gane
Costumes: Slaters Menswear
Producer: Jennifer Phillips

Deliberance was a Citymoves Dance Agency and Aberdeen Performing Arts co-production, with financial support from Creative Scotland and the PRS for Music Foundation.

Audience Feedback

“Just fabulous. Amazing to see 12 male dancers of this calibre on stage at one time. It has set the bar high for the festival”

“I absolutely loved Deliberance. Wonderful – so moving and beautifully performed. Superb music too. Amazing!”

“hugely enjoyable but, more importantly – as great art should be – very thought provoking.”

“we were absolutely mesmerised!”


World Premiere: 16th October 2012
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, DanceLive Festival

21st November 2012
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh


The Herald: 4 stars
Mary Brennan | 23 November 2012

Choreographer Andy Howitt cites a line from the 1957 film, 12 Angry Men, as his starting point for this pleasingly ambitious all-male dance piece. The line – “it takes a great deal of courage to stand alone” – refers, in the film, to Henry Fonda’s lone stance in a jury room against the guilty verdict voted for by the others. You could say that, here, the injustice Howitt is addressing – and opposing to stirring effect – is the way older dancers are edged off-stage even when they clearly still have much to offer choreographers and audiences alike.

Howitt’s 12 men in sharp suits range in age from 27 to 65. So, there are age-related degrees of difference in each man’s technique. But, given the diversity of training within the group – some have a classical ballet background, others majored in contemporary, a couple went the way of hip-hop, those kinetic contrasts would still have been the case even if the men had all been twentysomethings. Seeing the reunion of so many erstwhile shakers and movers on the Scottish dance scene is a treat in itself, but add Stephen Deazley’s urgent, thoughtful score (played live), combine it with the emotional investment and expressive physical focus of the dancers, and all the dramatic conflict, swithering and stubborn resolve that’s charted in the shifting balance of the jury’s show of hands is potently conveyed.

You can read the moral anguish, the power plays, the crises of conscience that each man characters into his dance, never more so than when the last man, Malcolm Shields, crumples into “not guilty” acquiescence. A tour de force, gentlemen – memorable for all the best reasons.

The Scotsman
Rating: * * * *
Review: Kelly Apter | 23 November 2012

With a larger space to play with than Henry Fonda and co, the creator of 12 Dancers faced a different but equally tough challenge: conveying the idiosyncrasies of each jury member, their relationship with each other, and the legal intricacies of the case without saying a single word. Choreographer and director, Andy Howitt (who also takes on the Fonda role on stage) had his work cut out, and does an admirable job conveying the major themes of the storyline. Inevitably, aspects of the plot are lost, with only those very familiar with the original able to spot references such as the passing train.

But the sense of tension, persuasion, frustration and resignation is palpable, helped in no small part by Stephen Deazley’s superb original score, played live on stage. To give his “jury” an air of authenticity, Howitt has assembled a cast of male dancers ranging in age from 27-65, and it is this that really sets the show apart. Yes, it leads to an inconsistent technical standard, but look what riches we receive as compensation. Young bucks like Daniel Aing and his seamless blend of breakdance and contemporary catch the eye, but so too does Ian Spink’s quiet grace, Norman Douglas’ theatricality and Malcolm Shields’ emotional strength. All twelve have something unique to offer, be it agility, drama or passion.

Dancers deliver stunning show
Kate O’Neil
Evening Express | 17th October 2012

This year’s DanceLive festival began with a hypnotic performance by a group of elite dancers – some of whom had not danced for 20 years. Andy Howitt’s show in His Majesty’s Theatre last night proved that masters of a trade never lose their touch as he brought some of the greatest talent across decades together to give a mesmerizing spectacle of this world premiere. All 12 dancers, even those over the age of 60, looked as fresh as 18-year-olds and captivated the audience with their light feet and athleticism.
Accompanied by beautiful music, composed by Stephen Deazley, the crowd remained silent as the combination of sound and movement had a hypnotizing effect. The dancers also took on the role of actors as they played the part of jurors deciding on someone’s fate. They used just their body movements to portray the conflict, anger and frustration of the piece. A truly memorable performance.

Creative Team and Cast Biographies:

Choreographer & Director: Andy Howitt
Composer & Music Director: Stephen Deazley
Lighting Designer: Simon Gane
Costumes: Slaters Menswear, Aberdeen
Producer: Jennifer Phillips

Creative Team

Andy Howitt | Choreographer & Director
Andy was born in Fife, and started dancing with Fife Youth Dance Company with Royston Maldoom and Tammy McLorg before going training at Laban Centre. He went on to work with a number of dance companies including Transitions Dance Company, Diversions, Scottish Opera, Scottish Dance Theatre and Dundee Rep Dance Company before being appointed Dance Director for Tag Theatre Company.

In 1999 Andy became Artistic Director of YDance and has created a number of dance productions especially for young people. Currently, he is the Artistic Director of Citymoves Dance Agency. Andy has also appeared as the mystery guest on the BBC One panel show, They Think It’s All Over! and with Tam Cowan on Offside dancing the Archie Gemmill Goal. He has choreographed works for St Magnus Festival, MacRobert, Maiden Voyage and created works for companies across the UK including Club 1 ate 5 (Perth Youth Theatre), Schwa (Scottish Dance Theatre), Hannah & Hanna and Club Asylum (Company of Angels), Dance Machine (Tramway), Rural Image (Celtic Connections), DSCH (Theatre Cryptic), Summer Lighting and Pinocchio (Citizens’ Theatre).

Stephen Deazley | Composer & Music Director
Born in Belfast in 1969 Stephen Deazley is an award winning Scottish based composer, music director and renowned music educator. He is a past recipient of a BritishAcademy of Composers Award for his work in education. Recent commissions include works for Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera, a cabaret work for internationally renowned Sacconi Quartet and soloist Matthew Sharp, and a multi-media work for ensemble, electronics and video commissioned by Glasgow Music and UNESCO. In 2013 his latest songbook for young voices and orchestra A LITTLE BOOK OF MONSTERS will be performed by Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Welsh National Opera and by more than 1,500 young children across the UK. New projects include orchestral music for BBC Radio 4 in collaboration with poet Michael Symmons-Roberts and performances as part of Music For Youth’s Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. He is founder and director of the eclectic performance group Music at the Brewhouse, who have developed a portfolio of international cross-art collaborations, including two commissioned works for Tramway in Glasgow, and founder and director of Love Music Festival.

Simon Gane | Lighting Designer
Simon is a freelance Designer and Production Manager. He trained in his home town at the Bristol Old Vic as a Technician and has been working in the industry for over 25 years. Venue based as a Technical Manager for many years including TIC TOC and The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen as part of the original founding Team. He left the world of a secure salary in 2003 to forge a more creative path. Now freelance he designs lighting, small sets and provides production support for all kinds of events and shows.

Original Cast and Musicians

Daniel Aing
After first learning Capoeira, Daniel Aing, who comes from Marseille, went on to discover a passion for dance. Daniel has taught and performed for YDance, in Off Kilter, at the “Heads Up” Festival at DanceBase, and toured with Harnisch-Lacey Dance Theatre. Daniel is currently working on the way to mix various styles together, including contemporary, breaking, popping, capoeira and martial arts to form a unique style of movement – blending fluidity, flexibility, strength and power.

Angus McLean Balbernie
Over the last 30 years Angus has created around 80 pieces, performed and taught accross Europe, N+S America, Canada and Asia. Began training in dance and theatre in his teens, gave up, worked as a plasterer, did street theatre in Provence, trained in Tai Chi in China, then got a degree in dance and theatre at Dartington College Of Arts. Taught for donkey’s years at EDDC/artEZ Arnhem, Scottish School Of Contemporary Dance and Dartington, and was guest professor of choreography at KNUA S Korea, and still is at LEM Buenos Aires. Now a lecturer in choreography at Northern School Of Contemporary Dance. When not doing stuff he lives on a hill in Provence, plays the banjo, and knows Neitzsch was spot-on when he said “Never touch an idea you had sitting down”.

Norman Douglas
Norman Douglas is an International award winning choreographer born in Glasgow. He trained at The London Contemporary Dance School and works extensively in the UK and Europe, as a teacher, dancer, producer, educationalist, choreographer, rehearsal director, as well as being a dance advisor for The Edinburgh International Festival. Artistic Director of Norman Douglas & Co, he is known as a choreographer for his artistic collaborations, working in different genres from fashion to films choreographing large scale works, creating works in museums, site specific and performance installations. He created Morir Por Ti for the Edinburgh International Fringe and toured the work all over Europe. He was awarded the Inaugural Scottish Creative Arts Award 2000, and a Creative Scotland Choreographic Fellowship Award 2010/11.

Matthew Hawkins
Matthew Hawkins’ initial Royal Ballet training and performing is now outstripped by three decades of an innovative freelance career that includes choreography, performance, teaching and writing. Currently Edinburgh-based, Hawkins’ creative projects are supported by Creative Scotland’s Professional Development and Choreographic Futures awards.

Allan Irvine
Allan Irvine started Breakdancing in 1984. He studied dance at Scottish School of Contemporary Dance and Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Allan teaches, choreographs and performs and has worked with professional and community groups including Dundee Rep, Y Dance, Grid Iron, Traverse, Danssa, MacRobert Arts Centre, Cois Ceim (Dublin) Royal Festival Hall (London) British Council (New Zealand) National Theatre of Scotland. Allan has been Youth Dance Outreach Worker at Dance Base since 2001 and works with marginalised groups. In 1996 Allan established his award winning company, Freshmess, who perform and teach a unique blend of Hip Hop and Contemporary styles.

Aaron Jeffrey
Aaron graduated from the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance (SSCD) The Space in 2010 and performed with the graduate company throughout the UK. He has performed for the All 1 Forum production No Secret Garden in Hamburg and lived and worked in Germany creating and performing “Abwesen” for choreographer Ursina Tossi. Aaron has performed and choreographed for the Edinburgh Fringe and has performed with Retina Dance Company, he has also toured work by Errol White and Pete Shenton, and is currently a dancer with Max.IMEALLdance based in Edinburgh. Before his dance training he studied Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, which has fed his approach to creating dance and has sculpted his choreographic practice.

Steven Martin
Steven began training in Dundee in 2003 at the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance. He graduated in June 2007 and then began an apprenticeship with Scottish Dance Theatre through the London Contemporary Dance School. He performed in ‘Sorry for the missiles’ by Vanessa Haska, ‘Dog’ by Hofesh Shechter and two works by Liv Lorent ‘Tenderhook’ and ‘Luxuria’. He finished his apprenticeship but stayed as a dancer with the company until September 2008. Steven joined Retina in 2009 for the production of Antipode, followed by Relative Danger, La Lutte and Layers of Skin.

Tony Mills
Tony Mills is a founder member of Edinburgh based Random Aspekts B Boy crew and hails from the Orkney Isles. Since giving up veterinary surgery whites for tights, he has worked with Freshmess Dance Company, State of Emergency, Off Kilter, Iron Oxide, Curious Seed, David Hughes Dance Productions and Russian physical theatre maestros, Derevo. His adventures into choreography have seen him assist Ian Spink for Scottish Ballet’s EIF production, Petruska, as well as commissions for Artlink, Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre, The Arches Circus School and Youth Musical TheatreUK. Tony is a keen ambassador for the breakdance scene in Scotland and has been involved in the production and hosting of major dance events including the Edinburgh leg of the national Breakin’ Convention tours in 2007, ’09, ’10 and ’12 at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.Tony is a die hard coffee fan and has a lingering penchant for croissants.

Peter Royston
Peter Royston trained at The Royal Ballet School and Arts educational. He danced with the Royal ballet of Flanders and as soloist with Scottish Ballet for 10 years . He was commissioned to create 3 full scale works for Scottish Ballet and subsequently created Scottish Dance Theatre (first version) to showcase his contemporary work . Peter was dance artist in residence in the Borders before being appointed dance Director at DundeeCollege where he created The Scottish School of Contemporary Dance offering Training to degree level .After 20 years in Dundee Peter has recently been appointed dance development officer for Perth and Kinross.

Malcolm Shields
Malcolm works extensively as an actor, choreographer, musician and a dancer. As well as performing, he also choreographed most of the following examples from his wide repertoire of productions: Theatre Includes: Tam‘O Shanter,The Government Inspector,Julius Caesar, Trainspotting, Callums Road,Tall Tales,to name a few. TV Credits: The Lost World, Taggart, Hound of The Baskervilles,Monarch Of the Glen,Rebus,CavanaghQC. Film Credits: Video The Magic Numbers,Green,Perfect Sense,Crying With Laughter,Death Defying Acts,Hallam Foe,Orphans. Dance Credits: Dundee Rep Dance Company,Gregory Nash,Scottish Ballet Steps Out,The Kosh,Wendy Houston, Plan B.

Ian Spink
Australian born, Ian danced and choreographed with The Australian Ballet, Australian Dance Theatre and Dance Company of New South Wales. He moved to London 1977 and danced with Richard Alston and Dancers and later the Ian Spink Group. In 1982 Ian co-founded Second Stride Dance Company with Siobhan Davies and Richard Alston. Ian’s freelance work has included directing plays, operas and music theatre and choreographing with Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet, the Citizens Theatre, Opera North, Royal Shakespeare Company, Opera Zuid, Royal National Theatre, Rambert Dance Company and Joint Stock. Ian was the Artistic Director of Citymoves Dance Agency in Aberdeen (2005-10) and he now works as an independent choreographer and director based in Glasgow..

William Thorburn
William Thorburn is a choreographer, dance performer and capoeira teacher. He received a scholarship to Laban and the Lisa Ullman Scholarship to travel to Brazil. After his Advanced Performance Postgraduate Diploma Will worked as a soloist for Union Dance, Freshmess and others. He has worked with Plan B and SNT, Adion Avion the Welsh Cultural Olympiad and performed ‘Perguntas’ with the Dance Collective. Recently he was the choreographer of Jamp for Bright Night International and performed in 925 at the Edinburgh Mela. He has set up his own Dance Company: Product.

Yann Ghiro
Yann Ghiro was born in 1971 in Nice and began clarinet lessons at the age of eleven. After studying at the Paris Conservatoire, where he gained first prize in clarinet, bass clarinet and chamber music, Yann furthered his studies at the PragueMozartAcademy. A Fulbright Scholarship then allowed him to undertake studies at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, graduating in 1996. On his return to France he became principal bass clarinet in the Pasdeloup Orchestra in Paris, whilst also appearing regularly with Paris Opera, Orchestre de Paris, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 1998 Yann has been the principal clarinet in the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He is regularly invited as guest principal with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, Northern Symphonia, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Philharmonia Orchestra and most recently joined the Cleveland Orchestra for their European tour.

Max Baillie
Violin & Viola
Max Baillie is fast establishing himself as one of the most versatile musicians of his generation. Equally at home on both violin and viola, he crosses an exciting spectrum of music and performance mediums including classical, pop, improvisation, composing and directing and collaborations with dance and electronics. Max has appeared on stages from Carnegie Hall to Glastonbury from Mali to Moscow, and plays regularly for TV and radio broadcast. As principal viola in Aurora Orchestra Max featured this summer in Maxamorphosis, a specially commissioned work by composer Julian Philips. It drew on Max’s background in dance, seeing a transformation from viola soloist into dancer and was received with top reviews in national press, including 5 * in the Times. His own projects include a duo with Gambian kora (West African harp) master Sura Susso and ZRi, a group which faithfully re-imagines Brahms’ clarinet quintet as written for a folk ensemble of its time, a santouri and accordion in place of the two middle string parts.He graduated with top honours from both Christ’s College, Cambridge and the UdK in Berlin and plays the mandolin.

Matthew Sharp
Matthew Sharp has performed at major venues and festivals worldwide as solo cellist, bass-baritone and actor. He has appeared with the RPO, LPO, RLPO, CBSO, EUCO, Manchester Camerata and Ural Philharmonic, performed principal roles for ROH2 (Exposure, Pleasure’s Progress), Opera North (Papageno, Pied Piper), Almeida Opera (The Silent Twins) and the Young Vic (Wolf and Hero), given solo performances at the Glastonbury and Latitude festivals, recorded for Sony, Naxos and Avie, given over fifty world premieres and appeared in recital as cellist and singer at Wigmore Hall, SBC and Salle Gaveau. Last year, for Opera North alone, he wrote and directed A Ghost Story for Christmas, performed the Bach Suites at Light Night Festival, sang in The Lost Chord and conceived their ‘Four Seasons’ collaboration with the YorkshireSculpturePark, now a sell-out series in its second season. As writer, composer and performer, he collaborates regularly with leading artists from film, theatre and dance. Matthew is the artistic director of the Deal Festival of Music and the Arts.

Calum Gourlay
Double Bass
Bassist Calum Gourlay was born in Glasgow in 1986. He began playing the cello in primary school and at the age of fourteen took up the double bass having developed an interest in jazz. He was the first bassist selected for the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra and also played and learned with NYJOS and FYJO whilst growing up in Scotland. Calum was picked as the only jazz bass player for the Royal Academy of Music jazz course in 2004 and graduated with a first class honours B.Mus.(Jazz) degree in 2008. Based in London since 2004 Calum plays regularly up and down the country and has played with many illustrious names including the Kit Downes Trio, the Tommy Smith Group, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Martin Speake, Martin Kershaw, Stacey Kent, Sheila Jordan and Trish Clowes.