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Cornish vertical dance company and creators of Cornish Bal Maiden performance "Estah's Story" Yskynna release performances online.

We are all currently missing Cornish cultural performances due to the lockdown surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. However we can now experience the magic of one of the UK’s most exciting vertical dance companies on YouTube from the comfort of our own homes. Several chapters of the work of Cornish-based Yskynna’s daring work will be released online over the next six months. This will form part of an ongoing programme of special digital, bite-size dance and storytelling events.

Yskynna (Cornish verb ‘to ascend’); founded by artistic Director David Greeves is a vertical dance company known for immersive and sensitive works. Performances take place in the vertical realm of iconic architecture, buildings, trees, cliffs and large open spaces. The Cornish company creates bespoke, location-based vertical dance and theatre-based storytelling. They bring historical characters and episodes alive in fresh and theatrical ways. With its 2020 production (Into the Deep Blue) postponed until 2021, the Yskynna team has taken to the digital world to re-create its back catalogue of thrilling performances and stories.

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Yskynna worked with the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site team last year to create "Estah's Story"; an immersive performance which took place at CMWHS key centre Heartlands in Pool. The story followed the life of a Cornish Bal Maiden and included an aeriel dance on the side of the Engine House.

The first performance the literally moving and sky-high performance of ‘Bligh Spirit’ will be released on June 3rd. This was developed in response to the popular exhibition ‘Captain Bligh: Myth, Man and Mutiny’ at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, Cornwall. The performance was originally created to occur whilst scaling the 26m high ‘lighthouse or observation deck’ of the Museum’s Lookout Tower in 2017. This epic performance is a hybrid of song, poetry, sea shanties and awe-inspiring dance inspired by the life of Captain Bligh.

Vice-Admiral William Bligh was an officer of the Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. The Mutiny on the Bounty occurred during his command of HMS Bounty in 1789. After being set adrift in Bounty's launch by the mutineers, Bligh and his loyal men all reached Timor alive, after a journey of 3,618 nautical miles.

Their journey has been described as one of the greatest small-boat survival voyages ever; a triumph of endurance, navigation and leadership against extraordinary odds. ‘Bligh Spirit’ recreates the arduous journey at all levels, with vertical dancers facing out to sea, descending on thin ropes suspended far above the choppy waters beneath. Echoing the element of risk and struggle faced daily at sea by Captain Bligh and his crew in 1789.

The performance is written by Yskynna’s founder David Greeves, whose previous productions include ‘Ghost Ships’ at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, and ‘If you go down to the Woods’ at Trebah Gardens. ‘Bligh Spirit focusses on a number of central themes including struggles at sea, loss, love and the highs and lows of return. Music punctuates this visual and vocal production, bringing together the voices of Lost in Song and the Daylight Choir, with spoken word wonderment by MC Mc Spoken and breath-taking aerial acrobatics.

Located on the aptly named, Discovery Quay in Falmouth, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall exists to bring new and diverse perspectives to maritime issues, and highlight their relevance to the present day. It is also that symbiotic relationship between place, location, structure and art that shines through so evidently in all of Yskynna’s awe-inspiring performances, making this partnership with the museum so apt.

David Greeves, artistic and creative director of Yskynna said, “As we cannot gather in crowds or attend events as we once did, we have to create in different ways when it comes to experiencing arts and culture. Fortunately for us, we have a lot of recorded material of our performances and we have seized this opportunity to share this with people craving that cultural fix during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we are bringing ‘Bligh Spirit’ into living rooms across the UK, keeping that connection with art, history and culture very much alive. We are so excited to showcase our storytelling and vertical dance virtually via YouTube during this crisis. For those who didn’t witness the physical performance, it gives them a true flavour of what we do.”

David continued, “Through all of our shows, we strive to tell global folklore and mythological tales by honouring cultural heritage with location-specific stories, drawing out and strengthening communities to enhance our sense of belonging to the past and present day. For ‘Bligh Spirit’, the music is hugely impactful to the performance and it was important for us to choose songs with a maritime feel to embed within the choreographic process, from A Drop of Nelson Blood to Captain Dread from Dreadzone. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of Yskynna’s partners and supporters as none of this would have been possible without them. These include the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, FEAST, Arts Council England, Fal River Festival, Lost in Song, Day Light Choir, Lovely Publications, AMATA at Falmouth University and all of our valued volunteers.”

Museum director at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Richard Dougherty said, “When David Greeves of Yskynna first approached us with a proposal to create a dance performance based on the infamous maritime story of captain Bligh on the outside of the museum building, using our iconic tower, we were both intrigued and concerned! We were concerned about the practical challenges and the potential health and safety risks to doing something at such height over water and exposed to all the elements. However, we were also intrigued and excited by all the possibilities. Not just artistic which were thrilling but also in terms of PR and audience engagement. This was doing something quite literally out of the museum’s box”.

Bligh Spirit will be available with narrated storytelling and exclusive interviews with cast and crew members via Yskynna’s social media platform from June 3rd. These can be found via @Yskynna on Facebook and Yskynna’s YouTube channel. To find out more about Yskynna’s performances, see: https://www.yskynna.co.uk/