My knowledge of dance consists of watching several series worth of Strictly Come Dancing, one trip to the ballet and learning the moves to Whigfields ‘Saturday Night’ at school (if you have no idea what this is, YouTube it, it will give you a laugh if nothing else). So when my friend April suggested watching a contemporary dance performance of Scattered by Motionhouse at the Nottingham Playhouse, I had nothing to base any expectations on, but I said yes anyway.
Why did I say yes? It seemed a great opportunity to experience a totally different type of creativity. Although my main creative outlet is making jewellery, I love trying new things, having ago at different crafts and techniques, which is one of the reasons this blog has evolved into what it is today. I also find inspiration for my jewellery and craft DIYs from a wide variety of sources, be it magazines, Pinterest, art exhibitions and visiting museums. Why not from contemporary dance?
One of the first things that struck me as we sat in the theatre, was the variety of people who were in the audience. There were families, groups of students, people on their own and a huge range of ages. I was especially pleased to see children being taken by their parents. April told me not to expect a story, that contemporary dance was more about enjoying the movement and finding your own meaning. But as a former fine art student, I couldn’t help but look for themes and meaning!
The show was a series of sequences, with water a common theme, set in different. The screen projections helped to create unique worlds, from icebergs and fridges to deserts and waterfalls.The stage was set with a large curved wall at the back, served as both a projection surface and climbing frame for the performers. They threw themselves at it, off of it and around it, sometimes with the aid of ropes and lengths of fabric, but generally just with their own bodies. I don’t think I was expecting the dancers to be so physically intense! They were so incredibly fit, I was knackered just watching them.
Despite the athletic nature of the dancing, they still managed to seem so completely in the moment, and I don’t think I ever thought that dancing could involve acting as well. There were times that were funny, including a section involving gargling, that I don’t think I could even begin to describe! And a section with water bottles that was just perfectly done. The movements seemed quite fluid, which I suppose fit with the water theme and despite my lack of technical dance knowledge, I recognised little things like Argentine tango kicks and Indian inspired moves. There was also a lot that reminded me of free running.
It was really refreshing to see something different, to experience a new form of creativity. It is so easy to get settled in whatever type of art or craft you normally do and not venture beyond it. But creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it grows from trying, experiencing and being inspired by new things. So have a look at what is on in your local theatres, galleries and workshops and pick something that is out of your normal creative comfort zone.