Paisley Arts Centre
Four little tents, a stage strewn with crispy autumn leaves, a line of colourful wellies at the front – is some-one mid-term camping in the countryside? The nursery tots are nicely (and quietly!) settled, when magic happens: one of the zipped-up tents starts moving about… Soon all four tents are grooving to the music that’s crept in alongside the bird song and the tinies are giggling because it’s daft, like an animated cartoon. It’s a cute beginning to a very clever dance piece by Indepen-dance 4, aimed at the 3 to 5 age group who are – like the four chums emerging from the tents – discovering that friendship is great fun until it goes wrong.
Steve Prickett’s choreography for this integrated company makes good use of everyday routines and familiar playground games to explore what is, essentially, the ‘early years’ learning curve. The dancers – Hayley Earlam, Adam Sloan, Emma Smith and Neil Price – get into a merry fankle putting their clothes on: where does an arm or a leg or a head go?
Wellies on, it’s time to lark about among the leaves before the happy-go-lucky camraderie dissolves during an increasingly competitive game of Musical Statues. Accusations of cheating see Earlam and Smith go off in a very obvious huff, but there’s an emotional fall-out that director Anna Newell and Prickett deftly weave into choreographic motifs that are full of re-building trust.
The complex demands of falling and catching, high-flying lifts, supportive double-work reveal just how technically assured these dancers are, and how persuasively they keep the moves ‘in character’ and part of the story-telling. In all, it’s a genial, well-structured half-hour where the colourful designs (by Brian Hartley) and jaunty music (by David Goodall) create layers of interesting detail while the dance itself keeps the wee ones remarkably fidget-free and captivated.
Source : HeraldScotland