By Glen Screeton
AFTER briefly seeing Indie band ‘Gondolas’ at HMV, I hot-footed across Warrington Town Centre to get to the Pyramid Arts Centre with 5 minutes to spare for the first of three shows by Dance Company Carpi.
Readers will recall from my earlier preview that this was going to be my first experience of a dance, music and poetry performance otherwise known as ‘When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow’
Local musician and a former student of dance – Vicky Williams, assured me I would ‘love it’, so with my daughter in tow I was a little intrigued as I entered the darkened auditorium with approx 25 others for the 3pm performance. I did some prior reading on the website so I knew the show was generally about the changing of the seasons and the order and chaos of nature, but as we sat in the dimly lit room awash with blue light I guessed Winter was being depicted as the only other light was being directed at the string quintet who sat perfectly still whilst 6 dancers from the supporting troupe lay prone before us.
This was far removed from my usual haunts of noisy pubs, clubs and festivals and the respectful silence from the audience awaiting the start was quite remarkable and being on unfamiliar ground here I daren’t move a muscle! However I didn’t have to wait long before the prone dancers started to ‘wake up’ slowly, akin to previously sown Autumn seeds.
Very soon they were whirling around the floor in cleverly choreographed movements and I think being so near to the dancers made me realize this was intensely rehearsed as being in the wrong position at the wrong time could have spelt disaster at that speed.
After 5 tense mins or so the ‘seeds’ fluttered away to be replaced by the trio of dancers mentioned in the nicely produced programme. Clad in brown, green and blue I thought these represented the 3 parts of a flower in Spring time and accompanied by the string quintet plucking and drawing with increasing tempo the dancers performed with magnificent athleticism and gracefulness. All cardinal points of the floor were covered in rapid succession and the interlocking ballet- like movements were very precise.
The representation of Spring was interjected with some lovely poetry by Mary Talbot which slowly evolved into Summer and was enhanced by a superb audio soundtrack of buzzing insects and a gentle breeze that had me searching for the speakers of a wonderful surround-sound PA system.
Naturally, Autumn followed Summer and the excellent string quintet were working hard now to represent the chaos of fading life supplemented by further reflective poetry of Mary Talbot. Before long the ‘seeds’ rushed in again like spindrifts endlessly circling the ‘flower’ during its dying moments and then there was an eerie silence as all of the dancers lay prone again and Winter had returned with its pale, low Sun.
Overall, I was very impressed with this short 30 minute performance and the clever lighting and excellent acoustics made it very enjoyable and I hope my interpretation of it was correct, although I have no doubt someone will advise otherwise!
Regular readers will know by now that I always close with “Would I go again?”. Well, I’m not sure if the prior reading helped me appreciate it more, so if I do decide to watch another performance I will have to adopt the same approach of the untrained eye. However, I very much admired the dedication and sheer hard work from all of the company that must go into the staging of such an event, so hats off to them all.