So that’s it. The 1st June came and went. The moment I had been preparing for for months. The moment when, after selling our Promo Codes the fastest (for discounted tickets), after the quickest turnaround from Ludens Ensemble with their sail like set stood in the auditorium was taken down and replaced by hundreds of seats – speedily by a sea of helpful and lovely volunteers, after all dance pieces running their stressful tech rehearsals, after all people and all props sitting ready and waiting in the make-shift ambient greenroom, after getting the dance floor (thanks Dance Base!) which my car’s suspension miraculously survived and after laying it down the night before to allow it to settle, that we went on stage.
And then it was done. No more worries. No more remembering that I need to ensure I get that dance floor tape. No more panicking about dancers’ flights being on time so that all could make our final rehearsal, just hours before the show. No more sleepless nights trying to remember something that I am SURE that I have forgotten (apparently this was the rest of life as it went whizzing past in a Hidden Door whirlwind). No more writing and re-writing the programme at the worry it doesn’t quite read how I wanted it to.
It went well. It went really, really well.
Threefold consisted of 3 pieces, all produced by Scottish Choreographers. They were new works, exciting works, and they contrasted and complimented each other in doing so. I invited the other works to be part of the evening and was so honoured when they accepted. Big thanks to the choreographers for being part of such a special night.
Tess Letham shared her solo, How to Survive the Future
“Good evening. I’m afraid I have some bad news. Please take a seat. Are you sitting comfortably?
In this new solo work, developed through professional residency at Dance Base (Edinburgh) choreographer/performer Tess Letham takes a journey through a collections of funny, tragic and beautiful scenes derived from deep personal experiences. This is a powerful tale of human fragility and an anxious search for identity when faced with vast uncertainties in life. A desperate struggle to cling to some stability through the loss of major relationships, the wavering complexity of love and grave concern for what the future holds.
Blending contemporary dance and physical theatre, How to Survive the Future, travels through an array of undetermined pathways, led by vulnerable and captivating characters. An intriguing, heartbreaking and hopeful story of how we try to keep going when everything is crumbling around us.”
This deeply personal work allowed people to see themselves as they watched Tess dance on stage, moving as if another was there, breaking down, building herself back up, and doing many of the day to day things we try to allow us to get through our lives, in disregard to whatever is falling down around us. The piece was funny, sad and allowed us as audience members to feel a connection to her, as she moved beautifully and perfectly around the space. Her costume changes were witty. Her music choices were relatable.
“what Tess was doing – that was me! That’s what I do!!!’ (audience member)
We then had a fiery duet choreographed by Katie Armstrong, HAND // SHAKE
“HAND // SHAKE explores the complexity of the first movement of Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor. The piece is inspired and driven by the pulse of the music, and manifests itself as a meeting between two characters.”
This piece was short, but did not miss anything out due to time. The work inspired by the music, and using day to day gestures we can all relate to, however expanded and delivered beautifully, shook up the audience. It gave a promising, exciting, fresh and new interlude between the longer pieces. But what a stand alone piece it was. This piece was not so personal, and it allowed the audience to watch the movement as the pair danced seated, connecting to one other through the chairs and their movements. These highly skilled dancers executed with precision and the choreography refreshed the audience, engaging them with solid, definite moves set nicely together using chairs as their setting.
Then we had my piece, What We Choose to See – a work in progress
“There are constant restrictions all around us, yet there are only some that we choose to see. We have explored personal and common boundaries, those imposed upon us and those created ourselves; restricting or encouraging, seen or unseen, physical or mental.
One land stops and another begins. There’s occasional no-man’s land; a land basked in it’s borders but none of it’s own. The hiding spaces in between.
Lurking in the hill behind the farm there are tanks the size of six cathedrals. They hold the world’s longest echo. You cannot see them from the forested hill outside. Original music and sound score has been developed through Kathryn’s recordings from inside the tanks.
Choose to see us as you will. 3 dancers. Borders. Boundaries. Hills and sea….”
I was delighted when people described it as meditative and engulfing, like 3 figures on the hill. People loved the music (Thanks Cold Courage aka Bo Morgan). People said it was powerful, and engaging. We move around one another, as individuals, and as three combined with moments of unison in between solos and duets. There are falls, and of course rises. There are moments where we stand tall, and others when we give in to gravity, falling to the floor as if all boundaries have collapsed around us. I think the piece is different for all who dance it, as we relate to what boundaries we have as individuals, and how these reflect and relate to others.
I was absolutely delighted with the feedback. One that really stuck in my mind was that everyone was engaged. This came from the Stage Manager, who, from working at the festival, noticed that people come and go during Hidden Door, see a bit of this and a bit of that, meander around all that is going on. But she said that everybody stayed. There was little movement from the audience as they all engaged with what was happening on stage. A trio of dances.
THREEFOLD Adjective. three times as great
Many thanks to Hidden Door for having us. It has been a delight, and a tremendous opportunity to create and showcase work in Edinburgh.
Photo credit: Chris Scott, Literary Paparazzi