With a room full of people who have only been experiencing the world for a handful of years, it’s important to find material that everyone has a basic working knowledge of. Colours, for instance, are big in children’s theatre, and Wriggle Dance explore the concept of colours corresponding with emotions in their latest piece for 3-7 year olds. The piece makes use of the familiarity of this idea, revitalising it with an immersive environment and digital projection. This playing space puts a spin on the notion that colours are the emotions contained within us, by literally putting the audience and the emotions inside the colour. That the language of colour is universal (red = angry, yellow = happy, blue = sad and so on) makes the dance more accessible: the movements that accompany each colour are more likely to be understood as an expression and exploration of the corresponding feeling.
The theatre is a blank canvas, and through projection colour spills onto the performers’ costumes, the floor, the huge canopy arching overhead, even out into the audience. There is little narrative and no words; instead, the production is split into vignettes for each colour, with a child’s description of what that colour means to them as a starting motivation. This provides plenty of scope for dance that is energetic, funny, and thoughtful, from synchronised swimming to an impassioned tantrum.
Sitting on the floor and so close to the action, the audience can’t help but bob along and many are raring to get onto the stage. Interaction is weaved through the production, though an early invitation into the performance breaks the established order and for the rest of the show there is a battle to keep the younger audience members in their seats rather than dashing to rejoin the dance. This crowd control seems to run against the freedom of movement that The Colour of Me celebrates, and it would perhaps be preferable to incorporate the enthusiasm of those watching. Though the ending is a little cheesy and very predictable, The Colour of Me rejuvenates a well-trodden concept.
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