Navigating the Dance Anthology Jungle – Shadows by Christopher Bruce

January 10, 2018

Hello, GCSE Dancers! Welcome to “Navigating the Dance Anthology Jungle.” Today, we’re diving into the mysterious world of dance, focusing on the captivating dance piece called “Shadows.” Prepare for a dance story that’s both eerie and stunning!

Are you ready to explore in depth? “Shadows” is a fantastic dance choreographed by the dance virtuoso, Christopher Bruce. It made its debut on 26th November 2014, featuring four exceptional dancers from the super-cool Phoenix Dance Theatre, all the way from the trendy city of Leeds, UK.

This new work is certainly part of the social, political, human world – Bruce (legend)

Creating a Spooky Atmosphere: Lights and Vibes

Picture this: you step into a completely dark theatre. But here’s the twist! The lighting wizard, John B Read, takes control and casts light from the sides. These beams of light stretch out like ghostly fingers, painting eerie shadows that seem to have a life of their own. These shadows aren’t ordinary; they’re like hidden windows into the dancers’ souls, revealing their fears and the thrilling unknown. It’s like having a backstage pass to their thoughts, visually captivating and spine-tingling!

Props Becoming Dance Partners: Crafting the Magic

Hold on, let’s talk about the dance floor setup. Christopher Bruce keeps it elegantly simple. Imagine a black-box theatre adorned with a table, bench, stools, coat stand, and suitcases. But here’s the catch – these aren’t just props. They become an integral part of the dance itself as they are one of the approaches. The dancers seamlessly incorporate these objects, turning them into extensions of their emotions expressing their family bond or child-like anger. It’s like their personal hangout space, filled with feelings and history, and showcasing their unbreakable bond.

Time-Traveling Attire: Threads and Tales

Alright, fashion enthusiasts, let’s discuss the outfits! The costumes in “Shadows” go beyond mere clothing; they’re a glimpse into the past. Imagine Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 1940s – a retro flashback! The family’s attire is like a snapshot from history. Mother’s dress features large pink and gray flowers on white fabric, conveying maturity and responsibility. And now, brace yourself for the daughter’s outfit – a soft blouse and a light-colored skirt, perfectly capturing her innocence and youthful spirit!

Emotional Choreography: Moves and Feelings

Let’s delve into the dance moves! Christopher Bruce masterfully blends modern, contemporary, and classic styles into a dance tapestry of emotions – aka Neoclassical. The dancers become storytellers with their bodies, painting emotions, connections, and enigmatic vibes. The daughter’s quick and shaky movements perfectly mirror her inner turmoil, like a bird caught between safety and the great unknown. On the other hand, the son’s strong and confident steps match his protective instincts. Their interactions, duets, and group sequences reveal it all, building up to a breathtaking finale that shouts, “We’re a family dynamic!”

The Essence of the Magic: Unveiling “Shadows”

Now, let’s dive into the heart of the matter – what’s the story behind “Shadows”? Fueled by Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres,” a stimulus, Christopher Bruce invites us to explore how individuals confront fear and adversity. The dance beautifully follows the music’s highs and lows, reflecting the family’s emotional rollercoaster. From the stage to the costumes, it’s like a mystical realm where you can almost hear their hearts beating. And here’s the twist – the dancers actually contribute to shaping their own movements, adding their personal touch to the dance tale.

Unraveling the Mysterious Narrative

Let’s unravel the mystery of the storyline! “Shadows” unfolds as a haunting tale of a family navigating unsettling times. Picture this – a father, a mother, a son, and a daughter, each grappling with their own fears and aspirations. The jittery and anxious daughter seeks solace in her mother’s presence, while the strong son stands as their shield against the encroaching shadows. It’s a narrative of unity, of facing the unknown together, and weaving an unbreakable bond.

Final Verdict: An Enchanting Dance

And there you have it – an introduction to “Shadows” is more than just dance moves; it’s a captivating fusion of emotions, stories, and atmospheres that come together in a mesmerizing manner. Those shadows? They’re not just random shapes – they symbolise fear and the unknown taking center stage. Setting us in the carnage of World War Two, or making a politcal statement of any family facing poverty/fear. Every step resonates with the rhythm of the music’s heartbeat, creating a dance story that’s incredibly moving. Now the ending, it’s crucial to focus your attention on this pivotal moment. This conclusion masterfully ties everything together. We’ve witnessed various characters and their interactions unfolding. Then, in a sudden shift, the lighting changes, coats are donned, and clarity dawns. All that remains are gestures as the family move forward, a deeply poignant mornful scene. Leaving the audience to draw their own conclusion, where are they going? Why? The costumes and melodies provide glimpses into both the past and the present, while the combined efforts of the entire team conjure up dance magic on stage. “Shadows” isn’t just a dance; it’s an otherworldly experience for everyone in the audience.

Alright, that’s a wrap on today’s journey through the “Navigating the Dance Anthology Jungle.” We hope you’re as captivated by “Shadows” as we are.