A window ledge, settee, corridor and stairway are just some of the spotlight spaces that student dancers from Walsall College recently performed under during a show exploring a future where artistic expression is forbidden by oppressive regimes around the world.
The students collaborated with dance company, Avant Garde Dance for Illegal Dance which they performed at Walsall Arena.
The show consisted of a 30-minute immersive experience where audience members walked around the Arena and came across individual performances, including some by the students, all a variety of unlikely locations. The performances were about the tensions appearing in a society that pits order against chaos, security against freedom, and individualism against collective will. Each mini performance was enhanced by lighting, sound and visuals, creating a stunning living installation.
Following this, the audience entered Walsall Arena’s main auditorium where all the dancers took part in a choreographed routine, followed by the screening of a short film, The Rule of Seven.
Lecturer, Julie Wright said: “This was the students’ first experience of being involved in an audience participation piece. It gave them valuable exposure to the reactive and interactive nature of performance art and how to stay in character even when an audience is surprised, concerned or shocked by some of the things they are seeing.
“It’s helped them develop a new form of resilience, as well as the confidence to be up close and right under an audience’s gaze. This will help them massively going forward.”
Emma Stansall, Creative Assistant and participation lead for Avant Garde Dance Company added: “The students became a fundamental attribute to the show, making it more exciting, playful and rich in content, because of how immersive and confident in character they were.”
She added: “They were all engaged, enthusiastic and consistent throughout rehearsals, tech and the show day. They integrated so well that they became part of the company.”