Saturday, March 09, 2019

The Alien’s Guide to Dance Gone Wrong – some novel elements but falls short of the premise (Maiden Voyage Dance at The MAC) #bcf19

The blurb explains that the premise of the piece is set in the future when aliens are in charge. They have taught themselves to dance from what they can pick up from the internet. “Expect to throw left and right, right and wrong out the window as their misinterpretations mean they make the dance floor their very own.”

Maiden Voyage Dance’s The Alien’s Guide to Dance Gone Wrong (their apostrophe not mine) begins with a pre-Siri voice synthesiser reading out what seem to be instructions from a corrupted webpage. So far, so good. A couple of white-shirted, blindfolded ‘aliens’ dance together inside a large taped-off square. The style seems like ballroom while the music (by Steve Blake) is techno: the first, I suppose, of many contradictions that will fall out of their self-taught method.

The alien motif is fairly minimal, though the yellow finger-like objects that seem to hold the tunes are used to good effect. A black fluffy skateboard introduces a novel move that is unlikely to be picked up by the Strictly Come Dancing professionals in their choreography next year. The show is aimed at those aged four and over.

The synthesised voice that could have added structure and some sense of narrative evolution unfortunately never returns, and the three dancers (David Ogle, Hannah Roberson and Vasiliki Stasinaki) create fairly well-executed and recognisable moves that are at odds with the premise and its promise of misinterpretation. Left and right seem pretty regular, and Lea Anderson’s choreography doesn’t veer from modern dance patterns in other adult and children’s shows I’ve watched over the last few years.

“It’s magic” exclaims one youngster from near the back of the seating. A satisfied customer. “What’s going on?” asks another, echoing something closer to my internal sentiment as I wonder whether we’re watching the finished work, or whether I’ve stepped into a parallel universe where the clever aliens have perfected the art and are playing The Alien’s Guide to Dance Done Well.

I expected a spot of Les Dawson “all the right moves but not necessarily in the right order” but instead got Captain Kirk’s “it’s dance, Jim, but not as we know it.”

The Alien’s Guide to Dance Gone Wrong continues at The MAC as part of Belfast Children’s Festival at 2.30pm and 4pm on Sunday 10 March.

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