Taking the poetry of William Blake as its inspiration, Scottish Dance Theatre's Innocence takes us on a journey of exploration and wonder, delving into the magical world of imagination.
We took off our shoes and gathered cross-legged around the pristine white performance space; the lights were dimmed and the atmosphere was relaxed; we were then gently invited to immerse ourselves in Blake's world by exploring movement, live music and song. The initial feeling was one of hypnotic calm but there were frequent changes of mood and tone to keep the audience focused. Audience participation was encouraged throughout: we sung, we became tigers, we clapped along to some familiar rhymes, we sheltered from the rain and we even created a giant tree with thousands of leaves which scatter down upon us as we worked.
As an introduction to contemporary dance for young children, it is captivating and for some, particularly the youngest babies, utterly entrancing. The choice of Blake as source material is intriguing and unexpected, but much of the success of the event is dependent on the willingness of the young audience and their grown-ups to go on the journey with the performers. Otherwise it is a collection of scattered sequences of choreography interspersed with snippets of poetry and song. The female dancers were soft, charming, warmly encouraging to the children and beautifully fluid in their movements; the males were less successful, rather more forced in their audience interaction with their movements lacking the elegant precision of the women.
The overwhelming feeling was of being a participant in a magical dream. This is an incredibly relaxing hour which would be perfect before bedtime. Other-worldly, mystical, mysterious, innovative and enchanting, just be prepared to get involved to get the most out of the whole experience.