City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Constellations, Imaginate Festival, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Justine Blundell - Posted on 31 May 2016

CONSTELLATIONS_credit_Pedro_Arnay 2.jpg
Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Running time: 

With a colour palette as vibrant as their imagination, Madrid-based Aracaladanza present a fresh and original work of art through the medium of contemporary dance.

Constellations is a dance performance that's supposedly for children aged between five and eleven but, whatever your age, you’d have to be trying really hard not to feel enlivened and uplifted by this blast of fresh air. Most of the audience shuffling in to their seats are disgruntled and grumpy, as a faulty firewall triggered the alarm and everything’s now an hour behind schedule. Luckily, this playful, perky dance piece turns out to be an extraordinary gloom-shifter.

Inspired by the artist Joan Miró, the performance flirts with his experimental ideas of morphing shapes, dynamic colour combinations and strange forms of abstraction, turning traditional representation on its head. Or inside out. What’s really exciting about this is the combination of different skills, ingenuity and imagination that has brought this together. Miró, known for his variety of media - from printing to painting, from ceramics to sculpture – would no doubt approve.

There is clever use of lighting, from the little round dancing torch lights that open the show, to the fairy lights that are hiding inside an enormous pair of wings. Deceptively childlike animations interact with the live performance, triggering genuine delight. The costumes are many and varied and inspired. Some of the biggest thrills in the show come via the costume design that is yet more cause for little gasps of surprise. There are increasingly bigger balls of wool from the props department in primary colours that are toyed with and flirtatiously enjoyed. The interplay of all these elements together with some innovative choreography and a spirited soundtrack pulsating away in the background makes for an interesting hour of fascinating fun.

It began with a black, blank canvas that was ominously reflective of the audience’s grouchy mood and, almost as a metaphor for the evening itself, it exploded with colour and light, turning us out at the end into the warm, spring evening feeling joyously optimistic.