Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Show Preview - Clouds, Southbank Centre

THE artistic universe of Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte is the inspiration for a new show which starts at the Southbank Centre tomorrow for a five-day run.
Clouds is an hour long contemporary dance show which features lots of props as well as swirling clouds, miniature horses and enchanting music.
Devised especially for younger audiences it is being brought to the stage by award-winning dance company Aracaladanza.
It is the first time the Spanish dance group has performed at the Southbank Centre and company founder Enrique Cabrera says he is very much looking forward to it.
"We are really excited about jumping onto the stage and dancing for the audience," he says cheerfully.
"We have never been to this venue before so it's going to be very exciting for us.
"We cannot wait for the curtain to rise!"
When it does, he says the audience will be in for a surreal and dreamlike treat where butlers and ballerinas dance in a riot of colour, where clouds turn into sheep and shadows make beautiful patterns to create a world of colour and surprises.
The show has been choreographed by Enrique who says his fascination with Magritte has been used as a starting point for the piece.
"I have always been fascinated by the symbols and elements he uses in his work and I have tried to incorporate these in the show - bowler hats, apples, men in black coats, ladders, doors, umbrellas, tables and clouds – they are some very London trademarks, aren’t they!
"However, these elements do have their own identity in the piece. Clouds is magical, surreal, dreamlike, fragile and dynamic. It is a dance work where dancers and objects melt and turn out to perform as just one body."
And because of the dream like nature of the show Enrique says there is also no traditional narrative or story running through it.
"Clouds is a dream, so it works like a dream," he says. "In a dream you find images that do not seem to have any kind of relationship between them but which push you from one to the next.
"Sometimes you can find a narrative thread between them sometimes do not. It's like floating in the air and being moved by just one finger.
"There are no wicked characters or a beautiful princess in peril. It's not a fairytale. It's just like a big and non stop dream in which everyone can build one's own story.
"It will be pure dream, happiness and fun."
And it is this ethos that runs through the majority of Aracaladanza's work.
"We love to creating shows that are fun and that appeal to the child within every adult and to allude to the possibility of being surprised, amused and moved, feelings that we as adults often hide," says Enrique.
"We suggest stories through images so everyone can have a unique interpretation of what they see. That is why I believe children especially constitute a perfect audience because they don't pre-judge. They are free to feel, believe, enjoy and dislike on the spot and have very little or no restrictions to let adults know exactly how they feel."
For the music, which Enrique says is an integral part of the show, the company has worked with Spanish composer Marian Lozano and the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
"Music plays a very important part in the performance," says Enrique. "Because the show is purely dancing there are no words so the music helps to create atmospheres and climates.
"But it also helps with the illusion of the dancers. There are only six on stage but the choreography, the many costume changes and the music together with their comings and goings in and out of the stage give the impression there are about double that amount."
The show is also part of the Southbank Centre's Festival of Love, something Enrique says is a neat fit.
"Where on earth would you imagine it would be a better place to do this show?" he says. "Nowhere! A festival celebrating love is just perfect. When you are in love you walk in clouds, don't you?"

Clouds is on at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre from Saturday, July 26 until Wednesday July 30. Tickets cost £18 for adults and £9 for children.

Visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk  

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