The Scotsman Sessions #119: Curious Seed
Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, the dancers of Curious Seed perform a durational piece entitled Field – Something For The Future Now
Like schoolchildren bursting free from the classroom at break time, dancers spin and tumble across the grass, drinking in their new-found freedom. A sense of joy bounces off them and, for a brief moment at least, all is well. Banished from rehearsal rooms and theatres since March, the dance community is perhaps feeling more hemmed in than most. Highly physical people confined within four small walls. For Christine Devaney, artistic director of Edinburgh-based dance company Curious Seed, an outlet was sorely needed.
“Once lockdown rules were eased, I began meeting on Sunday afternoons in Holyrood Park with a small group of artists to play and figure out how to take my creative practice outside,” she explains. “I really needed to get out and dance to help
me process all that was building up in my body, my mind, my heart.
“Initially I tried on my own but it didn’t feel right, so I asked others to join me, using the two-metre distance as an interesting challenge. We’ve been dancing together without touching and exploring the stunning Holyrood Park as our studio. It’s been glorious, challenging and healing.”
Those weekly get-togethers recently culminated in a four-hour durational piece – edited down into this short film. With Arthur’s Seat as their backdrop, the dancers responded to the landscape, the shifting light and each other. Much of the time, it looks as though they’re making it up as they go along, then a sudden piece of synchronised choreography suggests otherwise.
Holding placards announcing “There is a way” and “Good to see you,” their carefree movement feels like a wee touch of (socially-distanced) anarchy in amongst all the rules and regulations. I love the idea of passers-by happening upon this merry band of players as they run wild, carrier bags billowing in the breeze, singing Happy Birthday – and not while they’re washing their hands.
For more on Curious Seed, see www.curious-seed.com/
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