|The Imagination Museum rehearsals at Creswell Crags © Jo Forrest 2014 All rights reserved|
At Creswell, we have already learnt a great deal about the opportunities and challenges offered by dancing in the cave environment, including:
- the potential for choreographing light in an environment which is pitch black, without electricity. We're working with torches and head-lamps at the moment (setting them in crevices of the rock or moving with them) but have started thinking about other light sources too, as well as the possibility of asking the audience to switch their head-lamps off at times so they can appreciate the unique atmosphere within the cave in total darkness.
- the transformation that naturally takes place when moving from the outside world down into the cave. No other environment has provided such a strong sense of moving back in time, of moving from reality and into the imagination, and because of this some things that work in the 'outside world' seem less effective in the cave. For example, our eccentric tour-guide figures Mildred, Henry and Harriet from The Imagination Museum do not fit so easily into the world of the cave: their energy is suspended until we can see the daylight again. There are also many props that we would use in other Imagination Museum performances that do not seem appropriate in this environment. This means that the rhythm and the tone of the movement in the cave is very different from our other performances (and partly this is down to necessity, because the floor surface is really uneven and the dancers have very limited visibility at times). This is something to bear in mind when developing the characters for our new Dancing in Caves performance piece (which has the working title Beneath Our Feet), and when choosing the stories those characters might tell.