Making dance come alive for young children: Wriggle Dance Theatre’s The Colour of Me
By David Mead, Seeing Dance
The Core at Corby Cube - October 1, 2016
“For 3-7 years and their grown-ups,” as the publicity puts it, sums up Wriggle Dance Theatre’s The Colour of Me rather neatly. Yes, it is really aimed at the youngsters, and with more than a little help from Sue Pyecroft’s designs, Barret Hodgson’s digital projections and Anthony Kimber-McTiffen’s great live music, dancers Kath Kimber-McTiffen, Ruth Jacombs and Chris Bradley had them completely engaged from the start.
Allowing the audience to sit where they want on mats on three sides of the space helps create an easy-going welcoming atmosphere. At times the children were so captivated you could have heard a pin drop. But the message writ large through the show is that dance is fun. At times the youngsters laughed and laughed, but whisper it quietly, so did the adults.
The Colour of Me (directed by Lucy Knight) shifts easily between theatre and dance. It’s an enchanting exploration of the emotions that live in us through the colours that are around us, with all eventually brought together to create a rainbow, the whole person within us all.
All the movement and characterisation is related to colours. Green is peaceful, the mood set by some projections suggesting sun glinting through a forest canopy, and a digital butterfly that is gently captured and released. Blue takes us to the sea, created with a giant fabric held by the children, who enthusiastically created waves. Holes in the fabric allowed the dancers to pop up in different places. A dance that has the dancers standing on their shoulders, legs sticking out of the ‘water’ went down particularly well; and so it should, because it is rather good.
Each mood contrasts with that before and after. Red is grumpy and cross. “What are you looking at?” the audience is asked. Purple is heralded by a story about walking around the playground alone. “It’s horrible being lonely,” we are told. Yellow is happy.
Interaction is key in Wriggle’s work and there’s plenty of it in The Colour of Me. That digitally created green butterfly flitters around, a bee buzzes around the children’s heads, purple feathers are blown towards them, which of course they the blow themselves, and they are encouraged into the space to climb over the strands of a giant orange. Perhaps most enthusiastically they hold the giant fabric and help create the sea in ‘blue’. It ends with a great free play session using pieces of fabric previously used in the final section.
Dance for young children would not usually be high on my list of ‘must-sees’, but The Colour of Me is rather fun – for everyone.
Wriggle Dance Theatre need your help to enable children that don't normally access the theatre have the chance to see, ‘The Colour of Me’ or take part in a workshop.
Your support will enable over 5000 children and families to have a magical, interactive theatrical experience.
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ITS THE MOONS BIRTHDAY is a brand new show specially adapted for school settings and aimed at Reception/Keystage 1 children (ages 3 to 7).
For less than £3 per child, we are offering an affordable package for your school which includes professional dance theatre performance, an accompanying story book and a supporting creative dance educational resource pack.