The round orange lights from outside trail into the theatre after us. I have to force myself not to spend the whole evening looking up, at those lights. Circle after circle, they’re at once alien and familiar. They’re part of the reason I love the Baxter.
Like all theatres, the air in the quadruple-volume foyer is filled with whispers from characters past if you listen carefully: snippets of a lonely cello practicing in a rehearsal room twenty years ago, bits-and-pieces of plays – both good and bad, well-received and not-so-much, and a good few drama students (they never change), all flitting about amongst the pre-Dance Festival buzz.
I love watching dancing and this did not disappoint. Five pieces performed by five different dance groups and choreographed by different choreographers. They all had merit, but three stood out.
The one, possibly, stood out for me purely because of where I’d been that afternoon, who I’d talked to, some deep-seated and previously unrecognised things about myself and my year that I’d discovered, just a few hours before. A deep wound, uncovered. An acknowledgement of sadness, and its profound effect.
Whatever it was, the first piece, dedicated to a very beloved Spanish dance teacher who died earlier this year, left me awash with tears. It was beautifully put together with strings and voices and all the foot-stamping and ‘Ole’ing necessary, but with a sadness that swirled between the dancers on the stage. Heartbreakingly beautiful. I cried from the first moment, feeling a little fraudulent as my tears were not for her as such (I didn’t know her) but I get the feeling from the way those dancers danced, that she would not have minded my tears, whatever they were for.
It was not planned. The going to the dancing, or the uncovering of some simple truths. They just happened to fall together and there’s possibly nothing more soothing than a good driz while you watch the human form fly as music surrounds you in a dark, big room filled with strangers who don’t really feel like strangers because they, too, are just, there.