This year’s On The Rocks Festival line-up is bigger and better than ever and we are so excited to bring you coverage of the some of the best art and culture in St Andrews. Running from 5th to 14th of April, the biggest student-run festival in the UK will be showcasing the best of the town’s talent and we hope to see many of our readers there. We know that we will be trying to cram in as much of the programme as possible.
- What is FOUND?
Found, most simply, is a dance show. However instead of being on a stage, it happens outside in various locations around town. It’s also not just one dance show, but several – we have over 10 pieces being performed throughout the week. It’s also a bit different because you don’t need to buy a ticket, you just turn up. But we also won’t tell you when or where it’s happening, so it’s up to you to find us! Each performance only lasts about 5 minutes long but together they form the collective work of Found. It’s kind of like, for want of a better word, flash mobs, although think less jazz hands and more contemporary pop-up performances.
A venue as small as the Barron was not an obvious choice for a dance show. In spite of spatial limits, The Phrase was a thoroughly enjoyable On The Rocks performance with ambitious choreography and talented dancers, even if some floor routines were occasionally difficult to see.
On the Rocks did well to include this intelligent and provocative dance piece into their exciting showcase of the best of St Andrews talent. Fate: In Three Parts reached into our fascination with what could have been, what is, and what might be, this obsession with destiny articulated by seven incredibly talented dancers. On entering what is usually Club 601, the audience was immediately struck by the unconventionality of the set design, brilliantly curated by Amy Seaman, which did not have a definite front or back. Arranged in a square around eight metal pillars to which vibrant red cord was attached, the audience was confronted with an unexpected decision that saw the stage marked by the viewers themselves. This gave the audience agency, we too were curators of the space in which the dance unfurled, growing and changing with each dancer as they moved in a distinctly contemporary style.
Once upon a time, the lights of the Byre Theatre dimmed and the opening notes of Alice in Wonderland drifted out over the audience and pulled us down the rabbit hole into a wonderland of dance. The annual DanceSoc Showcase began with a brilliant introduction piece performed by the teachers and committee that tantalized me with snippets of each style of dance about to be performed that evening. Too quickly, the words Beginners Jazz flashed on the screen along with a video introducing the class. I love the idea of this quick overview, but as someone who didn’t have a program, it would have been nice to have the name of the class and their dance stay up a bit longer on the screen.
For all those who have somehow missed watching a showcase in the past, the DanceSoc Final Showcase is a spectacular display of talent and heart as each dance class offered at the university gets to perform a piece highlighting their individual style while maintaining the theme of the entire show. This year, the theme is Once Upon a Time, which will encapsulate our favorite stories from the Wizard of Oz to Boy meets World in 27 dances with more than 9 different styles represented. Hannah, the show’s director, insists that anyone, regardless of personal experience with dance, should come along to marvel at the familiar characters taking shape on stage and enjoy this unique way of experiencing old stories.
Do I dare? was an event that immediately shouted out to me when I first read the On the Rocks program for 2015. Having studied Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’ at A-Level and having been a great fan of Ted Hughes since I was about 12, I couldn’t wait to experience an amalgamation of the two in a poetic telling of their life together.
I could hear the Cuban music as I climbed to the top floor of the Byre, already a few early arrivals were congregated around the doors into the studio. Peering into the dark, musical space revealed that the curtains had been pulled back to expose a wall of mirrors and the chairs moved to create a large square space. It was starting to feel like summer and the influence of an uncharacteristically warm day had the space full of anticipation. I ran into a few friends who were just as eager as I to get started. Shortly 30+ people gathered in the room and once everyone was settled the music was turned down and the workshop introduced. Hosted by the Hispanic society they gave a short introduction as to what would happen.
It has always amazed me how expressive the human body can be: the slow curve of the back, the fold of the legs, even the flip of a ponytail can convey the bitter sorrow of heartbreak or the uncontainable joy of freedom. There is such power and tension in each sinew, in every aching stretch of muscle and the name Surface Tension was perfect for this beautifully well-choreographed, emotionally charged showcase of 5 incredible dances.
Hosted and organized by the Dance Society, Saturday night’s Oz Ball did not fail to impress. I was not quite sure what to expect as I donned my sea-green dress and gold heels and made my way to Younger Hall—I have had very little involvement with Dance Soc, aside from knowing a few people on the dance teams. However, as I treated myself to a heaping cone of free Janettas and set off to explore the venue, I quickly realized that the Dance Soc members are event-organizing veterans, and know exactly what makes a good time.