Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Dancing Floor at the Globe

Last year, Lyn Webster Wilde was trying to get a film project off the ground. It was about a young woman coming back to Wales and reconnecting with the Welsh myths and it was called The Dancing Floor.
Out of that project has come a dance project, and I went to see it performed at the Globe on Saturday evening.
It was not the first performance - that was up at Brechfa Pool, where Lyn lives, in the open air with the Black Mountains in the distance. It's a magical place, and she writes about it on her blog, at https://lynwebsterwilde.wordpress.com

So, this dance was based on the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion, and the story Math Son of Mathonwy - which includes the stories of Lleu and Blodeuwedd, the woman of flowers.
The Village Quire were there, singing something specially written for the piece, and some other songs in their repertoire, which was an added bonus. I was able to buy the CD of theirs that I hadn't got yet - Back to the Garden, which is based on letters from a local gardener who was sent to the Western Front in the First World War, to his old employer, who was a renowned breeder of daffodils. After the event in the Parish Hall that afternoon, my mind was full of the First World War.
The Dancing Floor swept all that away though, with magical singing and dancing with animal masks and gongs and drums - and an accordion at one point, as it almost became a Morris dance. And at the end, members of the audience were invited up to join the dancers in ducking under the arch made by the Owl and the Eagle.
During the interval, we were given a riddle to think about by Jo Eliot, who is also involved in the project. Taking the last two lines of the song, "The dancers make a way for me, The owl and eagle set me free", she asked the audience to think about what that meant for them, having seen the dance. There were three tshirts on offer as prizes for the best answer, and there were some thoughtful and interesting answers, about energies coming together, and flying.
I had a fascinating time talking about Welsh myths in general and Arianrhod and Blodeuwedd in particular, with the lady sitting next to me in the audience. I found I knew more than I thought I did!
In the second half, the Village Quire sang again, and then the dance was performed for the second time - and this time we knew what to expect so we could think about the meanings of it. All the dancers were local people, not professional dancers, and they managed to evoke the magic even indoors, in a fairly confined space.
At the end, the audience was asked which bit they liked best, and the favourite part seemed to be where the dancers were turned into pigs!

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