Grow (4 stars)


credit: Brian Hartley

Indepen-dance 4 triumph again

Indepen-Dance's brand new collaboration for small children and their families is a thing of wonder. Dancers Emma Smith, Neil Price, Jack Anderson and Adam Sloan pop their heads up as though they are the first budding flowers of Spring.

What follows is a joyful, exuberant and rather eccentric production, zestily directed by Anna Newell and featuring inventive, cheeky choreography from Hayley Earlam.

The four friends 'emerge' from crawling on the floor, from pupa-like duvet covers and then pop out – first, a tentative limb, and then a head. They lift each other with care, four fragile peas from their pods, ready to face the sun, and – this being Glasgow – the rain as well. Little wobbly flower models are brought out into the space, and the dancers dance with and around them with green and yellow streamers. All is representative of new life, new shoots of hope.

To David Goodall's pretty acoustic guitar soundtrack, which is almost spacey prog at times, the Indie 4, as they are often nicknamed, show how patience is a virtue while waiting for flowers to bloom.

In Alison Brown's earthy clothes they roll, glide and shimmy, with twitchy digits in green gloves representing green fingers. Designer Brian Hartley's sweet set, with brightly painted green and yellow netting, looks like a lush field and feels suitably magical.

It is an accessible and fun way to teach children how to appreciate nature, and learn about issues based around other people's friendship, empathy and teamwork. The individual personalities of each dancer shines, and there is a chance for the children to come into the space and share creative play, interacting with the dancers.

It's also rather poignant, and moving, to see theatre for children which is fresh, funny and immersive, while simultaneously reminding the older audience members of how short and sweet childhood is. Never was there a truer phrase than 'they grow up so fast these days'. Indepen-dance are absolutely blooming.

Reviewed at Platform, Glasgow, and touring until Sun 12 May.


A springtime dance adventure from Indepen-dance 4, composer David Goodall and Hayley Earlam's choreography.

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