X Factor Dance Company
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Thu 22 Jan
When you’re used to getting your own way it’s not easy to let someone else have a say. Only once in X Factor’s 19-year history has artistic director, Alan Greig collaborated with another choreographer. But the company’s latest piece is a co-creation between Greig and New York-based Gerald Casel.
A former assistant director of Stephen Petronio’s dance company, Casel first came to Greig’s attention when he visited Scotland to teach X Factor Petronio’s Lareigne. The two men kept in touch and after two years of logistical planning and creative pondering Query was born. So, how did it feel to share the choreographic process?
‘It was very different,’ says Greig. ‘And sometimes I’d think “Oh, that’s not how I would do it”, but then I realised that’s the whole point. I’m good at getting ideas and Gerald’s good at shaping them. We compromised and both had the right to say we didn’t like something.’
X Factor was last seen at the Freemason’s Hall in Edinburgh, with its excellent site-specific work, Other Voices, Other Rooms. ‘Doing a site-specific show really makes you think about space differently,’ he says. ‘So for Query we’re taking out the wings, getting rid of the back curtain and the dancers won’t leave the stage at any point – the costume changes will happen at the side. Which really opens the space out.’
The work will be performed by Casel and three of his dancers, along with Greig and two dancers from X Factor. Resulting in the X Factor style taking on a whole new look. ‘The New York dancers have that quality you’d expect – they’ve got a real power in their movement,’ says Greig. ‘So it feels very fresh having brought in a new set of dancers and choreographer. It’s given Query a different look and feel.’