Scottish Dance Theatre - NQR & The Life and Times of Girl A (4 stars)

Scottish Dance Theatre - NQR & The Life and Times of Girl A

If it seems a little noisy in Dundee at the moment, it’s because there’s some serious groundbreaking going on there. Under the forward-thinking eye of artistic director Janet Smith, Scottish Dance Theatre (SDT) is producing work which forces us to alter our perception of what dance is and, more importantly, who can dance.

Based on a former medical acronym for ‘not quite right’, NQR in an integrated piece for disabled and able-bodied dancers. Two of the performers – SDT’s dance agent for change Caroline Bowditch and associate director Marc Brew – are in wheelchairs, the others not. Yet there is never a sense of ‘them and us’ on stage – they are all just dancers and, like everyone in the audience, they are all different. Choreographed by Smith, Bowditch and Brew, the work is at turns humorous and thought-provoking, with atmospheric light boxes providing some striking visual imagery.

Humour has an even bigger role to play in Ben Duke’s The Life and Times of Girl A. Longing to make a film, a stylish actor/director (played with subtlety and wit by Solene Weinachter) has only a group of dancers at her disposal, so shoehorns them into roles they cannot play. Interspersed with fun, synchronised movement, the dialogue and dramatic action is amusing, briefly confusing but always entertaining.

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 1–Sat 3 Apr

Scottish Dance Theatre: Life and Times of Girl A and NQR

  • 4 stars

Ben Duke choreographs the witty and engaging 'Life and Times of Girl A', while Janet Smith, Caroline Bowditch and Marc Brew collaborate on the thought-provoking 'NQR', featuring disabled and able bodied dancers and a live cellist. Highly recommended. 'Part of DanceLive 2010.'


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