Christine Devaney discusses The Adventures of Butterfly Boy
The kids' dance production is the debut project from Pucko Company
Maybe it’s because of the lack of words to explain what’s happening; or because it’s perceived as too high-brow for wee ones — whatever the reason, dance shows for children are thin on the ground.
Attempting to address this lack is Pucko Company, a new outfit committed to introducing young audiences to high-quality contemporary dance. The first of which is The Adventures of Butterfly Boy, a new show aimed at ages 5 and over.
Choreographed by Christine Devaney, and performed by four dancers and a musician, the show follows a group of friends as they explore the outside world. One particularly imaginative child, the eponymous Butterfly Boy, discovers a caterpillar and stays with it during its journey to maturity.
Devaney is well known on the Scottish dance scene, both as a freelancer and through her own company, Curious Seed. But this is the first time she has choreographed for children – did she approach it in her usual way?
‘What’s different, is that you have your audience more clearly in your head,’ says Devaney.
‘When you’re creating work for adults, it’s much more general. But the creative approach isn’t really different, and we’re trying not to dumb down or patronise. I really want the choreography to be as interesting and intricate as if we were making work for adults.
Conveying a clear narrative through dance can be tricky, particularly to children used to storybooks. But Devaney is aware that while some adults might need a degree of logic, young minds can often be more open.
‘I think the story will be clear,’ she says, ‘but I also think that young people are less concerned about what makes sense. That’s not letting us off the hook, because we’re concerned about keeping them interested. But although we’re telling a linear narrative, we’ve tried to find ways of abstracting it a little bit, so the physicality tells the story as well.’
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Thu 27 Sept, then touring.