Cabbages and Kings
Platform, Glasgow, Sat 8 Mar; Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Sat 22 Mar
CHILDREN’S DANCE THEATRE
As a choreographer, Claire Pençak is fuelled by a wonderfully rich imagination. So rich, in fact, that sometimes there’s only one group of people to take her ideas to – children. ‘I really enjoy making work for young audiences,’ says Pençak. ‘There’s more freedom in it, and children engage with dance in a very different way to adults. They’re usually very receptive to ideas and, as long as you engage them, they fill in a lot of things with their imagination.
For Pençak’s latest work with Tabula Rasa Dance Company, she imagined a garden which not only grows flowers and plants, but big, beautiful ideas. A 45-minute solo show danced by Tara Hodgson, Cabbages and Kings is filled with set, animation, music and movement. ‘There’s not a narrative as such but the theme of the piece is growing – in lots of different ways,’ explains Pençak. ‘Sometimes it’s a movement idea that grows or a visual idea, and you also get a sense that the character herself is growing up and starting to take control.’
Having been handed a paper crown when they enter the theatre, the children are made to feel part of the adventure, drawn into a world of flowers, plants, herbs and nonsensical words. ‘Sometimes Tara is right at the front of the stage and really engaging with the children,’ says Pençak. ‘And other times she draws the children into her world. It’s a very open and warm-hearted piece.’