Winter Room, The

The Winter Room

North Edinburgh Arts Centre, Tue 21 Nov; Tramway, Glasgow, Thu 23 & Fri 24 Nov


Wood, ash, coal dust - the loveliness of an open fire comes at a price, as Claire Pençak well knows. The dancer/choreographer has had more than her fair share of dealings with a dirty grate since relocating from Edinburgh to the remote countryside of Ross-shire. Winter has taken on a whole new meaning for Pençak since the move, prompting her to create a dance piece which captures the often stark beauty of her new surroundings.

‘I was inspired by the landscape and winter - both as a natural season and an emotional season,’ says Pençak. ‘Everyone who has seen the work sees winter in it, but they read it in quite a personal way which was my intention - it’s got layers.’

Pençak formed her company, Tabula Rasa several years ago and has collaborated with a number of dancers and musicians since then. The Winter Room, however, was originally planned as a solo, with Pencak’s only stage companions the aforementioned wood, ash and coal dust. But as rehearsals progressed, it became clear that a smattering of raw materials just wasn’t enough. And set designer, Brian Hartley began to take on a more pivotal role.

‘It started off as a solo but I felt that I needed somebody else on stage,’ explains Pençak. ‘Brian brought his visual art background as well as his training in Japanese Butoh. So we’re quite contrasting and have our own movement style, which suits the piece very well.’

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