Preview: manipulate festival's aerial programme
The visual theatre festival takes flight with a host of aerial performances from All or Nothing, Paper Doll Militia and Spotted Stripes Circus
Amongst the bustle of this year's programme, manipulate 2015 boasts a particularly impressive selection of work committed to using the full height and scale of the Traverse Theatre: aerial dance theatre. Born from the fusion of circus skills and physical theatre choreography, aerial has become an increasing presence within Scottish performance over the past decade.
Ranging from the welcome return of Paper Doll Militia, through to the debut appearance of emerging company Spotted Stripes Circus, manipulate's selection reveals the diversity and strength of Scotland's aerial community.
All or Nothing present the première of Three's A Crowd, in which wires, harnesses, ladders, and riggers play out the relationships that happen when three elements are brought together. In knowingly drawing upon the rich tradition of circus skills as still popularized and practised in continental Europe, All or Nothing ally the skills of circus and aerial with the expansive expressiveness of dance in this evocative unfolding of friendships in flux.
Both Paper Doll Militia, who wowed last year's manipulate with a short session on the silks, and Spotted Stripes Circus are part of a triple bill. Spotted Stripes will premiere their Frankenstein-inspired Welcome My Son solo piece, while The Militia return to the yawning space of the Traverse Theatre, having exchanged sublime splays of silk for grinding chains and spinning loops of steel in their otherworldly aerial duet, Unchained.
In each of these pieces, it’s near impossible to not feel admiration for the scale that sees their artistic ambitions, and indeed, their performers, take flight and offer glimpses into the visceral, the spectacular, and the uncanny.
manipulate festival runs from Fri 30 Jan - Sat 7 Feb