Saturday at the Gathering

Saturday began with a Randai demonstration by Megan Collins & dancers Bronwyn, Linda and Lutu. Randai is a dance form from the Minang region of West Sumatra, & involves wearing pants that are sort of like a long skirt, with a fold of material between your legs that is slapped percusively. After the demonstration, we got to put on the pants & learn one dance, which involved clapping, thigh slapping, & flap-slapping as well as lots of “hoop!” & “hos!” calls which was pretty hard to do at the same time as remembering the moves & trying not to collide with others. Good exercise & good fun!

After lunch was the third work-in-progress, three scenes from “Winter Overture” which is co-written by Challen Wilson (NZ) & Cathy Rexford (Alaska). The three scenes we saw involved dance, physical performance, text, ritual, lighting & soundscape. Surreal & at times absurd in a Beckett or Pinter kind of way, it messed with ‘time’ & with our expectations in a way that was both unsettling (as in shifting us out of our comfort zone) & exciting. This presentation brought in a lot of extra audience & responders, swelling the Gathering to over 50.

Storyteller Judith Jones then welcomed us into an attic room with sunshine & cushions to enchant us with her stories, as well as draw stories from us through an exercise with buttons.

challen_discussionThe feedback session after this went off on a bit of a tangent about how we do the feedback, & the role of the responders, & led to the decision to use our free slot tomorrow to try out some further sessions with those who have already done their presentations.After dinner of takeaways at the centre, we watched a recording of the wonderful Rodwell Monologues, staged recently at BATS.

Tomorrow we get a sleep-in, while the church groups are in the community centre, then it’s lunch and Jade’s presentation, followed by our open slot which we will use to work in smaller groups with the presenting artists, looking for concrete steps that they can take in the development of their work.