I love the idea of dance. Ever since I first saw my first musical, I’ve always been enthralled whenever I see a story or a feeling being communicated to me through nothing but movement. But I never seek out dance performances on my own, and I don’t believe I’m alone in that world. The world of dance sometimes seems like an inaccessible one, and while the language might be entirely visual, to someone who does not understand the language of dance, it seems like a completely foreign one. Dance needs a way to get to people like me, who aren’t always willing to go out and seek dance experiences on their own. Found is built for people like me.
Found, in theory, is meant to be almost like an assault of the senses. If you aren’t willing to go to it, it’s instead going to come to you, and you won’t be able to help but see what it is offering. Director/Choreographers Alison Thomas and Mariella Fortune-Ely have said that this is a major part of their goal in constructing the idea of the show. “We chose to do it this way as we’re really excited about the prospect of bringing contemporary dance to wider audiences. It is not necessarily an art form that people would actively seek out or pay for.” To them, by making their stage the entire town, they no longer have to be concerned about whether or not the audience is willing to engage with them or not. “Normally,” says Charmaine Hiller, one of the dancers, “we have an elevated stage and an audience that is prepared to watch whatever style of dancing is being presented; this means that, while the audience will be seeing the choreography for the first time, the format and general premise of the show is in line with the audience’s expectations. The fun thing about Found is that those expectations don’t even exist, because the people surrounding the performance don’t become audience members until the dancing starts or even at all, if they aren’t aware.” That freshness and willingness to subvert expectations for what a dance show is and can be is part of what makes Found such an interesting concept
In writing this and talking to the team, however, one of the things that took me off guard was the amount of thought and work put into this performance. I asked Mariella for an entertaining anecdote about the show, to which she responded, “we rehearse at night so no one will see us, – keeping things secret – it’s basically a spy mission.” As funny as that might be, the fact that these people are willing to rehearse in pitch black just to keep the impact of the experience pure speaks to an enormous amount of dedication from this team. The dance team has considered everything, from the traffic to the texture of their dance surfaces to the weather, to even the actions of pedestrians. “While these are challenging factors to work with, they actually end up fostering creativity and forcing the minds of the choreographers especially to think outside of the box— to create movements that respond to the structure of the space,” said Charmaine on this idea. The attention to detail this team has shown is astonishing at any level, especially at an amateur one.
And this is without talking about what my favorite part of this show is intellectually- a sense of exploration. As the title suggests, this show isn’t only meant to pop up and surprise you, you the audience member are meant to seek it out. This creates a nice little sense of reward that comes from finding a set of dancers who you wouldn’t see otherwise. It’s a touch that adds a lot of value for people who may not be interested in the technical elements of what makes found impressive, much like in an open world video Game, finding interesting or beautiful moments can make up for a lack of interest in a core mechanic. It makes you want to see more, just to say that you have. So I’m excited for Found. I’m excited to see what the team does with its unique concept. I’m ready to be impressed by the dedication of its dancers. And I’m looking forwards to finding something special that only I get to see.
Found is happening throughout St. Andrews from the 2nd to the 7th of April.