I’d never been to a performance put on by a community dance group before, and to be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Knowing that Echoes Dance Co. welcomed any dancer, without audition or qualification, I was just a little apprehensive as I took my seat for Beyond the Pale.
The show was to be hinged around the colours of the rainbow, and each chapter to explore the emotions a particular colour might awaken. This was to be done over eight chapters, with several dancers collaborating on the choreography. Really, could this work?
The show opened with the oppressive and furious red. Echoes’ artistic director, Star, read a narrative on liberation and placed a sheet of red silk on stage. This was a pretty powerful beginning, and immediately my apprehension began to wane.
The dancers flowed onto the stage, all 14 of them, each wearing a red cloth wristband. Wild and passionate, the dance played out with an energy filling the room, and the audience shifting into submission.
A light orange followed, and then a mischievous yellow. And next green, the carefree nature of green. The colours took us on an emotional rollercoaster, a little like that one called life, where we can feel so intensely passionate one minute, then fall into that place of despair and, woops, laugh until our belly hurts – all before the day is out.
We were gently eased into the second half with the joyous nature of blue, before a darker side came out with indigo and an accompanying poem about the brutality of power. A predatory dance was performed and one could visibly feel the change amongst the audience, we were intimidated and frightened, this was profound.
The beauty of women was celebrated with violet, the dancers wore an understated flower in their hair. And, if there’s one chapter everyone will remember, it‘s the finale – a sensational bringing together of the whole rainbow, danced to Kelly and Steinberg’s ‘True Colours’. Stunning.
I’ve never before seen a performance where each dancers’ individuality is celebrated, as much as their scripted role on stage. The real beauty of Beyond the Pale is just that. Dancers in their twenties and sixties shared the stage, with a whole range physical abilities, their commonality being that each performer could feel strongly, and communicate this through dance.
And it was that feeling, that power of emotion, that hypnotised the audience, and moved us to tears.