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Dance Review: Digitopia

16 February 16 words: Ali Emm
"The interactive lighting was triggered by the dancer's movements, giving an almost hypnotic quality to the production"
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Dotty and Hex in Digitopia

Described as a dancing, digital wonderland aimed at children and their families, my expectations were pretty high for the latest production from the Nottingham-based company who combine contemporary dance, digital arts and electronic music. I sat down with my four-year-old – a reliable source of honesty and wonder – and we eagerly awaited what was to unfold on the darkened stage with a simple set-up of four black geometric 3D ‘hills’ and a plain floor.

The play starts gently with an opening dance piece, where Dotty is playing with a ball which then exploded to open up a world of lights before her. The floor and set became covered with lines of lights, and the air with beams of light – the latter shown to full effect with the use of dry ice throughout the piece. Dotty played and interacted with them, both lights and dancer moving, and it is at this point that she meets her two-dimensional friend, Hex.

The interplay between the light, the music and the ambient digital music was mesmerising to say the least. In addition to the dancers being in relative time to the music, the two dancers glide, skip and slide across the floor, the interactive lighting triggered by their movements, giving an almost hypnotic quality to the production.

It wasn’t only digital lighting used within the piece – a light tube was brought out numerous times to add a further three-dimensional aspect, black light theatre techniques were utilised, and Hex came to life to dance with Dotty when a dancer in a black morph suit with a series of lights attached. Simple, but extremely effective.

A beautiful production that, at fifty minutes, was the perfect length for the younger audience’s concentration spans. Although sold as a family show, I would have quite happily watched with or without a child in tow – it was innovative, well crafted, unique and had a gorgeous soundtrack to boot. They also had a section at the end where children in the audience got to dance and play with the two dancers on the interactive stage, which I was not jealous of at all. Not one bit…

Digitopia was at Nottingham Lakeside Arts on Friday 12 – Saturday 13 February. It will be touring the country until April 2016.

Digitopia website

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