By: Taliha Gazi
With DanceSoc set to shimmy back on to the Byre stage for their annual show, Arts and Culture Subeditor Taliha Gazi speaks to Show Director, Caroline McWilliams to discuss the inspiration behind their show, ‘Kaleidoscope’, which promises to be bolder and brighter than any of their shows to date.
The word, ‘kaleidoscope’ derives from the Greek words, kalos and eidos, meaning ‘beautiful form’. It seems apt, then, to describe dance as ‘kaleidoscopic’ – as a mode of expression which challenges the body to achieve its aesthetic potential using movement. A kaleidoscope, like dance, is also not meant to simply look beautiful, but to be seen (skopein in Greek means to ‘look at’). It is these facets of dance which helped Creative Director, Rachael Hastie devise the name of the show. ‘When Rachael looked at an image of a kaleidoscope, she came to realise how dance is very much like a jigsaw puzzle – and a jigsaw puzzle a lot like a kaleidoscope!’, Caroline remarks. ‘In this show, Rachael and I have tried to unite eleven styles of dance together with the help of twenty-five choreographers. What makes ‘Kaleidoscope’ like a jigsaw puzzle is this piecing together of parts which seem, at first, incompatible. But, with a bit of creative problem-solving, these differing parts can produce an exciting and eclectic whole!’
Caroline’s enthusiasm for dance was born when she was just five years old. ‘I was always the annoying child who got under my mum’s feet’, she reminisces happily. ‘It was then that my mum decided that I should enrol in a ballet class.’ Caroline later tiptoed into different dance forms, such as jazz and character dance, which is arguably the more stylised and theatrical cousin of classical dance, and is popular in countries such as Russia and Hungary. But her first opportunity to choreograph a show materialised when Joanna Bowman, director of this year’s production of Hedda Gabler, asked Caroline whether she could transform this nineteenth century classic into a piece of musical theatre dressed up with dance scenes. ‘As the costumer for Hedda Gabler, Joanna casually asked me one day for any advice I had to improve the show, but this advice turned into a number of detailed dance routines which we were able to shoehorn into the script! It was a whole lot of fun!’, laughs Caroline.
With this choreographic experience under the belt of her pastel-coloured coat, ‘Kaleidoscope’, Caroline insists, is the perfect opportunity to emancipate ourselves from the library, and refuel with motivation before our next round of revision. ‘Dance speaks to everyone in some way and, with lots of vibrancy and colour, ‘Kaleidoscope’ will leave you wanting to get up and dance for yourself!’ The theme chasséing through the show from beginning to end is that of motivation but, even more meaningfully, what inspires dancers to teach their practice. ‘Kaleidoscope’ will also be the first show to flaunt the talents of DanceSoc as a whole, including the insuppressible spirit of the award-winning dance team, the Blue Angels.
Caroline warns, however, not to arrive too late to the show, for the opening act will furnish us with a flavour of the show to come. Nor should we leave too early, as Caroline promises the finale will be ‘bigger and better’ than ever before. ‘Forget bowing’, she says with an enigmatic smile. ‘The curtain-call will be a moment to remember.’
And why would we arrive late or leave our seat before we have witnessed the full rainbow of ‘Kaleidoscope’? That’d be like drinking a unicorn Frappuccino without having Instagrammed it. Except this show, unlike the Starbucks drink, sounds as if it’ll actually be worth the money. And who knows? There might even be a pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the ‘Kaleidoscope’ rainbow.
‘Kaleidoscope’ will be performed on the 28th-29th April from 7.30-9.30pm each evening at the Byre Theatre. Tickets can be bought here for £8: https://byretheatre.com/events/dance-society/.