Upon entering the dimly lit Alec Clegg studio, the audience is greeted by a weird yet visual feast. Light bulbs glow softly, hanging from the ceiling, apples dangle from above; there are boxes with pop art on them, depicting Heinz baked bean tins, tomato ketchup bottles and Vaseline to name a few. Retro television sets play old adverts, and the performers themselves lead their audience to a seat, each with an object already on it. What follows is a wonderful mix of dance and performance, using these objects and the audience themselves.
Clothes are dropped from above, rubbish is tipped on the floor and dances involve all manner of objects, from chairs to soil. Throughout the piece, the audience are also included in the action: they are offered objects, asked to hold objects, wear wigs, smell shoes, and one member was even given a cup of tea. There is also a comic element to the piece: actions are accompanied with a precise narration throughout, such as with the making of a cup of tea, and the group stop every now and then to discuss what they are about to perform. They comment on their own actions and draw attention to everything, making fun of themselves and explaining the aim of certain moments.
The dances and movements themselves are beautiful and mesmerising: they flow into each other, changing quickly, the use of lighting creating a brilliant blurring of movements. Random and abstract, but also funny and gorgeous to watch, The Object Show is a fantastic performance that brings with it a new way of watching contemporary dance.
After the performance, Leeds Student caught up with Sofia Galindo, choreographer of The Object Show
Challenging themselves not to go for the obvious, Galindo and her group of fantastic performers work-shopped with objects and movement, exploring the relationship between the body and such items. The project aimed to push the boundaries of what a performance is and how it should be; questioning if what they have created has a place in the performance world. Galindo states that there is a common notion of what contemporary dance should be, an expectation of what should happen, and she wanted to change that. Her experimenting with objects and movement acted as a means to have an open meaning with the audience. By switching scenes within the performance quickly, and having a narration follow each action, Galindo wanted the audience to realise that the piece doesn’t necessarily have to ‘mean’ something.
It is a risk to play with the performers’ and audiences’ roles, but through practice led research, Galindo found an effective way to include her audience in the show. Her reasons for this were because she wanted to incorporate the audience more, an interaction which never usually happens in dance pieces. Galindo aimed to break that barrier to make it so that everyone counted in the performance: both audience and performers are all equal in their involvement.
The use of objects within the piece was important. Experimenting with different starting points, the group explored the challenging idea of conceptualising objects. They wanted to present how everyone connects with everyday objects, and how we respond to them without realising. Colours and motifs are important, but so are memories, which can be evoked in different people by different things. This was something which resonated throughout the show.
words: Alice Rafter