We dance to express; we dance for joy; we dance because nothing else will do. Of Riders and Running Horses is an exuberant celebration of communal dance and is a joyful conclusion to what has been a very strong Mayfest ’16. On top of a car park on Queen Charlotte Street just yards from Bristol Old Vic, a quintet of dancers emerge from the urban, grey confines of the space and sprinkle it with energy and joy.
At the back of the stage musicians Sam Halmareck and Luke Harney (aka Typesun) play Cuban inflected rhythms, in front the five female dancers, move and jump and basically kill it for fifty minutes. The choreography is tight but free, the dancers seem to take inspiration from each other, there is a level of play in what they are doing that suggests they have been given scope in ploughing their own paths. The group pieces work better than the solo’s which break up the piece, ideal for giving the dancers a breather and grab some fluid, less convincing in its slow, bendy, contemporary tropes. This is a small niggle though in a piece that leaves you beaming and aching to join in, something which at its conclusion it finally allows you to do as we are all invited to get up and join in the rave that occurs at the top of the car park. It’s freedom, its joy and its oh so Bristol!
So that was Mayfest. From wrecking balls going to work on Chekhov and comedy troupes pulling apart Shakespeare, performers and audience stripping under a quilt,unknown Hungarian films being discovered afresh, two men survival of the fittest hopping, Stand By Me’s forgotten characters given voice, a mime artist tearing down the house, a one-to-one exploration of our future, questions of artifice and a car park rave. Thank you guys! I’m now going for a long lie down. Let’s do it again next year.