As good as it looks on paper

Casting Traces by the New Movement Collective – picture by Ignius Pupinis

Casting Traces by the New Movement Collective – picture by Ignius Pupinis

First published in The Guide by

Casting Traces – The Paper Maze Circus Street Market, Brighton, Thursday, August 28, to Saturday, August 30

Waste newsprint rolls will become a giant set for dancers in a former fruit and vegetable market.

New Movement Collective and Danish architect Elin Eyborg will turn Brighton’s Circus Street Market into a giant paper maze for the dance show Casting Traces.

Eyborg, an architect who believes theatre can be used to develop the use of urban space, sourced the off-cut newsprint from The Guardian.

She has used the paper to design a site-specific maze to fill the vast city centre space.

“We’ve always been interested in working in usual spaces and the connection between architecture and dance came quite fluidly” explains Joseph Walkling, one of the founder members of 11-strong New Movement Collective which began in 2009.

“There is a key connection with body and space. We are both concerned with how the body is put into space.”

New Movement Collective has performed Casting Traces in venues across Europe. It was originally commissioned to create the show for Testbed1, an old dairy factory in Battersea, and has since toured to a former Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen.

Now the Paul Auster-inspired promenade performance will take over the Circus Street venue.

“We are excited about the space. It will suit the piece and have a fantastic atmosphere.”

After deciding to create something from Auster’s work (the whole collective are fans of his writing) it made sense to work with paper.

“The New York Trilogy revolves around words, writing and developing the structure of language.

“We were excited how that could translate to dance – with dance you are writing the script as you go along.

“So working with huge sheets of paper with no words on allowed the movement and choreography to be the script. It creates the sense of an ‘exploded book’.”

Fans of Auster’s The New York Trilogy will spot links to the narrative of the first volume in a series brought together to make the trilogy.

New Movement Collective worked only from Auster’s opening book, City Of Glass, which follows Daniel Quinn, the private investigator whose obsessive nature drives him to madness as he becomes overly involved with a case.

As Auster explores identity and reality, he introduces characters including “Paul Auster the writer” and “Paul Auster the detective”, in a unique reworking of the detective novel genre marked by confusion and paranoia.

“A book about language translates easily into choreography about movement,” explains Walkling.

“We split the book into themes and key narrative elements without relating the linear narrative of the story. We took narrative elements to create separate scenes within the maze.”

Nylon Films have created a live CCTV feed which will project images of the audience onto the paper labyrinth and reflect the themes of surveillance. And there will be live music by Polish violinist, Szymon Brzóska.

The maze allows the audience to move freely and “be as brazen or furtive as they want, to be inches away from the face of a dancer or to lurk around in the background.”

Walkling says let the movement wash over you rather than worry about missing something happening somewhere else in the building. “There is something special about watching somebody dance up close.

“It is unusual. We are so used to seeing dance on a traditional stage, but as a collective we were keen to experience different ways of performing.

“We have all spent our careers on proscenium arch stages, so as performers we wanted a challenge but also wanted to give the audience a new experience of what movement feels like up close.”

Starts 8.30pm, with extra Friday and Saturday shows at 6.45pm. Tickets £12.50. Visit www.newmovement.org.uk/work/casting-traces

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