Dance International Glasgow

Oceanallover: Sea Hames

five stars

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Caroline Bowditch: Snigel and Friends

Ellie Dubois: Bird Bones

four stars

Tramway, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

FAMILY Day at Tramway, and for those who couldn’t catch Oceanallover off-site, there was a chance to see Alex Rigg and his company delivering Sea Hames in all its musical exuberance and costumed glory. Inspired by Orkney’s Festival of the Horse, this promenade-pageant – led by Rigg’s eldritch horse-whisperer – wove its mystical way through a building that was once home to the cuddies that drew Glasgow’s trams. The band, looking like ghostly medieval minstrels, filled the air with skirling pipes, samba brass, rousing work songs and eerie melodies. From over-arching helmet to shaggy Clydesdale fetlock, four richly caparisoned horses – not unlike Gothick chess pieces – gradually moved out, into the Hidden Gardens: sometimes martial in demeanour, sometimes nervy-spirited steeds, sometimes proud, noble exponents of dressage. The effect of Sea Hames on children and adults alike was instantly exhilarating, like a sudden magical visitation from a fantastical world.

Caroline Bowditch, meanwhile, was inviting very young tots into the brightly-coloured world of Snigel the Snail and her equally charming insect friends. The designs are exquisite, the music and movement entrancing, and it’s going to be at Dance Base, during the Fringe in August. A young lad, a little girl and an adult (Peter Lannon) came together in Ellie Dubois’s Bird Bones (for 6 and overs) where a huge climbing frame acts as a test-bed for gymnastic derring-do, bonds of trust and encounters with the darker side of risk-taking games, not least when the fun stops and the trio ask one another what they think dying is like. A brave, bold piece about growing up, unstintingly performed.