Inside Out Dorset is an annual festival that brings 'together artists from across Europe; that commemorates the end of the First World War and celebrates some of our areas of outstanding natural beauty.' It is funded by the Arts Council England and Activate.
My visit was to see Coastal Encounters across a public area of Bournemouth, at Shelley Park, Boscombe Overcliff and Boscombe cliff gardens on Sunday 16th of September 12-6pm.
Coastal Encounters: See our world from a new perspective. Surprises await across Shelly Park and it's surrounds, with a series of unique performances and installations from a range of international and local artists.
From the colourful programme I was looking forward to being surprised and entertained by 8 different installations and performances. I didn't know what to expect, but some of them looked really good.
One of the main reasons I wanted to go to the Inside Out Festival was because I wanted to see the performance of Dorset Youth Dance ( DYD ). Their performance was called Legends it was a collaboration between DYD and all ability dance group called The Remix. I was intrigued especially since I enjoy working with mixed ability groups and have recently finished my leadership skill project with all ability dance group No Limits, and want to further my career as a community dancer.
''Legends: From the powerful Sea Dragon to the haunting Mermaids of the deep.
Legend has it, the world is full of mythical creatures...
This youth dance performance is inspired by tales from the sea,
where the hidden world of monsters and beasts will come alive as we take you on a journey of discovery.''
DYD's dances and performances are normally really good, well constructed and technically good. However I was really disappointed, firstly the event as whole, was really difficult to find, it wasn't clearly marked. When we eventually found the event, we had missed the first performance of Legend but I had been looking forward to see the other 8 performances and installations and what surprises awaited me. I wanted to see them all: De Weide Wereld ( WaterLanders from the Netherlands ) which looked interesting, along with, Manimal: Gesticulating, away of thinking about the world ( Les Souffleurs Commandos Poetiques from France ), Fl-utter-ances Tree Songs ( by Jane Pitt with Lorna Rees ) which sounded relaxing, & Olie ( by Collectief Walden from the Netherlands ) which was described as thrilling,. I didn't really know what to expect from Those Who Are Not Here Are Here, ( by Stacked Wonky Dance ) which was a sight specific performance by this Bournemouth based dance group. Prose In The Park ( by the Shouting Mute ) also sounded interesting which was described as an enchanting art installation and lastly The Museum of Trees ( by Bournemouth Graduate, Gio Garancini ).
It took a while to find maps and times of events and the area for the events was very big. It seemed that times and performances overlapped so that it was impossible to see all of the performances. Some performances didn't allow time to get to another because they were so far apart on site.
Overall I was really disappointed with the whole event. Prose In the Park was totally underwhelming and lacked visual creativity and the sound quality was bad. It promised creative collaboration from a local artist inspired by local stories exploring untold history of Shelley Park 'travel through the trees and travel through time, as personal memories are put into words in this enchanting art installation' we walked through it, not realising it was part of the festival. We totally missed Museum of Trees, as we couldn't find it and the digital ambient mix of audio ebbs, flows and leaf whelmed song that promised to take you on another plane of Fl-utter-ances seemed to be plastic sun beds with music played through speakers. I was so disappointed !
Of course I was really interested in the dance going on by Stacked Wonky Dance, which I later found out that Anna Golding was part of, and Dorset Youth Dance with The Remix. Stacked Wonky dance was an interesting idea but it wasn't clear where they were performing or when you could see them. Sadly I only saw one of their many mini performances by this group and this was only by chance. We had sat to look at the view and seen some head phones on a bench. The mini performance was prompted by us picking up the head phones which then prompted another dance further along the cliff top. The two dancers had been hidden and ran out to perform their choreography, remembering lost ones. It was sad and it was quite intrusive in that as the audience, we became their dancing space.
Once we had seen this, the unusual props of odd shoes, suit cases and hats that we had come across exploring the festival made sense in that they too were prompts for the other mini performances of this dance piece. I wish it could've been more clear in the publicity so that I could have seen the whole performance.
The descriptive imagery in the brochure, for Legend by DYD and The Remix made me think of all sorts of exciting dance performance and choreography possibilities. But instead their performance didn't live up to my expectations. The description made it sound amazing however the description and the actual performance didn't link very well at all ! I was so disappointed as I was expecting a lot more and couldn't help but compare it to the No Limits performance I had been involved with as part of my leadership skill project. The costumes were effective and showed the theme well, but it saddened me to see a clear separation between the youth dancers and the all ability Remix performers. The performers with disabilities were right at the back of the space and you could barely see them, it seemed they had no apparent value in the performance. I had wanted to see how other able bodied dancers worked with other less able bodied performers. The good thing about No Limits, is that everybody, whatever their ability, are valued as performers and artists and they are helped to be as professional as possible and achieve the very best they can. I couldn't see that in this performance. Our No Limits performance was so much more colourful and exciting and it really benefited from having a live music and visual arts as part of the project, which this really lacked.