Dusk Ahead by Junk Ensemble – Firkin Crane, Friday 13th November, 2015

Blind Trust

‘What is dance? What does it do?’

‘It tells stories? Doesn’t it?’

‘But how?’

‘By movement? Physicality? Rhythm? I don’t know. By how people move together? How they interact? And with music, is there music?’

‘Yes, there’s music.’

‘And dancers?’

‘Well of course there’s dancers. Five of them. Two women and three men. And a musician, a cellist, but there’s other music too that she accompanies. In one scene the dancers play music too.’

‘And a set?’

‘Yes, the set is dark and minimalist. It is about dusk, remember. There’s a chair for one piece. There are blindfolds. It’s about blindness, or going blind, I think. The first piece was where three dancers had blindfolds and they were being led by two others around the stage, with bells. When one of the bells was rung, the three blind dancers would change direction and follow it. Blindly.’

‘What do you think it was about?’

‘Helplessness, I think. And vulnerability. Imagine being so dependent on others that you had to trust them that much. Imagine being in the dark all the time. ’

‘A lot of trust in dancing, I’d imagine. If you jump, you’d trust the other dancer to be there and catch you.’

‘In another piece two men were mock fighting. Very physically – a type of wrestling. But they had to stop when a blindfold came off. One of the others rang a bell and they stopped. And another scene where they impersonated birds – ostriches, I think – and the other dancers put their heads into boxes and they danced with their heads in boxes.’

‘You know why birds do that?’

Because they’re stupid?’

‘Yes, and they believe they are safe when they cannot see the predator. Because if they cannot see the danger, they are invisible, there is no danger. Blind trust. To blind people everything is invisible until you walk into it or it walks into you.’

‘And there’s a dog. Well, a wolf.’

‘A wolf? What does he do?’

‘Not much. It’s one of the dancers with a huge wolf’s head. Very atmospheric, he or she just walked around. But it was a sense of danger too. The night is a dangerous place and blind people live there all the time. And one of the dancers kept walking into a wall. I think that scene opened and closed the show, so I guess it’s important.’

‘Because she was blind?’

‘I suppose. And in one scene four of the dancers allowed another to walk on them. Well, not walk on them, but walk in the air on the others’ hands. The other just held out their hands and that one dancer walked along them. But the trust! If your hand wasn’t there…’

‘If you were blind you’d have to have somebody you really trusted. Imagine if you’re on the side of the street and somebody said it’s okay to walk across the street, there are no cars coming. Total trust.’

‘Total. In another scene, two men were using a chair. Well one of them couldn’t walk or move very well and the other let him sit on the chair and then kept knocking him off it. That sounds stupid and slapstick but it wasn’t at all – it was… beautiful, in a way. The able bodied man kept knocking the disabled man, but it was still lovely. Strange.’

‘It sounds strange.’

‘Yes but it’s like describing art or music, or sport – you can do it but not do it justice. There was a scene where a man and woman were kissing. But it wasn’t really kissing. It was like they were attached by the lips but they still have to move, to dance, to walk, to swing around. Amazing. And another when two women were attached by their hair and another where two dancers were attached by a rope. I think it was a story about attachment and dependence and trust. And safety and danger, and daring, and hurt. She was hurt when she kept walking into the wall. She got cut when she was kissing that man. They got hurt when they were wrestling.’

‘It was about a lot of things, so.’

‘It was.’

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