Graeme Miller, Country Dance

Review in Issue 11-2 | Summer 1999

Despite its title, Country Dance is a resolutely urban piece. The attire of the cast seems better suited to the office than the maypole. Throughout the show these most urbane of pagans – like some crazed government-appointed Quango – explore and ‘dance’ the city. New dances such as the ‘Lucky Seven’ and the ‘Naughty Boy’ are born. The apparent intention is to connect the mad parade of metropolitan life to the land – in the way the morris dance and its arcane counterparts connected the ancient Britons to their land.

As the sights, sounds and frustrations of the city are whipped up into ceremony by these mobile phone-wielding shamans, rather more ancient ghosts are evoked. Beneath the pavement the peat lands still lurk. At the visual climax of the show, the troupe dances at its most frenzied whilst an animal skull – eyes ablaze, nostrils snorting fire – is paraded around the space. At this point, the soundtrack (which is excellent throughout) features both the spastic clatter of the city’s digital sounds and the eerie drone of the pipes and drums of some lost Saxon tribe. When the city’s mask of civilisation slips, the result is both frightening and invigorating.

There are many moments such as this to treasure in Country Dance, but there are also moments of longeur. Whilst, for the most part, the good outweighs the bad, the show would unquestionably benefit from some rigorous editing.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-2
p. 21