'Constellations' – Aracaladanza
The lights go down. Suddenly there is a light, a beacon, cutting through the dark. It points out at the audience, illuminating dozens of faces. It moves with a quick, almost curious energy. Then another light appears; they regard each other. Then another comes on, and another, until the stage is occupied by a quintet of friendly stars.
These are the opening moments of 'Constellations', an hour of dance for young audiences by the Madrid company Aracaladanza. They appear in two performances over the Easter weekend as part of Sadler’s Wells Family Weekend mini-festival, and those lucky enough to be there are treated to some remarkable sights.
Featuring five dancers and taking inspiration from the work of Catalan painter Joan Miró, 'Constellations' is a riotous celebration of colour, wonder and the ceaseless charm of children at play: for the dancers at times seem to embody children, with their endless curiosity and joy at the new.
As in many of their other shows (such as ‘Clouds’), the Aracaladanza dancers share the stage with remarkable visuals, costumes, objects and special effects. In what is the only moment of pure puppetry, a trio of red balls of string are animated by two dancers to become a darting, charming animal. Immediately after, a horde of giant balls of string rolls onto stage; the dancers gleefully take the chance to have a bit of fun, jumping and bouncing and rolling the objects about.
There is much else that parades before the eyes of the appreciative, exclaiming audience I share the hour with. There are shuffling towels, a dancer with insect arms, a short animated film and a woman with wings of light.
Without any real narrative, the show is essentially a series of changing scenes and scenarios and, rather than describe them individually (which would be a hopeless exercise in verbosity), it is perhaps best to simply say this: the young ones next to me were not bored, clapped as hard as their parents and were, after the house lights go up, eager to continue the dance in their own fashion with friends and loved ones in the aisles. With luck Aracaladanza will bring 'Constellations' back to London soon, so that others will have a chance to see the stars come down to earth.