Dance International Glasgow (DIG) is a bi-annual festival of dance programmed and produced by Tramway. It has returned this spring (21 April – 21 May 2017) to bring a variety of performances to the city and Scotland. Part of the “Current Moves” strand, Into the Mountain successfully investigates the topical theme of nature and human interactions.
The result of a research project by British artist Simone Kenyon, the performance is part of a series that embody women’s experience of the Cairngorms. Sourcing inspiration from Scottish poet Nan Shepherd and her understanding of nature, the solo performer thoroughly explores how the walker connects with the surrounding, from the preparation to the bold ascents, the night in the cold, the overcoming of weather conditions and the final descent.
There is no music but silence and sounds in the piece, no dance but body in action. The performer takes her time to set up her plan, scattering dozens of stones, one by one, naming each one after the other as many Cairns, Glens, Valleys to be conquered. It takes a few minutes to understand that this opening scene is an invitation to feel and experience the preparation for mountaineering, but it continues longer, risking losing the audience for the rest of the performance. However, the walker’s movements finally start. The whole performance is carried out with minimal but effective support, as sound and visual effects invade the stage and the audience space, successfully recreating the atmosphere of the environment. The artist’s personal engagement is impactful and her assurance offers the spectators the intense physical and emotional conditions of the walker.
Overall, Into the Mountain is a sensitive, physical performance exploring solitude and confidence in mastering the environment. Well worth seeing and particularly recommended in conjunction with another moving through the landscape performance, The North by Joan Clevillé .