Romanian Adventure

Romanian Adventure

This time last year the company had its first performance aboard, Artistic Director Vicki reflects on the adventure.

Early in 2018, on a whim, I submitted an application to perform overseas for the first time. As a company who are project funded, without regular income and a team who all have additional jobs, I didn’t think we would stand a chance against “the big boys”.

So when a few months later an email was sitting in my inbox asking me to provide further information on the Christmas show that I had so lovingly devised I was in shock. Christmas, in Romania, in October….who would have thought! After many conversations back and forth with the team in Romania we had a deal! We were going to perform in Europe at the 100, 1000, 1000000 Stories Festival, we couldn’t quite believe it.

I soon realized that after the initial excitement came the planning.

How would we get all 101 cardboard boxes (the set) to Romania was my initial thought! However after more conversation with the festival team it was very clear that they were here to help and had everything under control and off we went……one director, one musician, three dancers, four large suitcases, a guitar and a baby.

There was something very special about performing to an audience who didn’t understand English. As a choreographer you hope that the movement you create can translate into any language. Commotions secret is to blend movement with storytelling, the story comes to life through the audience’s imagination. The dancer’s bodies and facial expression, along with the devised music created in partnership with the dance are the tools for our young audiences to use to tell their own version of our story.

In Romania this was the case. There is always an element of nervousness before everything falls into place. The morning set up, working with a translator to talk through lighting plots with the technicians, setting up the sound and warming up backstage. Nerves and excitement were heighten in a foreign land, the feeling that we were part of something bigger, that very soon a sold out audience of little ones and their parents would be excitedly waiting in their seats to see this company who had come all the way from England to perform.

The logistic of performing in another country were something I had never thought about before and it was a huge learning curve on how to get everyone and everything safely to and from the location. I certainly see why small-scale companies might not do this so often or if they do they have a dedicated team to do this with. That being said when the house lights went down, the whispers of the audience settled and the first strum of the guitar was played it felt as special as every other show we have performed.

There are some things I would do differently next time (And their will be a next time), like not trying to be super director/babysitter/technician/tour guide in one or having two performers arrive in the country only a few hours before they perform (!); but despite all those things it has given me the bug to tour further, to explore new audiences, and to share the love of what we do further because the Commotion formula works. We connect children to art, children to creativity and children to their own imaginations regardless of what language we all speak. Romania, thank you for having us.

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