A LOT of social history has been scuffed into the old wooden floor at Barrowland.
Recent years have seen the famed dance hall shift gears to become a venue for music gigs, but nothing quite like the Barrowlands Project has set foot in the space before.
Described as a "landmark dance event for Glasgow" – with funding partnerships marking the shift of sporting and cultural focus from London 2012 to Glasgow 2014 – the performance opened with massed ranks of locally recruited volunteers sweeping through moves choreographed by Michael Clark and ended with a body of kilted pipers delivering a mischievous, but unexpectedly gorgeous arrangement of Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep that had to be heard to be believed. And in the middle, Clark's own company filled the space with sequences to music by Scritti Politti, Relaxed Muscle and Bowie that hopefully will emerge at the Tramway in October as part of the new work being premiered there.
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As ever, the eye is caught, held, by the calm poise that stretches through the limbs of Clark's dancers as they juxtapose serene balances and elegant body lines with spurts of fizzy little skips and hops. But here, they (and the choreography) embraced the fabric of the building: dancers – including Clark himself – physically connected with the stage and the pillars at the side.
Gestures and steps that had earlier been demonstrated by the volunteers in their impressive formations recurred again in the company choreography – an uplifting reminder of the shared process Clark has engaged in since July.
And if seeing Clark's Lycra-clad company at such close quarters highlighted their meticulous prowess, seeing scores of non-professionals go so confidently into their dance was a celebration of commitment and endeavour in itself.