Project Y 2019

Tramway, Glasgow

Mary Brennan


EVER since 2006, YDance (formerly Scottish Youth Dance) has involved dancers aged 16 to 21 in an intensive four-week summer school that culminates with performances on-stage.

For the first time since its inception, this ad hoc Project Y company was an all-female group, so when it came to high lifts and supportive partnering, the sisters were doing it for themselves, and with confident aplomb.

The four short works by professional choreographers all carried a fine sense of personal discovery and empowerment, often in the face of hostile interventions. Thomas Small’s The Other – with all 20 dancers fully engaged in choreography that was fast-paced, richly detailed and stylistically varied – looked at the (sometimes random) ways in which a group dynamic turns on individuals who are tagged as ‘different’. Maybe no longer ‘cool’, maybe no longer toeing the regimented line... Clever stuff and cogently apposite for today’s young adults.

Christine Devaney’s Yes We Are The Future and Yes We Are Dancing For You Now saw ten dancers use text and movement to explore the how and what of identity, both as individuals and as a peer ensemble. Serious thoughts combined with mischievous humour and a lovely sense of joy in the moment and optimism in, and for, the future.

Something To Say, choreographed by Tony Adigun for the other half of the group, saw solidarity fragment when a lone voice rebels, and the collective impulse is to suppress – sometimes with combative tactics – rather than support.

Expressive gestural mime saw hands raised in protest, accusation, punitive restraint – a vivid reminder that speech is not always free.

Finally Rosie Kay’s Baroque Fantasy filled the stage with a quirky melange of balletic tropes – tippy-toed bourrées, elegant ‘swan’ arms – and free-form moves, prompted by the sudden shifts from Vivaldi to abstract piano pieces, each one a call for bodies to join whatever dance the music suggested.

Great fun to watch – hugely challenging to do, so well done everybody!