(((WeCameToDance))) @ Nicolson Square
Aliens come to warn planet Earth in this playful event with a serious message
(((WeCameToDance))) is a family-friendly participatory dance show by sustainable food trust Food Tank, in partnership with Edinburgh-based street-dance studio House of Jack and The World Food Programme. Described by one of the writers as “environmental zumba”, it combines thirty minutes of singing and dancing with a strong message.
After being invited to have faces painted and try snacks based on crops such as oats and berries (contributed by The Edinburgh Larder) that could feasibly grow on another planet, participants are each allocated a demarcated area of floor in which to stand and dance. Three ‘NASA scientists’ introduce us to aliens, each representing a different culture from the once ecologically-threatened planet Hanyana, who have come to urge us to take action to save planet Earth.
Using songs and dance, the Hanyanans tell their story of rising sea levels and failing crops, leading us in the dance movements. Despite audience participatory events being way out of my comfort zone, there was no issue with feeling judged of watched. Those unable to stand danced seated, while those of us in our zones on the floor laughed and floundered to the best of our abilities.
Undeniably well intentioned and with impressive credentials, the all-Scottish cast are talented performers. However, if the production has one main failing, it is in overestimating the audience’s ability to follow dance routines and listen at the same time. The central message of ‘even if uncertain, at least do something’, though, still comes through.
Towards the end of the show, participants are collectively challenged to step forward, literally and metaphorically, out of our comfortable boxes. It was interesting to note the hesitation to be the first person to take that step and how quickly we all followed once the bravest had done so. Message received.