Dance Reviews: Born To Protest | Traffic light cabaret
Born to protest, Queen’s Park, Glasgow ****
Traffic light cabaret, online ****
We hear them before we see them. Laughter and cries announcing the imminent arrival of a small band. Sitting in the concrete amphitheater of Glasgow’s Queen’s Park in broad daylight, all we feel is the anticipation of the spectacle about to unfold. In other circumstances, however, would the five young blacks bursting into space cause a different emotion? “Am I making you nervous?” One of them asks the silent crowd.
The sequel to Joseph Toonga’s excellent 2020 work, Born To Manifest – also presented by Dance International Glasgow – Born To Protest continues the choreographer’s exploration of cultural identity, racial stigma and unconscious bias. Opening with a very energetic hip hop and synchronized on a soundtrack with heavy rhythms, this new work immediately engages the public. But once the wellness acrobatics are over, Born To Protest takes on a whole new vibe. From monkey chants to proclamations of fatigue from being judged for who you are, not who you are, the play demands more of us than just passive enjoyment.
Queen’s Park is also one of the backdrops for the Traffic Light Cabaret, which is part of Dance International Glasgow’s online offering. Beautifully shot, with a dynamic staging by David Banks, the short is a whirlwind tour of the populated city of skating duo Sugar and Spin, freestyle dancer Dyron Sandoval and contemporary dancer Jenn Taggart. It’s an entertaining love letter to city life, to dancing like no one is watching and to reclaiming the streets.
Sugar and Spin get the ball rolling, sliding down the roads and crossing a skate ramp, clearly loving every second. In an alley, they pass an invisible witness to Sandoval whose hip hop-infused movement leads to an unexpectedly charming revelation. Then in the aforementioned amphitheater strolls Taggart, bringing a gentle elegance to the surrounding hard stone.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We depend on your support more than ever, as the change in consumption habits caused by the coronavirus is having an impact on our advertisers.