The Swings, Platform, Glasgow ****
“What’s all this about?" asked a passer-by, as we queued up for All or Nothing’s new show, The Swings. No doubt similar questions will be asked at all 23 stops on the company’s extensive Scottish tour. For there, standing outside the venue in the glorious sunshine, is a giant, 16ft tall swing.
As Scotland’s foremost aerial dance company, the performers of All or Nothing are used to climbing up ropes, hanging from great heights and showing an improbable amount of strength. But even they will have entered unchartered territory when first
taking their seats on this enormous contraption. It functions like a regular set of playground swings (save for an additional looped rope at the top) and yet the sheer size of these swings mean they deliver a sense of liberation at a time when it’s most needed.
Before and after each performance, members of the public are invited to step up, climb on and swing high. For little ones, it’s unusual and fun – for grown-ups, it’s a time-machine that allows them to travel back to childhood.
The show itself is short but very sweet. Performers Chrissie Ardill and Danuta Ramos are supple and strong, easily pulling themselves up to the top of the ropes before twisting, turning and hanging in all manner of positions. A specially composed
soundtrack, playful then beat-driven, accompanies them as they fly high or spread wide into splits.
Each move is delivered with an excitable grin to the crowd, keeping everyone engaged and involved; likewise the cleverly constructed wooden rocking seats we’re invited to sit on.
If the show itself was a little longer, you’d hear no complaints – but hats off to All or Nothing, not just for bringing joy into our lives but for straying beyond the usual touring path to visit 23 communities across the country.
The Swings is touring Scotland until 18 August, see https://www.aerialdance.co.uk/production/the-swings/
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