Dance review: Scottish Dance Theatre, Macrobert centre, Stirling

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INTRODUCING contemporary dance to a new audience is a task laden with responsibility. Get it wrong, and they’ll be put off for life; draw them in and you could open up a whole new world of enjoyment.

Scottish Dance Theatre

Macrobert centre, Stirling


Easily entertained yet, conversely, easily bored, young children are often the hardest audience to crack – yet that’s exactly what Scottish Dance Theatre achieves with this gentle, yet innovative dance show.

“There are no rights or wrongs”, parents are told at the start, “whatever the children want to do is fine.”

It’s an open invitation for little ones to get involved, and right from the start, that’s exactly what they do.

Scattered around the edge of the stage (rather than seated in the auditorium) toddlers have direct access to the performance space, and as soon as the Scottish Dance Theatre performers start moving, so do many of them.

Inspired by the poetry of William Blake, nicely delivered by the dancers, everyone (parents, too) starts moving their arms like wings, holding sheets of paper over their heads to shelter from the rain, or building a tree from cardboard tubes.

Live music accompanies a Burns sing-song, complete with actions, and a good time is had by all.

What separates this from your average toddler group coffee morning, however, is the sporadic choreography carried out by the dancers. Enough to illicit oohs and ahhs, but never tedium.

Crucially, Innocence provides a hugely positive first experience of contemporary dance – and perhaps brings in a few new recruits (both adult and child) for the future.