Preview: Darren Ellis Dance – Meeting Mr Boom!: UK Tour 2014

On the up – an interview with Darren Ellis

Meeting Mr Boom! - a dance show with all the frills. Photo by JK Photography

Meeting Mr Boom! – a dance show with all the frills. Photo by JK Photography

Off on its bouncy, wobbly way across the UK is Darren Ellis Dance’s new show Meeting Mr Boom! Starting at Greenwich Dance on 1 March 2014 it visits all sorts of interesting places like Nottingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Lincoln, Barnsley, Runcorn and Bournemouth (with a couple of pit stops at London venues along the way) before finishing in Bristol for its grand finale on 20 July.

Specially created to appeal to families, choreographer Ellis (who’s previously worked with the likes of Richard Alston and Random Dance) has collaborated with composer Ronen Kozokaro (who’s worked with Rambert Dance Company and Matthew Bourne) to tell the story of a girl’s exciting journey into a magical world. The cast features top-notch dancers, musicians and a bouncy castle.

Dancing Review spoke to Ellis about his newest venture in this exclusive interview:

Dancing Review (DR): What’s the most challenging aspect about creating a ‘work for all ages’?

Darren Ellis (DE): Mostly it’s brought up the same challenges you face when creating any work: to be clear in what you’re saying, to find the right way of doing it and then finding the right pacing and rhythm to keep the audience interested, regardless of age. You try to get the balance right in what you want the audience to feel. You might want to scare them a little (but not so much that you terrify them!) and you want to make them laugh and have a great time. I think it’s brought a richer palette to the show and it’s added many more layers to the piece.

It's a wonderfully woozy hair-day for Jo Wenger. Photo by JK Photography

It’s a wonderfully woozy hair-day for Jo Wenger. Photo by JK Photography

DR: What’s been the most enjoyable thing in creating Meeting Mr Boom!?

DE: So far it’s been seeing the inner child come out of all the performers in rehearsals!  However, I think the most enjoyable part may be yet to come; I’m really looking forward to seeing the faces of the children and how they respond to the world that we’ve created.

DR: You’ve collaborated very closely with Ronen Kozokaro for this. What’s he brought to the project?

DE: Well, Ronen initially planted the seed of creating a show on a bouncy castle. Obviously we’ve developed it a lot from that point and Ronen was very clear he wanted to see how the environment would affect the musicians as well as the dancers. However, it wasn’t simply a case of me making the dance and then Ronen adding the music; we’ve worked closely together in the rehearsal studio to devise and create the show so it’s been a true collaboration. In fact, everybody involved in the show – performers, designers, dramaturg and producer – have all collaborated as well.

DR: At the end of the show, how would you like the audience to be feeling?

DE: I can’t wait to see the audience reaction to the show and the fact that afterwards they can go on the set and play – everyone that’s seen the set has been desperate to get on and bounce around!  I’d love for the children to relate to the show’s themes and also have a sense of  ‘I do that, I  imagine fantastic new worlds and invent characters’. It’d also be great if the adults could find their inner child again!

Meeting Mr Boom! tours nationwide until 20 July 2014. Tickets ands more info can be found on the Darren Ellis website.

Gerard Davis

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