‘We find a space in the margins of the city in which to gather: to start an ad-hoc ceremony, to stamp our feet and shake our limbs, to dance in the face of an ending… The music is the rider, and we are the running horses’
So states the poetic manifesto of Still House’s Al Fresco Urban movement experiment. The space is effectively a square of ground, delineated by the seating (one row on three sides, everyone else is standing) and lights at each of the four corners, the far side dominated by a small pavilion housing the live music. The effect is both electric and atmospheric, heightened by the subtle, carnivalesque lighting. After a short, hauntingly keening vocal intro, the drums begin to set up an exciting, throbbing beat. ‘Ok’, I think, ‘Here we go!’ Excitement mounts further, until a woman from the audience leaps up and begins throwing some fairly confident shapes all around the square. She is followed by four more, until, with a total of five twisting, surging figures, the troupe is complete. We are only five minutes in. The show has begun.