Wow, I don't know what I expected, but the Edinburgh Fringe Festival took me by surprise. I was overwhelmed by the number of people and shows and stuff going on, overwhelmed in the most positive of ways. The atmosphere is great and the Royal Mile was bursting with people - who are either visiting the festival, street performers or people advertising their shows by giving out flyers or performing some kind of live flyer. The amount of shows is ridiculous - to put in to perspective I performed in a show at 6.50pm and we had access to the stage at 6.45pm, and had to clear out IMMEDIATELY after the performance finished because there were back to back shows. Insane.
My self and fellow NSCD buddy D'wayne Anthony Simms were dancing our duet 'wordup' as part of Dr Peter Lovatt's show 'DanceDocotorDance', which is running/ran (depending when you read this!) for the whole festival at the Bedlam Theatre.
The DanceDoctorDance team comprised of the whole Lovatt family and PHD student Carine Lewis and Dwayne and I had a lot of fun working with them. The show is a great concept and the audiences loved it. Dr Peter Lovatt (according to his website) is a Reader in Cognitive Psychology and a Principal lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire. Before starting on an academic career Peter was a professional dancer.
Dr Lovatt's work, along with other things, explores peoples motivations for dancing. The show at Edinburgh is built around the science of his research, with some live daning dancing. Peter explains some of the research and findings he and his team have been doing by giving examples of, or recreating, experiments they did in their dance lab. He also gets the audience to do the hand jive and at the end of the show he asks teaches them a John Travolta style routine.
Each night, about half way through the show, there is a short performance, a different one each night. The pieces are based around a different feeling, taken from a list that Peter included as part of the application for the show. The audience watch the performance and then have to guess what feeling was being conveyed. Which is where Dwayne and I came in. Our emotion was friendly. We were having a friendly conversation between to friends. Although according to our audience there was some sexual chemistry and we were flirting!
A German TV channel did a short feature of the show and Dwayne and I happened to be around when the filming took place. I found myself in the middle of a dance experiment on the Royal Mile. To advertise the show the DanceDoctorDance team had a slot on a stage, and as well as teaching the audience the John Travolta routine Peter re created one of the experiments they did in the lab.
This is to do with the amount of testosterone in men and the perceived attractiveness of their dancing. The length of the index finger is measured to indicate testosterone levels. The experiment involved me dancing with five random men, volunteers from the audience, as if we were in a club and they were trying to impress me. Then the audience voted for the 'best' dancer. The guy that won did apparently have the most testosterone. To see the link click here and go to about eleven minutes seventeen. (Its all in German).
I really enjoyed working with Peter Lovatt as I think he combines science and dance in a very interesting and accessible manner. He gives the facts in a straight forward understandable manner and he has a sense of humour and joy about his dancing which means the audience are not intimidated. As you can see if the German TV clip at the end of the show the audience are all dancing with a smile on their face.
Over all much fun was had at the festival, I didn't see any dance, I filled up on theater and comedy, something I don't see often. But I did do classes led by Smallpetitklein dance company and Scottish Dance Theatre, organised by fellow NSCD student Lucy Clark who was working for The Zoo, one of the many venues.
From now on I will definitely be going back to the festival each year, hopeful as a performer, but certainly as a viewer. And I'll always pack an umbrella.
To learn more about Peter click here