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Sign Dance Theatre Collective

Sign Dance Collective (SDC) are fast developing a European-wide reputation for their imaginative new style of sign dance theatre. Last year they won the Attatuk Award for culture at the Ethos International Festival, Ankara. This year David Bower and Isolte Avrila are set to make an impression in the UK. Colin Hambrook reviews their show reel.

Having missed Sign Dance Collective at last years' Above and Beyond festival I was excited to get a copy of the collective's latest show reel. The DVD features excerpts from six of their recent performances and shows their diverse influences, in developing this visually and theatrically innovative new art form.

Crossing boundaries between movement and communication, the ideas are endless, using a combination of physical theatre, sign language, puppetry, percussion and multi-media projections to add a dynamic point of access to the subtleties of movement, colour and design. Sign Dance Collective take the aesthetics of sign language interpretation into poetic realms, developing pieces that are accessible to deaf and hearing audiences alike.

The show reel gives a flavour of the themes the collective have been exploring from signed sci-fi romance to Shakespeare and Grimms fairy tales. The work is beautifully choreographed using a canvas of complementary colours to add a painterly, abstract feel. The use of video projection particularly comes across in 'You hide and I'll go blow up the generator', and 'Fractured Fairy Tales' where the detail of hand movements on the stage are cleverly filmed from above adding aesthetic and access to the overall effect. Caliban and Miranda, billed as a prequel to the Tempest, uses giant puppets amidst a background of blue and orange, and wild persussion.

Relics, which is currently in development with sculptor Adam Reynolds, will be shown at the Arena Theatre Festival on The Isle of Wight and will touring the Southern region later in the year.

For more information Sign Dance Collective can be contacted at:

Penn School

Church Road Penn

High Wycombe

Bucks HP10 8LZ