Innovative tap dance show with original analogue music comes to Hornchurch
PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:12 25 February 2020
A unique tap dance show that explores communication and relationships through sound is coming to Hornchurch.
OSCiLLATE, performed by the Old Kent Road company, is bringing its groundbreaking dance show to the Queen's Theatre.
Artistic director, Avalon Rathgeb founded Old Kent Road in 2014 and choreographed the show along with Dre Torres.
She told the Recorder: "When most people think of tap dance they think of 42nd Street.
"Our show is very technically advanced. We have the best tap dancers in this company.
"It's exciting, it's new and it's innovative."
Using movement, sound and light, the performers hope to take their audience on a journey from misunderstanding, confusion, fear and misconceptions to compassion, acceptance and resolution.
"The show is about communication and miscommunication in relationships," said the artistic director.
"The solos have all been improvised by the dancers.
"It uses the body a lot, which is interesting because tap is a percussion art form, but in this show we use the whole body."
The performance includes original analogue electronic music composed specifically for the show by Canadian musician Kenneth Mockler.
Avalon said: "Every single sound you hear is created by an electric current and white noise.
"This is the first time we've used pre-recorded music and the style is very different when compared to our other work."
Avalon said the inspiration for the show came from exploring relationships between people, the performers on stage and their audience.
"I think it was a mix of different experiences, looking at the ways people react towards each other," said the artistic director.
"Oscillate means to move something back and forth in a regular rhythm, it's also the name of an instrument.
"We always spell it in capitals with the 'i' in lowercase to show how the 'i' represents you as a single person.
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"Sometimes the audience sees different relationships on the stage in a different way to how we put them out there.
"We haven't got characters or anything like that, but there are emotions to different pieces."
OSCiLLATE premiered at The Lilian Baylis Theatre at Sadler's Wells in 2018.
Last year DanceEast awarded the company with artistic residency and commissioned the redevelopment and expansion of OSCiLLATE.
Old Kent Road performed the show Fall Out in 2016 and were commissioned to create Dirty. Tap. Funk. for InMotion Festival in 2017.
Avalon said: "Fall Out was our first show and that was much more traditional.
"We had a jazz band trio and a singer with us. The music element was very different [to Oscillate].
"Our second show Dirty. Tap. Funk. was a funk music show which had a bit more of a narrative to it."
Speaking about how the show has changed since it was redeveloped, Avalon said: "The idea is pretty much the same.
"After performing it a few times we got some feedback and realised the journey needed to add more to the story.
"So we added in a few more pieces, including an acapella piece, and a body percussion piece without music, and we changed the aura around it a little."
Arts Council England has awarded Old Kent Road funding four times which has enabled the company to continue creating and sharing tap dance.
Old Kent Road has performed in venues all over the world including Tanz Haus in Dusseldorf, Germany and the Shanghai Grand Theatre in China.
Avalon add: "The feedback has been amazing.
"We've taken it out to China twice. The second time we did a full length show and people had just never seen anything like it before.
"I'm fully in the tap dance community and I haven't seen a tap dance show like this one.
"The physicality is one of the bigger things that we often miss as tap dancers in a show, and that's what we've really tried to incorporate."
OSCiLLATE will be showing at the Queen's Theatre in Billet Lane on Sunday, March 1 at 7.30pm.
Visit queens-theatre.co.uk or call 01708 443333.