The stillness and precision required were mentioned in a video-ed introduction to Wilderness, a commission based on Forest by Work Place artist Tony Adigun. He conjured up a magical performance, using 24 performers from The Place’s Children and Young Dancers programme as well as students from the Centre for Advanced Training. Impressively confident, they moved rhythmically into squares of light as if among trees, twisting and turning. Like forest creatures, they all had a sense of purpose, from the tiniest to the tallest. Instead of natural sounds, they followed the pulsing phrasing of music tracks by Scandinavian and Uruguayan composers.
The stage was crowded with the exuberance of youth in Wilderness, a work created by Adigun from the inspirations derived from Cohan’s Forest (1977), prefaced with a short film, firstly of Cohan being interviewed by The Place’s Chief Executive, Kenneth Tharp, about the making of Forest; and then Adigun speaking of his own experiences in following these (foot) steps. Young people from The Place’s Children and Young Dancers programme and its Centre for Advanced Training brought the emphasis back from the new nonagenarian to the next generation of dancers to be inspired by him. Using music from several composers, including the ubiquitous (post-Broadchurch, at any rate) Olafur Arnalds, and Mickie Mannion’s structural boxes of light, it was a performance uplifted by the rawness of these young dancers’ honest enthusiasm.