We had our first rehearsal for The Barrowland Ballet’s new work The River on Saturday 14 June. When I arrived to the Speirs Locks studios at 11.30, I found a room full of smiling dancers—some of them friends from other projects—chatting to the company. We are a section called The City and it already felt we were a group that would work very well together. We did. Six hours later we had gone through most of the choreography in an orderly manner, with attention, but also having had fun discovering the wonderful patterns Natasha Gilmore has put together for us. A fair amount of it was very challenging (for me at least), but that is what we are here for: to learn and make something as beautiful as what she has devised. We learned sequences, we improvised, and we lifted each other. By the end of it, the 20 or so of us even knew everyone’s names. I am told there are around 100 dancers, so we still have work to do.
We danced with nice images (washing clothes was one of my favourites) and cool music. We were told how particular our costumes will be … Yes, I am being deliberately vague because I know all of you will come to see it and I don’t want to spoil the surprises that will make you love this work. I will just tell you that we learned something we called the sun dance, and the sun came out. That’s the power of our dance.
It was a lot of choreography and a long day, I must admit, because it was all-new to us. Never underestimate how tiring being happy dancing can be. By the end of it I was speechless. I even introduced myself as Lorna, and that is not my name. I went home, slept wonderfully and, although my calves hurt the next day from the joyful jumps we were taught, I have the satisfaction of knowing The River will be a fantastic work to perform and to watch. Hopefully, between us, we will remember all the moves when we next meet today.