Review: Longways Crosswise dance performance in Silverdale

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In its time Morecambe Bay has seen drama, tragedy, artistry and not a few spectacular sunsets.

Bundle all these together into a one-hour dance performance and you have the essence of this breathtakingly beautiful production played out on the grassland between Silverdale village and its shoreline.

It’s the creation of Lancaster-based choreographer Jenny Reeves, from the city’s About Time dance company, and choreology student Ellen Jeffrey.

They marshalled seven professional dancers, and 14 local participants, for just three performances of a dance piece that is part of Morecambe Bay Partnership’s current series of arts events.

The rolling hillocks of The Lots open space become their stage; the bay beyond, and Lakeland hills, form a backdrop; and lighting design is provided by a slowly setting sun.

The all-female cast play out, in movement and verse, the lives of the locals as they battle with the elements, and subsistence. Reeves and Jeffrey, holding the laurel fronds that have been used by Bay guides down the centuries, pilot audiences of around 80 over the grassland.

The natural contours reflect the changing shapes amidst the sands and tide, as performers dip below the eye-line, or are silhouetted against the sunset, before trudging home.

A performance that will live long in the memory of a fortunate few. Oh, and whoever supplied those setting sun light effects deserves the highest praise!

David Upton