KMA’s most ambitious work to date, Congregation will be the world’s first ever ballet designed, choreographed and composed entirely for pedestrian performers. There will be no rehearsal and no textual input: participants will simply respond to the choreography of light and sound in an embodied, rather than verbal, discourse. The score for Congregation has been created by Portland-based composer Peter Broderick.
Commissioned by SCAN and British Council, Congregation is due to premiere simultaneously at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai as part of World Expo and Bournemouth for the Inside Out Festival, followed by further performances at Tate Britain, London
Congregation illuminates the responses that humans make to interruption and interference in their environment. The interruption, in this example, is the arrival of a lone figure (The Angel). This figure cannot communicate, can barely move and appears powerless. Despite its impotence, the figure is utterly immovable, indelible, and as such must be perceived as super-human, with an authority and permanence as powerful as any force of nature. If it will not adapt, it demands to be acknowledged; and the witnesses of the arrival must establish a relationship with it. Our human need to believe – to attribute meaning, to understand our environment – leads us to make extraordinary attempts to relate to this enigmatic presence, and we fall quickly upon universal patterns of religion, spirituality, faith. We seek affirmation in sharing these beliefs with our neighbours, and attempt to reduce and distill the mystery into something tangible. Communities form as consensus develops, and factions seek to confirm their specific relationship with the visitor by defining their differences from each other.
And what then becomes of us should this visitor depart? Are we willing to accept that what seemed permanent was merely an apparition – that we were fooled, and foolish – or was the power in the shared experience sufficient to outlive the trigger? Will we miss our visitor, or rejoice in the reaction which was catalysed? Was the act of the moment more telling than the subject?