Blast From the Past

Spiltmilk Dance tell us more about Blast from the Past

| Mon 22 Feb 2016

We caught up with Spiltmilk Dance to find out a bit more about their new production Blast from the Past, including some rehearsal mishaps, their favourite memories and moments in history they've rediscovered.  

Could you tell us a bit about Spiltmilk Dance?

Described as "Dance but not hiding vegetables in kids’ food", Spiltmilk Dance have been sticking a big fat ray of sunshine into the world of contemporary dance since 2006. As a company, we are fascinated by the things within popular culture that unite people from different walks of life; the trends we follow, the food we eat, the songs we listen to and the dances we do on a night out. We aim to bring fun and intelligence in equal measure and entertain new audiences with a unique brand of intricate and charming performance. We love working with people of all ages in community and educational settings, to bring a fresh, down to earth approach to participating in dance. In our participatory projects we bring people together to celebrate their community, to get creative and have fun. Our work has previously been shown at venues ranging from pubs to piers, and from car parks to the Royal Opera House!

Can you tell us a bit more about the performance?

Jam-packed with hits, Blast from the Past is a fast-paced race through seven decades of the blockbusters and bestsellers we all remember, and the fads and fashions we might prefer to forget. Set to a soundtrack of chart toppers from 1952 to the present day, the show honours British pop culture and it’s ability to unite us all in weird and wonderful ways. Somewhere between a dance performance, sketch show, TV gameshow and the ultimate compilation album, Blast from the Past gives audiences a chance to get nostalgic, sing along with the hits and laugh out loud!

What can we expect from the show?

Blast From the Past races through 65 years of British pop culture. So we've really set ourselves a challenge! As we race through the decades, you will hear the top selling song of each year from 1952 to 2015.  As the song plays, we will dance about something that happened in the year it was a hit - for example we perform our choreographic love letter to Woolworths' Pick and Mix Sweets to Alexandra Burkes 2008 hit Hallelujah. Love them or hate them, these are the songs, events and trends that the nation have chosen to buy, watch, play with, wear and dance to. We love that these things mean we have shared reference points with people we’ve never met before. Regardless of age, gender or background, they give us all a common knowledge and a brilliant sense of community.

It's fast and it's fun but to get all the way to 2016 we need some help - that's where the audience come in... As an audience member you will be part of a team, and you will have one of us representing you on stage as team captain. At the end of each decade, you will have chance to join in our challenge by playing a game. You’ll work with your team to try and win a point (don't worry we don't make anyone stand up, dance or get on stage!) The team captain with the fewest points at the end of the show gets a forfeit!

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened in a rehearsal?

Our favourite rehearsal mishap happened when doing our 1990 dance which celebrates fashion favourite, the Shell Suit. At the end of the dance we take off our shell suit tops and throw them towards the audience, unfortunately on this occasion Jen got her zip stuck and couldn't get the top off. She turned to Adele for help but even together they couldn't do it. Jen ended up kneeling down with it stuck inside out and pulled over her head with Adele trying to yank it off. Sarah was supposed to be carrying on with the Gameboy moment for 1991 but completely lost it giggling at them. There are so many props in the show we can't expect all of them to behave all of the time!

What’s your favourite nostalgic memory?

We're all in our late 20s or early 30s so most of our nostalgic memories are from the late 80s or 90s.  In rehearsal we realised Adele could very vividly remember when her family got their first microwave and it was a kitchen revolution. Sarah gets very nostalgic remembering the red and yellow bum bag she always took on holiday - it had a sparkly dolphin key ring attached to it! Jen tells a great story in the show about going to see Riverdance with her family in Ireland in the 90s, it turns out her Mum had a bit of a thing for Michael Flatley!

Were there any particularly moments in history that came up in the development of the show, that you had forgotten about or that you re-discovered?

There were many things that popped up and surprised us during our research - 65 years of Pop Culture is a lot to take in! We were often surprised to discover that some things had been around for much longer than we thought; such as the Slinky which first came out in 1956 or the game Twister in 1967. There were some key events which we wouldn't have thought of at all to begin with but once we started the research they stuck out as having a big impact on British culture at the time, for example the opening of Britain's first motorway in 1959. There were a few years where we were stuck for a long time trying to find just the right thing to include in the show. One such year was 1982, for ages we couldn't find anything to inspire our choreography. In the end, it was a member of staff at artsdepot who told us she could remember doing Jane Fonda's home workout video in 1982! Now our Jane Fonda dance is one of our favourites in the whole show.

See Spiltmilk Dance's Blast from the Past at artsdepot Saturday 12 March.
Twitter: @SpiltmilkDance #blastfromthepast

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Blast from the Past Trailer