Every so often the Wellcome Collection in London, much like many of the other museums, keeps its doors open slightly later for a special Friday night event. The exhibitions stay open until 11pm to give people a chance to visit after work. There are bars open and specially curated events taking place across the evening based around a specifically chosen theme.
On Friday, I visited the Wellcome Collection’s Late called Display which was hosted in collaboration with disabled and non disabled dance company, Candoco, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.
When I entered the Wellcome Building I was shocked at how busy it was! It was great to see a museum buzzing on a Friday night, and then I noticed within the busy crowd some were dancers, moving slowly and subtly on a raised platform. We all stood and watched for a while as they moved from position to position, almost hypnotised, before they stepped down and we all like sheep followed them up the main spiral staircase in the museum. This theme of dancers immersed in the building itself was all over the evening, with dancers popping out of the exhibitions and exploring the theme of display through their performances scattered around the museum.
As the Wellcome Collection was founded on the basis of promoting science and furthering knowledge there were a series of talks on the night covering various topics around the themes of Dance and what it means it display and be on display. I attended a talk by University of Hertfordshire Reader of Dance Psychology Peter Lovatt. It may have seemed like a heavy subject on paper but what an light, engaging and entertaining man he was! He gave a fascinating talk on how factors of perception, age and even the symmetricalness of ones ear lobes can effect how well you can dance! Perhaps ‘symmetrical earlobes’ will become an entry requirement for the Royal Ballet School with further research? Doubt it!
He had the whole auditorium on their feet at one point, testing out different types of music (including S Club 7) to see which beats triggered different body parts to move with the music. Its incredible the factors that effect our perception and interpretation of dance both as audience members and as performers and to have this information so passionately conveyed was a real unexpected treat for the brain on a Friday evening!
On a night like this it was clear that it had been put together so that you and your mind could aimlessly wander around the museum for hours soaking up the surprises around every corner. From Candoco’s diverse and talented dancers moving fluidly with and through the architecture of the building on display, to the insightful workshops and interactive opportunities, even though Dance is a subject I felt familiar with, I couldn’t help but leave with further questions sparked in my mind about the subjects that had been covered.
No matter where your specific forte or interests lie, its impossible to know everything, and the Wellcome Collection is the perfect advocate for a hunger for furthering knowledge. I’ll definitely be attending a late event there in the future, and telling all my friends what a better way to spend a Friday night than in the pub!