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2019: An interview with the artistic director of PULSE!

For their first ever outdoor production, Joss Arnott Dance partners with a world class design team as a dancer and drummer explore the interplay between movement and music. Arnott’s athletic and unique movement language has been described as “exquisite to watch” (The Stage), “masterful” (Varsity) and “the perfect tonic for British Contemporary Dance” (Londonist).

What can bOing! audiences expect from your new show, PULSE! ?

PULSE! is an adrenaline-fueled, dance and live music production set around a 3.5m wheel engineered by Rolls-Royce. The work incorporates percussive music, acrobatics and heart-in-mouth, daring choreography throughout. The piece builds to a great crescendo symbolising a message of unity within a common space around a bespoke structure that resembles a familiar sense of fun, play and youthfulness.

What is the story behind the performance?

The work is based around the existence of the wheel and bringing the structure back to life which has been dormant for many years. How many, we don’t know…

The performers, discover and explore the structure, letting the set teach them about their capabilities, challenging them and allowing them to learn new skills.

The set is not an inanimate object, but is the third performer in this production that has a voice, enhanced by the music throughout. Time is passing, much faster than anticipated and the performers are fighting against the clock – learning how the structure can teach them about their expertise and develop them.

How did you arrive at the concept of the show?

I always wanted to make a production that is visually stunning that incorporates dance and live music. The set has a striking existence of its own which is beautiful, yet threatening at times and I feel this is appealing to outdoor audiences who pass by, creating a sense of wonder.

I wanted to create a work collaboratively with my producer, composer, the performers and designers to present a work that is accessible, visual and highly energetic that people will remember and leave hopefully wanting more.

The structure has as a landscape of circles through the instruments and construction, representing strong imagery of engines, turbines, clocks, cycles etc. which represents and explores our relationship with technology and natural curiosity to be bound to objects, finding a familiarity within this which was part of the brief from the beginning.

This will be your first ever outdoor performance. How do you feel it will change the dynamic? 

I’m excited to have such a vitalising, first outdoor which I truly hope audiences will love. There is a lot to offer with dance, live music and the structure itself – I’m excited to hear what audiences have to say about the work, what they will take away from it and hopefully leave them feeling energised and awe-inspired.