Shadows: environment in which the dance was created and performed

Shadows: environment in which the dance was created and performed

Environment in which the Dance ‘Shadows’ Was Created and Performed


  • Shadows draws from Christopher Bruce’s interest in themes of societal and personal struggle, reflecting his own experiences and observations.
  • The dance was created in a time of political and social unrest with shadows of oppression lurking.


  • The piece was initially performed indoors, utilising conventional proscenium arch theatres.
  • Positioning of props and lighting were strategically used to underscore both the title and central themes of the dance.
  • The confinement of space allowed the closeness and interactions between characters to be seen more vividly.

Costume and Props

  • The drab, minimal attire wore by the dancers, and the signature empty chairs suggest a backdrop of poverty and desolation.
  • Costumes were neutral in color, reflecting the bleak mood and condition of the characters.

Dance Constitution and Style

  • Dance was conceived using a mix of contemporary and narrative styles.
  • The use of contact work, partnering, and trust exercises play a significant role in the dance’s makeup and structure.
  • The dancers rely heavily on gestural movements and facial expressions, further encouraging the connection and interplay between the characters and the audience.

Audience Perception and Impact

  • The emotional journey of the dance tends to leave a lasting impact on its audience.
  • The exploration of human relationships, personal struggles and societal constraints allow for reflective interpretation.
  • Audience are drawn into the narrative, and may even relate to the depicted experiences of suffering and resilience.

Musical Score

  • The musical organization of the dance is specifically designed to complement and enhance the dramatization and intensity of the story.
  • The music by Arvo Pärt sets a somber and poignant atmosphere, complementing the themes and emotional landscape of the dance.

It’s important to note that ‘Shadows’ is not just a dance but a visual composition mirroring societal struggle and resilience. Using the metaphoric power of shadows, Bruce constructs a moving portrayal of human endurance against hardships. The dance is an artistic reflection of its time and stands as an iconic example of Christopher Bruce’s narrative style.