Our dancers are now over half way through their Journey of the Magi Advent tour 2017. Naomi Cook, who was a cast member for the show for 10 years, describes what an “average” day at this time of year looks like for the company.
On tour the blow dealt by the early call of the alarm clock is softened by the incredible generosity and welcome from the venues we travel to. Springs’ crew of four performers and one technician is mostly hosted by members of the churches we’re visiting. Our day starts here; the times we spend with the people we meet are precious: a discussion about arts in the church here, a snatched conversation about using dance within the community there.
We pick up the team and share anecdotes about our hosts, amazed time and again by the generosity and spirit of people. As we drive along we dedicate ourselves to various show-enhancing activities: stretching hamstrings on the seat in front, updating Springs’ social media, calling the next church in advance, or sleeping! We have been known to do ‘van church’ and even ‘carols by (battery-operated) candlelight’.
Journey of the Magi, inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem, is a festive production of dance, theatre, song and poetry. As we perform in churches round the country we problem-solve the fitting of dance floor, lights and props within the confines of altars and pews.
The kitchen/dressing room is a good grounding experience for dancers! We believe in the exhausting work.
Tour is usually filled with laughter, new relationships with host churches, new people, discussions about doors opened to faith expressed in a new way, dance to communicate, to tell stories, to have a voice. Favourite moments for the dancers in this show are the chaotic and (don’t tell the Artistic Director) unpredictable Christmas Shopping scene, and the glorious Vision scene.
It’s hard to believe this is the show’s 21st year. Artistic Director, Ruth Hughes, is proud that at a time of year when life can be an exciting holiday for some, and a lonely battle for others, the production is a story for everyone to relate to. Over the years the show has been developed to incorporate the story-lines of more characters.
Audiences reflect on, not only the famous journey the wise men made following the star to Jesus, but also the “journey” each of us makes every year in preparing for Christmas Day. Journey of the Magi is a chance to experience, in a visceral way, the realness of Christmas. It celebrates a birth long ago, and points the show’s modern-day characters towards hope of reconciliation.
The Springs cast members dance towards Christmas, using body, mind and spirit to give audiences of all ages and walks of life a moment to be entertained, and to open the doors of their faith a little wider.