Wow, this year’s STAGE iT High Street Takeover event (all free) added even more sparkle to the Pleiades of the talent traditionally sourced for D&G Arts Festival for 39 years now!

To celebrate the Year of Young People the creation of the festival programme was entrusted to the Young Promoters Group, a collective of youngsters from across Dumfries and Galloway.

I was waiting with anticipation what innovative stuff they would up with and they certainly did not disappoint. They managed to preserve the excellent core regional music acts performing on the Plainstanes stage yet enhanced it with spectacular world-class dance show and daring aero-acrobatics.

Tinderbox Collective impressed with their on the spot music improvisations blending orchestra, choir and local bands into an exciting live collaboration. Scottish Ensemble orchestra performed classical music and some listening, body movement and sharp rhythm experiments with young local string musicians. Quite unusual!

What the young promoter’s programme succeeded in doing was liberating the D&G Arts Fest from the confines of the stationary Plainstanes stage and making it spill out to other High Street pedestrian areas and squares.

Doonhamers were treated to the latest Janis Claxton Dance production, Pop-Up Duets (Fragments of Love) show, a series of 5-minute dance miniatures on the nature of love, same sex relationships, gender reversals and dynamics. These spectacular contemporary dance duets were designed to be delight and provoke accidental audiences in public spaces, i.e. museums, galleries cafes, shopping centres etc.) and very interesting from the urban photography perspective.

The square outside the Stove became home to BLOCK, a thrilling dance and aero-acrobatic circus fusion. A collaboration of Motionhouse and NoFit State, the show is an allegory of modern urban life based around twelve giant blocks being moving, re-rearranging, building with and collapsing, while the performers engage in physical dance, theatrical antics and aerial acrobatics enactment of daily life and survival in the modern city.

Watching how Dumfries public spaces were used and interpreted by highly sought after international urban performers was both inspiring and jaw dropping.

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