There are over 500 volunteers to take part in Sea Change so am surprised to be picked. Perhaps I sounded desperate. Prior to selection, volunteers are invited to an online chat setting out what is involved and allowing questions and concerns to be answered. Part of the presentation involves a visual display of a past dance and shows one bloke leaping around half-naked. This prompts a number of questions along the lines of: “I won’t have to dance around in my underpants, will I?’’
One point that comes out of the online chat is that this is the real thing and is being taken seriously. Participants must commit to a series of rehearsals—seven in total and the shortest lasting three hours—before the main event and it is made clear there are no exceptions. This hits me hard. My default, when in a socially awkward situation, is to fall back on jokes and sarcasm and I realise that is going to be completely inappropriate. I’m going to have to be on my best behaviour and keep my mouth shut.
We are given an overview of Sea Change which will be a dance. French choreographer Boris Charmatz has taken inspiration from Victorian photographer Eadweard Muybridge who took multiple photographs of people in motion which, when fused together, gave the impression of movement. Like an old-style cartoon flick-book whereby images of stick men seemed to move about. Get the impression the dancers will form a kind of tableau and the audience will travel along the road thus creating the illusion of movement. There will be 46 choreographic movements performed in rotation. Although the event lasts from 5PM to 8PM, we will perform in shifts and each of us remains in a socially distanced spot. There will be a soundtrack designed by Olivier Renouf that will create a tunnel of sound.
Decide I’d better check out how friends and family can get tickets to see me in action. It might be their last chance before the inevitable happens and I’m talent-spotted to perform in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing or to replace Carlos Acosta. Stunned to see, although the performance is weeks away, all tickets have gone. Humbling to see other people do not share my reservations about MIF. It also raises the first twinge of concern: it is daunting to consider just how many people will be watching this event.
The dress code for the event is white top and jeans. One assumes this is to create uniformity amongst the dancers so as to facilitate the illusion of flowing movement.