Walk By – an introduction from Steve Batts

body wisdom portraits 093

Walk By

Walk By is the first time that Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company has created a full length performance which includes the Body Wisdom group, participants from our Children’s Classes and dancers from the Echo Echo Ensemble. The piece is truly made from our hearts.

Walk By is a rehearsed improvisation. This might sound a bit paradoxical but every live performance has some element of newness, creation, interpretation in the “live moment” and every performance has something decided beforehand even if it is just the time, location and the people involved.

Walk By is guided, much like an orchestral music performance, by a score; a set of instructions. In our case the score is used a bit more like the chord progressions and original melody are used by jazz musicians when they play “standards”.

In Walk By the score is made up of elements that suggest particular kinds of actions, like walking for example, and of instructions that ask the performers to pay attention to different memories, ideas and relationships with each other, as the performance progresses. There are no instructions in the score about what precise moves or shapes the performers should make. All of the detail is left up to the intuitive decisions of the performers.

In Walk By the performers do a poetic version of the already magical thing that we all do in our daily lives: Making it up, together and separately, as we go along, within frameworks and guidelines created by history, ethical values and aesthetic taste.

The music for Walk By is called Drive By. It is a recording of an hour-long improvisation by The Necks, an Australian band of three master improvisers whose concert in St Columb’s Hall, Derry in 2014 was an inspiration. It gives me an amused pleasure to think that a recording of an improvisation has become the only really fixed part of Walk By.

The lights for Walk By are, of course, fixed in their positions and directions but the choices about the intensity, blending and colour of the light are made by our lighting designer Barry Davis as the performance is created.

Walk By is a sort of meditation on the “poetics of the ordinary”. It has grown from an interest in the way that the smallest elements of the human world around us frequently arouse deep feelings and perhaps powerful responses, even though these feelings and responses often remain restrained and undramatic.

Walk By begins very quietly and takes it’s time to find its way. We aren’t in a rush and we invite you to join us in slowing down and paying attention to the small and touching details of the world as we pass through it and it passes by us.

Part of our creation process was to notice small incidents that we saw in the street which moved us in some mysterious way. We have printed out some of these shortest of short stories for you to read before the performance begins.

I hope you enjoy the performance. It lasts one hour.

Steve Batts

Artistic Director

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company


Image by Sarah Bryden Photography


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