Vuelos (4 stars)

This article is from 2017


credit: Pedro Arany

Stimulating young creative minds with the work of Leonardo da Vinci

In dance company Aracaladanza's eyes, there's no reason why young audiences can't appreciate the beauty of Leonardo da Vinci's ideas and artwork. It's this refusal to talk down, while putting creativity and elegance at the heart of a work for children that gives Vuelos (Spanish for 'flight') its wings.

Artistic Director Enrique Cabrera has taken inspiration from the sketches, paintings and flying inventions of da Vinci and turned them into vignettes of dance that harmonise with Elisa Sanz's richly textured costumes and Álvaro Luna's video projections.

There's a glimmer of magic in the black wings that sprout digitally behind one dancer at the opening. Later on, this raven theme is taken up by four members of the cast, who animate black ostrich feather fans majestically and revel in their broad-spanning strength. The flying theme recurs in hovering dragonflies held by blue-cloaked figures and floating, tumbling polyhedra, and also emerges in subtler ways, such as in a trotting dance of horses. Here small bounces give them tiny swishing airborne moments, and the costumes with their long noses and armoured shapes conjure up a delightful fusion of animal and knight.

Luis Miguel Cobo's score balances soft pips and gentle melodies, which make even the more arresting images – dragon-winged dancers at the end, or the strange four-legged creatures created by tilted mirrors – feel tempered and safe. Aracaladanza has previously created pieces around the work of Hieronymus Bosch and Joan Miró, and seems to have found the perfect way to stimulate budding artistic minds.

Church Hill Theatre, until 13 Aug, 2pm & 6pm, £20 (£10).


  • 4 stars

Have you ever dreamt of flying – of soaring with the birds in the sky? Vuelos is a magical dance theatre work for children and families that challenges you to wonder, and to contemplate our eternal dream: to be able to fly. Combining captivating digital animation and life-size puppets, mirrors and shadows, athletic…