FRINGE TWENTY17: Fantasy Light Yoga @ PICA

By Freya Parr 

Welcomed into PICA’s Central Galleries, instructed to wear workout gear, nobody knew what to expect. It soon became clear that this would be far from a conventional yoga class. In pitch black with strobes and UV lighting, we were separated into the elements: earth, fire, air and water. This was decided by our star signs. A Rainbow Rhythms-esque yoga warm up began the proceedings, which was more than slightly surreal. There was a moment that I was bent on all four panting like a “cute puppy” in which I felt as though I was part of some sort of social experiment. But as soon as the lights went down and the volume of the deep house music went up a notch and we started dancing as a collective mass, I knew I had found my spiritual home.

Each group of elements were led by a pigtail-wearing, fairy light-bedecked leader, who began movements that we were to follow. The choreography meant that we were moving around the space, interacting with the other elements, and using movements that reflected our elements. As an earth element, I moved between growing like a tree to birthing a child to fist pumping and humping the floor. I may have developed some deep-rooted issues from the whole affair, but quite frankly I loved it.

Bold and frankly very unusual, the whole evening was magnificent. The only way to enjoy it was to view the whole thing completely ironically, and then it was utter genius. I rubbed ice on other people’s sweaty bodies to the sound of jungle house, rolled on the floor, and felt bizarrely connected to every other bemused yogi in the space.

The evening ended with a room of joyful strangers standing and violently sweating touching heads with people they had never spoken two words to. It was ritualistic and strangely meditative, and completely weird and wonderful. A perfect evening out for the adventurous, or those who want to be completely thrown out of their comfort zones. A Fringe experience about as immersive as you can get.