When Private Dancer was unveiled during Dance Base’s Fringe programme in 2010, it was hailed by The Shimmy’s Mark Harding as possibly the most important work of the summer. It’s easy to understand Harding’s enthusiasm. In a cultural climate that often privileges token inclusion and substitutes avant-garde postures for genuine innovation, Janice Parker integrated site-responsive staging, differently abled dancers and a promenade performance into a joyous hour that celebrates the spirit of “dancing like no-one is watching”. While it invites the audience to wander around the space for a personal experience, short interludes and private dances transform this into a profoundly intimate experience.

Parker’s genius, in cahoots with Live Art provocateur Richard Layzell, is to question the line between the private and public spheres, and push the idea of immersive theatre to the limit. Yet despite this radical foundation, Private Dancer is accessible and emotive. Harding commented on its almost Zen Garden beauty, and bemoaned that he couldn’t spend days wandering the rooms.  The final scene – which launches into a disco-fuelled dance off – suddenly reveals a startling vista, allowing the outside world to intrude on the series of individual, secret performances.

There is a gentility throughout the work, from its charming welcome through the discreet invitations to watch. Using video footage, booths and channelling the audience around the rooms, Private Dancer meshes the most contemporary strategies with a timeless compassion and fascinating charm.