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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Stepmother | Stepfather, Arthur Pita and Headspace Dance, Dance XChange.

The idea of a stepparent stems strongly from those we meet in well known fairytale stories, usually perceived as a someone who is wicked and unkind. This idea was brought to life at the performance of Stepmother | Stepfather that I saw produced at Dance XChange's recent season launch event. The production from Arthur Pita and Headspace Dance compromised of two different dance pieces performed in one evening. Both of the pieces had a underlining theme of a wicked step parent.

First we were presented with STEPMOTHER,choreographed by Arthur Pita. A piece which was technically beautiful as we were lead into a menacing world where macabre folklore meets the terrifying grotesque. Well known fairy tales don't seem so happy ending after all as they distort into nightmares we'd all like to wake up from. Familiar characters like Snow White and Rapunzel are pursued by abusive and wicked stepmothers.  There is a real flare of punch and energy throughout the entire choreography and seeing men move so well with heels in contemporary dance was really admirable. They had a great use of the space and transitioning through the various characters whilst being within the dance space worked really effectively and didn't stray from focusing on the choreography.



The second piece of the evening was choreographed in 2007 by Pita, which was commissioned by CandoCo (who are my favourite dance company ever), is re-imagined on these dancing bodies for this two part production. STEPFATHER focuses on the relationship between a father and daughter that twists the stability of their family and concludes with murder and suicide. The choreography and piece is inspired by the folk punk 'Country Death Song' from cult American band Violent Femmes, becoming the narrative to bring the dance together. There is search for redemption that is played out beyond the grave.

I found the context quite disturbing to follow but thought the choreography and professionalism of undertaking a difficult topic was played out well  by the dancers. I really enjoyed the way they experimented and played with their scenery, making it flexible to move through different scenes dependent on the song's narrative. There was a defining moment of strength as we saw a male dancer hang in the space alone and with little to no movement. The little moments of silence really played well within the piece.

I couldn't help but admire the companies really strength and fluidity with all of their choreography. HeadSpace Dance are working in collaboration with DanceEast on this tour and will be performing at The Place with this piece Thursday 2nd - Saturday 11 March. 

Also make sure you keep an eye out for Birmingham's Dance XChange and their amazing season of dance work, including Joli Vyann's Imbalance which looks incredible!

thanks for reading,


*I was gifted this ticket in exchange for a review, but all words and opinions are my own.

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