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Review: BEAUTiFUL, by Sweetshop Revolution, Dance East, March 9

PUBLISHED: 13:21 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:21 12 March 2018

Dancers from Sally Marie's production of BEAUTiFUL, an exploration of female sexuality, which is being staged at DanceEast. Photo: Dominic Farlam

Dancers from Sally Marie's production of BEAUTiFUL, an exploration of female sexuality, which is being staged at DanceEast. Photo: Dominic Farlam

Dominic Farlam, Dominic Farlam

Desire is such an abstract concept, that probably only dance and music can properly give voice to the many complex, and often contradictory, feelings that this wonderfully human emotion generates.

Dancers from Sally Marie's production of BEAUTiFUL, an exploration of female sexuality, which is being staged at DanceEast. Photo: Dominic FarlamDancers from Sally Marie's production of BEAUTiFUL, an exploration of female sexuality, which is being staged at DanceEast. Photo: Dominic Farlam

As part of this year’s International Women’s Day, choreographer Sally Marie, from Sweetshop Revolution, explores the essence of female desire and how it fits into a complicatedly personal landscape.

Using a series of stand-alone vignettes, linked by the notion of desire, five young dancers explore their attitudes towards female sexuality, both through movement and through spoken text, which has come from both personal experience and research.

As you would expect the performances were both expertly delivered and passionately raw but, as an audience member, I wished that the evening wasn’t quite so disjointed. The audience had to work hard to make sense of what they were seeing and considering that there were elements of text, forming an integral part of the evening, there was an opportunity to provide a little more structure to the delivery.

Dancers from Sally Marie's production of BEAUTiFUL, an exploration of female sexuality, which is being staged at DanceEast. Photo: Dominic FarlamDancers from Sally Marie's production of BEAUTiFUL, an exploration of female sexuality, which is being staged at DanceEast. Photo: Dominic Farlam

Nevertheless this was a courageous look at a very difficult subject and one which didn’t shy away from challenging topics about body image and different types of sexual relationships. The dancers themselves, aged between 21 and 28, were amazingly confident and were able to give performances which were clearly very exposing in an emotional as well as a physical way and it was reassuring to learn that the piece had been developed by them in conjunction with Sally Marie.

BEAUTiFUL offered plenty of food for thought and was designed for us to embrace female desire and sexuality away from the objectifying template of porn. The performance covered a lot of ground in terms of different types of sexual desire and how different people interact and see the world but I would have loved to see some more humour in the mix. Humour can form an important element in attraction and it would have also helped to give a better sense of structure to the piece.

Nevertheless, full marks to both Sally Marie and DanceEast for tackling such a difficult subject in such an honest way.

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