News Story

Loren McK Lesbian Dance Theory

Bea Bidault and Theo ArranThe Shape of a Day

Nefeli KentoniThe Wall of Babel

We enter the space with McK jamming to some tunes; behind them are strips of fabric that will
later be used to project media clips and interviews about this elusive topic they call ‘Lesbian
Dance Theory’
. Despite the work being in a speaker - listener lecture style, McK made us feel
very comfortable in the space with their honesty and vulnerability. So much so that when
commenting on their nerves talking in front of a larger group, one audience member responded
with “you’re crushing it!”. Instead of giving us a clear definition of this theory, McK concluded
the presentation with an outrageously queer and freeing dance. One that gave more clarity than
any academic answer could when asked the question “what the f*** is lesbian dance theory?”.

The Shape of a Day
was a feast of subtlety, fluidity and synchronicity. Bidault and Arnolds’s
performance beautifully encapsulated the intimacy of a couple supporting one another through
trial and decay. Compared to the choreography, the costume and lighting of this work felt like an
afterthought. This hindered the piece as the all black pedestrian clothing along with the dark
lighting design made it difficult to follow some of the movements.

Moreso a piece of theatre than dance, Wall of Babel discussed the realities of communication in
our linguistically diverse world. Three performers were directed by 2 narrators, translated by an
overhead projector operator and serenaded by a live vocalist and bassist. The sinuosity Kentoni
achieved through the interaction of these characters is therefore no small feat. The piece is
densely layered, so much so that as I write, I continue to find more tidbits and clever details
buried within the performance. The childlike innocence and naivety of the personas onstage
easily carried me through the emotional journey of this work.

Liam Woodvine

This Resolution programme put human behaviours under the theatrical microscope, exploring aspects of sexuality, intimacy, communication and much else besides.

In Lesbian Dance Theory, Loren McK’s performance took the style of a TEDx lecture albeit with script read from her mobile ‘phone, breaking off at strategic points for some talking heads (and one headless voice) to give their views, including responding to a hilarious clip from a female YouTuber asking, “WTF is Lesbian Dance Theory”? When McK confessed to having junked a chunk of their text the evening before, it suggested a work not yet finished: they were certainly more confident as a dancer (in a brief clubland finale) than a lecturer, acknowledging nervousness and a “claggy throat”. A performance that could have appeared amateurish was both endearing and thought-provoking. Film of Loïe Fuller and her swirling skirts was an unexpected bonus.

In The Shape of a Day, Edd Arnold and Bea Bidault began in a floor-based duet, danced in separated unison, and ended in a tight clinch. The degree of intimacy between the pair grew through the piece. Momentary glimpses of narrative punctuated an otherwise abstract work, including the simulation of a train journey and Arnold’s shaking body suggesting illness. This pure dance was performed with maturity.

There were moments in Nefali Kentoni’sWall of Babel where I laughed out loud. Combining set and lighting in that ubiquitous pre-PowerPoint artefact, the Overhead Projector, was an inventive stroke of genius that underpinned another thoughtful piece, about language, delivered in a fragmented narrative that ranged from mutual tongue-touching (“not in a sexual way”) to wartime violence acted out in the playground. It needed an edit but there were enough ideas in this clever piece to suggest a strong potential future for Kentoni and her team of dancers, musicians, narrators; not forgetting the OP operator. A rare – if not unique – credit in contemporary dance!

Graham Watts