I always agree to do things, thinking that they’ll just turn out fine, it’s not until I’m doing them that it occurs to me that I should I perhaps have thought this one through.
A sea of expectant faces stare at me in anticipation for the introduction that I should be offering. I am delivering one of sorts; I’m just incorporating more gurgling and stupid smiling than your average smooth-talking presenter. Good thing that Yorkshire Dance Youth were there to pick up my jumbled pieces.
They were showing us their film Dancing With Your Neighbours, a project which brought contemporary dance to the Seacroft Community. After the film came a Q&A. Instead of being stilted and awkward as Q&As so often are, this was full of everything that is good. The girls spoke about dance and life (pointing out that dance is life) with intelligence, eloquence and shrewd insight. It was really inspiring!
Sometimes the contemporary dance world can feel like a bubble comprised of self-interested water particles so I value any sort of validation from ‘the real world’ of the positive impact that dance can have to everyday lives. When I asked how Sammy’s view of contemporary dance had changed since joining the company she replied “I used to refuse to take my socks off. Now I take ‘em off all the time”.
Toes are wiggling on to big things in Seacroft.
At 19.30 I was showing my ticket to an usher who, after seeing my seat number, advised me to attack it from the far end. This was an appropriately direct way to begin Jordi Cortes’ performance In Heaven. He did not hold back. Cortes doesn’t waste time with superfluous things such as ‘being tasteful’. Why not wear sparkly green zip-up lycra and stilettos? What he offered to us was crude, rude and at times brilliant.
Cortes’ subject is life. Definitely and defiantly, he is very much alive. In Heaven explored the recurring themes of mortality and narcissism with various images. The stage was littered with an eclectic mixture of objects which Jordi strolled around. It is beautiful to see someone who is as empty of inhibitions as Cortes. He shows us the flabby older body and proudly wobbles as he humps the floor wearing a pig mask.
Quite often I was focussing more on the twinkle behind his eye than what he was actually doing. Perhaps I could say the same things teachers at NSCD say to me; at times his imaginary world was not visibly physicalized. It doesn’t really matter though, Cortes was a brilliant host, I love my time sitting opposite him. There was audience participation too. We all sang, stomped, clicked and clapped. Then Cortes asked for 2 volunteers. I climbed on to share the stage with him and Wendy Houstoun where they instructed me and the other poor guy to slap each other in front of large audience which could have included a number of lawyers. After that we high all kicked in a big circle, it was good fun.
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