The gender (in)equality debate in dance has been heating up as of late, and it seemed appropriate for choreographer Lee Griffiths to add to the dialogue. Behind Every Man, performed at The Place by The Company on January 23, hoped to do just that.
“It’s an issue that you have created! We’ve created! Feminist. Pro women. Strong women. All women. No women. One woman. One man. All men. Strong men. JUST men or Just WOMAN.”
The piece began with a provocative pseudo-sex scene – a couple with tangled legs in a seating position, surrounded by a transparent sheet (later tightened around the woman as she takes it in her stride. Perhaps a metaphor for the constraint women are subjected to).
The performance evolved into a controlled chaos, as dancers exploded into exuberant contact work, powerful physical movements, and great dynamics. Some instances however, though brilliantly performed, were unclear and enigmatic. Take a woman, shove her hands into a man’s mouth, and you wonder whether she’s attempting to reconstruct his make-up, manipulate him, rip out his anti-woman tongue, or just shut him up.
The atmosphere overall was electric. A great highlight to note would be the gender reversal of women leading the men in a ballroom inspired phrase.
All of the eight performers (four men, four women – perhaps a gender conscious decision) were commanding and omnipresent on stage. Each adding individual grace to make the performance intense and diverse.
Lee Griffiths is as eclectic as it gets. If not clear in her batch of talented handpicked dancers, then in her experimental choreography. It’s proven difficult for reviewers to place The Bench member’s work in a box. “Rooted in street dance”, “urban”, or “experimental hip hop”, are sentences that may appear from time to time.
But Saturday’s Resolution 2016 closing act proved to be a skilful blend of ballroom, contemporary, and krump, to name a few. Creating a refreshing and daring piece that pushes boundaries.
Photo credit: Camilla Greenwell Photography