Scottish Dance Theatre perform “Velvet Petal” at The Festival Theatre Edinburgh tonight for a one night only performance, bringing with them the unique insight of its creator - celebrated choreographer and Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre Fleur Darkin.
The official PR statement for this show reads as follows -
“Velvet Petal is inspired by the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe and explores the relationship between music, photography and dance. Set to a fresh dance-punk score, including music by LCD Soundsystem, dancers will philosophise, seduce and experiment with their bodies, their clothing, and their ideas.”
Is this an accurate statement – well, yes, but it honestly does little justice to the work itself as a performance. “Velvet Petal” is an immersion in a moment of thought, an experience in a moment in time and really needs to be viewed as exactly what it is – a work of thoughtful and at times provocative dance theatre. This is a work that is a little bit like a delicately woven print fabric, and once you start to try and dissect it into smaller parts of a review, you run the risk of unravelling the threads and losing the complete picture.
This work is constantly walking a tightrope between the sheer joy at the pleasure of youth and being alive and the darker side of striving for an identity and a better time in your life. With spoken word and the music of a fresh dance-punk score arranged by Torben Lars Sylvest including music by LCD Soundsystem, Spoek Mathambo, and Fourtet, we are constantly immersed in the always contentious imagery of the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe. This is a world of black and white and the clarity and darkness that it can bring to any situation sprinkled with splashes of bright primary colours. Throughout this performance that always present sexual aspect of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography is present in imagery and our dancers’ dress and performance, but wisely we never stray too far into the darker or openly explicit that Robert Mapplethorpe’s often explored.
Where is the life cycle of the Monarch in all of this you might ask. Well, the answer to that is in the work as a whole, and sometimes you just have to go and experience a piece of work in person rather than read a review, or a synopsis of the work…this is definitely one of those “go and see for yourself” times.
An interesting immersion into another space. If any issues for me, it was that there is so much going on in this work, and dancers are often performing their own stories across the whole of the stage, and I know that while concentrating on one story, I was missing another.
For further information on "Velvet Petal" and other Scottish Dance Theatre works visit their website at.
Review coming soon