For most people, dancing naked in front of a large audience is a classic nightmare – but not so for 16 dauntless women
For most people, dancing naked in front of a large audience is the kind of classic nightmare from which one wakes up shaken – but relieved to be safely in bed..
Not so, it seems, for the 16 dauntless women, ranging in age from their early 20s to their 50s, who are kicking, leaping and windmilling over an Edinburgh stage. This is a wild, caterwauling, Bacchanalian frenzy of a dance. Then there is the inescapable fact that they are stark naked, a whirling mass of breast, buttock and leg of every conceivable shape and heft going at it frenetically to a raucous soundtrack by the Pixies.
These women are not professional performers – they are volunteers, mostly local, who have signed up to perform in artist Nic Green’s two-and-a-half-hour theatrical exploration of modern feminism. A social care lecturer who also teaches yoga in Leith, a recent graduate from the University of Glasgow, a writer and an Edinburgh mother of four are among those who have been bold enough to fling off their clothes and let rip.
The three-part show – called simply Trilogy – is part of the programme that has been mounted at the Edinburgh fringe by Glasgow arts venue the Arches.
Green is actively recruiting more women to take part in further performances. In the final week of shows at the end of the month, she hopes to see 150 volunteer women on stage, and, according to Arches artistic director Jackie Wylie, “I have absolutely no doubt that we will get them.”
The fringe may be no stranger to nudity – but the idea of a phalanx of Edinburgh women stripping off at a church in the city’s elegant New Town is something else.
The women have come to Green through a variety of routes: posters on Edinburgh dance studio noticeboards, Facebook groups, or word of mouth. Some had come along half-reluctantly, telling themselves that they could bottle out before it came to the moment when they took their clothes off. In fact, after a careful series of workshops and rehearsals, all the women involved have ended up performing.
The women’s dance forms the riotous finale of the first part of Trilogy. Sophie Younger, 50, a mother who is also involved in community dance projects, described the “crazy, manic dance” as “one of the most joyous things I have experienced in my entire dancing life.” Glasgow graduate Rosie Marshall said the feeling had been “euphoric”.
According to Linda Douglas, 37, a lecturer and yoga teacher, the group were “making a statement and trying to banish the idea of body stereotypes. Getting out there and letting rip was very cathartic.”
Creating Trilogy was, for Green, a response to her own questions about feminism, and what it means to be a woman in today’s society. The piece was prompted by work she did with young girls aged 8-11.
“I felt I noticed a pattern in their behaviour, a concern about themselves and their appearance. They also seemed to be emulating the sexualised behaviour of popular female icons. I felt I should do something to try to understand that.”
The women’s dance, she said, was about “wanting people to take a risk and take a step away from business as usual. I didn’t want us just to be talking about celebrating something – but actually celebrating it, there and then.”
Jo Hutton, 22, said: “I hope that people are struck by the beauty and attractiveness of ‘normal’ female bodies. And for us, it’s such a life-affirming thing to do.”
According to Younger, the “point of the dance is that all our bodies are different, and all of them completely valid. And how much more interesting is that than if everyone looked the same, and was precisely on the beat? Our way of dancing is more honest and real.”
source : http://www.guardian.co.uk