Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

May I Speak About Dance?

“Strange, funny and educational”

A hefty gold dildo makes a star turn in choreographer Boaz Barkan’s eccentric lecture-performance May I Speak About Dance? The shimmering phallus in question is held against the crotch of an undulating dancer, who’s trussed up in a kimono and bathed in sickly green light, during Barkan’s enthusiastic recreation of a key moment in dance history: the 1968 premiere of Japanese choreographer Tatsumi Hijikata’s Revolt of the Flesh.

As Barkan explains, Tatsumi was the founder of butoh, a stylised and often grotesque form of dance-theatre partly inspired by renegade French artistic figures such as Genet and Artaud.

In his engagingly energetic and casual style, Barkan goes on to note how Yvonne Rainer’s spectacle-denying tenets underpinned another side of 1960s avant-gardism in New York. All of this – the rejection of technique versus transformative pageantry – forms part of the perennial debate about dance. Why move? Why watch? What should dance do? And how do we talk about a wordless form?

Abrupt and occasionally bewildering, this show may not convert the dance-averse to take up a Sadler’s Wells season ticket, but Barkan wittily sends up the form’s tendency towards po-faced pretentiousness while making a lively case for a fresh interrogation of our ideas about dance.



Related to this Review


Production Details
Production nameMay I Speak About Dance?
StartsAugust 2, 2018
EndsAugust 18, 2018
Running time50mins
AuthorBoaz Barkan
DirectorBoaz Barkan
CastBoaz Barkan, Jorgen Callesen
ProducerBoaz Barkan, Danish Arts Foundation
VerdictStrange, funny and educational lecture-performance about dance history and philosophy
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In