She Said review – three steps forward for women

Sadler’s Wells, London
English National Ballet’s new triple bill shakes up the status quo, with a little help from Frida Kahlo and Medea

The tone is set for English National Ballet’s new programme of female choreography by Grayson Perry’s frontcloth. It shows a woman’s face, blazing with intent, surrounded by symbolic beings, and set against a field of penises. Perry gives us the penis as gun, as car, as airliner and skyscraper. The woman might be the vengeful Hindu deity Kali, the visionary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, or the infanticide Medea of the Greek playwright Euripides. She embodies the passionate, and lethally enraged, feminine principal.

In commissioning She Said, ENB director Tamara Rojo is addressing more than the deplorable inequality of creative opportunity afforded to women in ballet. The programme also confronts assumptions that are barely questioned in new ballet choreography, dominated as it is by a tiny, all-male contingent. We don’t see, for example, the kind of objectifying choreography in which female dancers are endlessly and fetishistically manipulated to display their hyper-flexibility.

Related: Frida Kahlo’s brush with ballet: Tamara Rojo dances the artist’s life

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Dance News

Share this post
Instep Dancewear