This is an extract of Fleur Darkin’s longer work, Velvet Petal, named for the tactile wings of the monarch butterfly and exploring the wild transformations of youth. The cast are certainly perfectly picked to examine this theme, full of abandon, determination, curiosity and confusion.
To a soundtrack that veers from wild guitar tunes to electro beats, and lighting conjuring the dark, punky spaces in which young hearts run free, ten dancers come together and split off into solos that let them slip into new identities.
One woman traces her fingers tantalisingly along the shoulders and sleeves of a hanging suit, then wriggles awkwardly inside. Two young men confront their sexuality in a tangled sensual duet; and one woman strips topless while her face is obscured by a giant poster. Motifs of hiding recur, as the cast lurk in the corners of the stage, watching each other, or sometimes sit in the audience, blending in. There’s an energy to the movement which makes it feel it comes straight from the heart.
But there are also recurring choreographic motifs—slow wide-legged backbends, moshing, swirling hair, and open chested swoops—that can make passages feel a bit repetitive and recycled.
It’s the subtle background moments instead that are some of the finest, like the young woman downstage exploring the different ways she could wear a kimono. They speak of the uncertainty and thrill of growing into whoever you want to be. No matter your age it’s likely you’ll recognise something of yourself here.