Am I

Following huge success at last years Fringe, LCP Dance Theatre return this year with an extended version of this multimedia dance performance.

What's important about this piece is not just the performance itself but what the company want to help promote and raise awareness for, in their dancing and in real-life.

Choreographed and directed by Joanna Puchala, this piece centres around exploring the subject of human sex trafficking, using the best selling book Trafficked by Sophie Hayes as a basis for not only the literal narrative, but also for the stark honesty of their portrayal.

The structure of this piece is based around a duality of existence, with each female dancer in turn playing both the victim and the trafficker, sometimes seeming to change identity from moment to moment. The choreography is a writhing, squirming and at times brutal account of the darkest sides of human capability.

The company also make use of a narrator, who punctuates the show by reading from (what seemed to be) the original book. This certainly helped to translate the movement as it happened, if perhaps a little too obviously.

The dance skills of the cast are undeniable, as they capture the idea of interchangeable emotional personalities in their movement beautifully. I would however have liked to see a little more facial engagement from some, at times. Their bodies seemed to inhale air and exhale this choreography, it came to them with such ease and you could feel the energy breathing from them. The music from Sabio Janiak was perfect at every turn, even with the changes in scene and choreography.

The cannoned movement was flawless at points, and the costumes and hair, which played a role themselves in the movement, added another dimension of success. All the elements combined really successfully to bring a real sense of wretched squalor to an otherwise plain black stage.

This would be an ideal piece of contemporary dance for someone who feels intimidated by the concept of contemporary dance. The narrated readings helped to make clear what was going on, although for me it was perhaps a step a little too far. I'd prefer to have some room to draw my own conclusions and this didn't leave much room for that. I did also found some of the motifs a little repetitive at times, leaving me feeling like I would have liked to see more from them.

With another push of training their acting skills, both this specific piece and LCP as a company will truly be something to watch out for. What's important about this piece is not just the performance itself but what the company want to help promote and raise awareness for, in their dancing and in real-life. "Dance stops trafficking" is their motive and it's a strong, engaging and passionate point that they are out to prove. 

Reviews by Hannah Lucy Baker

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The Blurb

LCP Dance Theatre, a BBC Performing Arts Award 2011 Winner in a dance theatre production Am I, explores the complicated tale of victim and trafficker wherein both are slaves: often the roles bleed into each other making it difficult to see the line between either party, the trafficker becomes victim. Successfully premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013, Am I draws awareness to human rights violations through dance. Finding its roots in the pain and struggle of human trafficking, inspired by the story of Sophie Hayes in her recent book Trafficked, a Sunday Times bestseller.