If There's Not Dancing at the Revolution, I'm Not Coming

Taking multimedia representations of young women as its inspiration, If There's Not Dancing at the Revolution, I'm Not Coming picks apart a medley of references to Titanic, Disney princesses, various pop songs and slasher movies like Psycho. Shifting through a seemingly infinite array of costumes and props, performer Julia Croft offers a playful yet unfocused deconstruction of the feminine ideal.

More of a glitzy fan club manifesto than any kind of real, critical tribute.

The hour-long montage of soundtracks, film clips, and quoted screenplays – interspersed with sexting parodies, onions rubbed into faces, and fast foodstuffs pulled out of every conceivable item of clothing – all aim for humour but come across as bemusing rather than amusing, vaguely odd rather than intriguingly strange. A lack of professionalism underpins the whole piece, muddling the performance without any display of technical skill or even finesse of thought in the handling of her source materials.

At every stage, the intention and execution lack purpose, resorting to pointing at scraps of popular media rather than doing anything with them. An ill-judged impersonation of Nicki Minaj during a lip-sync to Hey Mama – complete with a packed-out 'booty' under her skirt - is one of the many ways Croft shows an astonishing lack of self-awareness.

If There's Not Dancing at the Revolution, I'm Not Coming certainly had potential for a playful critique of performative gender roles and the two-dimensional treatment of women in popular media, as visual objects in the cinematic landscape. But this performance seems stuck at an amateur level: more of a glitzy fan club manifesto than any kind of real, critical tribute.

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The Blurb

A rich contemporary performance collage of film scripts, pop songs, advertisements, elaborate costumes and dance all stretched, teased, shattered and reassembled to challenge the treatment of women’s bodies as spectacle in popular culture. If There’s Not Dancing uncovers the collective fantasies underneath these bodies, intervenes and explodes them into feminist confetti. Inspired by the work of Gob Squad, New York performance and theatre artist Anne Liv Young, Carloee Schneeman and the feminist film theory of Laura Mulvey.

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