Skin

Last year, 201 Dance Company shattered the stereotypes associated with hip-hop dance with the critically acclaimed Smother. This year, they bring us Skin, which explores one boy’s struggle through gender transition using urban and contemporary dance and a fantastic original score of hip hop and dubsteb beats. Seven dancers, including a young child, perform a powerful and intensely emotional piece that questions identity and the sense of belonging.

Skin is another triumph

Skin has many beautiful moments; we see a young man standing across from a small boy, they are a mirror of each other and the man performs a frenetic dance of masculinity that is both humorous and engaging before physical genders are revealed and the first of our preconceptions are challenged. A mother attempts to impart her idea of femininity on a daughter who just wants to wear jeans and a t-shirt. An uncaring group push a gender identity on our protagonist, physically forcing them into a dress. It’s raw, visceral dance and the audience is filled with murmurs and moans of discomfort and sighs of delight and approval at the darkness and the light moments of the piece.

Andrea Walker’s choreography is fantastic, although I was disappointed that the youngest cast member did not seem to be a dancer, at least, they certainly did not get involved in any of the dance other than a sweet moment of exploring the masculine stance. I also felt that many of the scenes in Skin were intentionally vague so as to allow audience interpretation to colour the moments. Some of the themes, though powerful, may have been lost to such subtlety but I’m sure it led to many a fascinating conversation in the bar afterwards.

201 Dance Company have sealed their reputation as a company who challenge social issues and Skin is another triumph. Go see this beautiful and thrilling show.

Reviews by Frodo Allan

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

This is not my body. This is not my body. This is not my body. After the sell-out international tour of Smother, 201’s contemporary hip hop ensemble returns with Skin: a boy’s journey through gender transition. Fusing urban and contemporary styles with an original score, award winning choreographer Andrea Walker directs a cast of seven dancers in a fast paced, emotionally driven story of identity and belonging. 'Bringing hip-hop into thrillingly new terrain' ***** (Guardian on 201 Dance Company). 'Unparalleled beauty' ***** (EdFestMag.com on Smother). 'Exhilarating, sensual… the audience whoop, cheer and holler along with the beat' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com).

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