Review: Absolute Solo II, Rosie Kay Dance Company
4.0Overall Score
Listen to the audio version here.

Absolute Solo II is a production consisting of three distinct pieces: ‘Artemis Clown’, ‘Patisserie’ and ‘adult female dancer’. The three pieces are performed solo by Rosie Kay and represent past and current projects of the Rosie Kay Dance Company. 

‘Artemis Clown’ is an interesting piece of contemporary dance, reminiscent of Pulcinella and other such commedia dell’arte pieces. Rosie Kay’s movements are beautifully fluid and really capture that slapstick comedy essential to that genre of dance performance. It is a short and simple piece, with beautiful flowing movements. The choreography carefully encompasses many aspects of traditional clowning, with the physicality of the dancer expressed through every fibre of her body. The costume works beautifully and as a solo piece of choreography, it is quaint and funny.

‘Patisserie’ is a unique piece, an archive recording from 1999. This is a very quirky piece of theatre. Its abstract staccato movement reminds me of a Picasso painting. As Kay twists and contorts on stage to a recital of a modern interview transcript, the audience is enthralled. These have been translated verbatim from interviews with young polish women talking about their appearance. Again, Kay includes a little influence from commedia dell’arte and mixes with a range of abstract and sturdy classical moments. The mixing of genres makes this a truly riveting production.

The final piece: ‘adult female dancer’, is set to short voice clips explaining the personal experiences of Kay as a dancer and woman. The narrative of the voice-overs, inspired by lived experiences, is one of true pain and relatable injustices that, unfortunately, many women can identify with. It leads up to the admission by the voiceover: “I was sexually assaulted at 13 and raped at 16”, at which point Kay lays on the floor. This adds a sombre moment to pause and reflect upon what we had just heard. 

After this pause, when Kay springs back into the dance, it is a wonderful moment. It’s a physical manifestation of that inexplicable joy that dance and movement can bring to an individual who has been troubled.

This is a series of beautiful, contemporary choreography that I encourage you to go and see.

Absolute Solo II played at the Edinburgh fringe. For more information, visit Rosie Kay Dance Company online.