Works Ahead (Manchester)

Venue: Contact
Where: Manchester

The first act, by 70/30 Split, is a piece entitled Two Do:  A Performance. And what a performance Lydia Cotrell and Sophie Unwin present as they perform an exciting combination of burlesque and macabre dance. The girls dance the ups and downs of a lesbian relationship mostly without music, with a disembodied voice and choral speech.
It is such a new take that I I have never seen anything like it. This is followed by Kitty Graham’s The Bare Earth.   Her emaciated naked body arises from a bed of earth and reaches for the sun.   I presume her rise to consciousness symbolises both growth and decay but we never see her face which is covered by her long hair.
Then comes Joseph Lau’s Staff ID 5201. As the name suggests, it is about a worker who resents being treated as a number. He is anti- capitalist and between some amazing gymnastics, bangs his head on his glass enclosure in frustration.
Finally we see Ellen Turner whose choreography for Car Door Moment, won her the Turn prize in 2012.  In it, she embraces moments of impulse such as wanting to open the car door on a motorway, with energy, creativity and humour.
She dances to compositions by Daniel Williams performing outrageous acts such as nose picking, kicking pigeons and throwing noodles. Yet she can’t find happiness.
It’s worth going tonight (3rd May) for another Works Ahead with a different programme.
– Julia Taylor