Phrases by angel mud and Katie Hagan.
(KH): Holly Blakey’s Cowpuncher My Ass is dripping in coolness. It’s been a few years since its final pre-pandemic efficiency in 2020, which one among our dance writers reviewed and liked for its transgressive strategy.
Now a number of years later comes a brand new rendition of Cowpuncher My Ass to the Saharan expansiveness of the Southbank Centre. This trippy, folky dance-western options plenty of ass and IG Reel stylish choreography, however this time it’s barely longer in length, with the extra presence of London Up to date Orchestra coming in three quarters of the best way by means of to play a shrill violin sequence that heightens the extremely strung sexualness of what occurs onstage.
What’s good about Cowpuncher My Ass is the faultlessly cool aesthetic and unapologetically brash presentation of sexual impulse and want. Aesthetically and sensorially, this present is a scrumptious mismatch of pop and better artwork. In Mica Levi’s gorgeous rating, you get sounds of the motorway jarring in opposition to hacking mechanical clunks – and the violin. The sound design is so highly effective you’ll be able to style it. Stunning dancers glide and gyrate within the late Vivienne Westood’s high-end vogue designs. I don’t assume we’re alleged to make sense of how Cowpuncher’s polarities sit with one another, however the mixtures are bizarre.
There isn’t a plot in Cowpuncher, fairly there are summary cycles of thumpy choreography blended with the rating and costumes. Our bodies shake, they’re thrown to the ground; hip thrusts; gyrations, undulations. Cowpuncher is that this ageless pagan satanic ritual. Dancers take one another for a journey, and there’s playful allusions to intercourse acts and positions which in a Southbank Centre efficiency context really feel rebelliously taboo of their confrontation.
Past the aesthetic and to how Cowpuncher My Ass makes you’re feeling, I hit a little bit of a stumbling block. The present ebbs and flows; you’re pulled out and in. The choreography is unbelievable, the dancers are distinctive and transfer exceptionally, however one thing is lacking to essentially hook you in and seize you by the neck, even when it appears, that’s the want.
(advert): I feel that Cowpuncher My Ass forces us to confront a sure rawness and bareness. It does that by trying to be daring in ways in which open up area for exploring what discomfort is, asking the query of the place does it come from and why? Nevertheless, it isn’t clear whether or not that’s the predominant intention. Its boldness by no means escalates, that means that the viewers is consistently left greedy for a pant.
Cowpuncher is sensible and funky, identical to its title, however might it profit from additional dramaturgical improvement? There’s concurrently an excessive amount of and never sufficient taking place at any given level. Having mentioned that, I used to be nonetheless drawn into this futuristic-universal-folk rave, however I saved ready to be shocked which sadly by no means occurred. I wanted extra ass, extra snow and doubtless an additional shot in my double gin and tonic.
Picture credit score: Arnaud Mbaki.
Chester Hayes @chesterhayes
Grace Jabbari @gracejabbari
Becky Namgauds @beckynamgauds
Jonny Vieco @jonnyvieco
Naomi Weijand @naomiweijand
Meshach Henry @meshhenry
Moses Ward @moses.m.o.ward
+ 20 musicians from the London Up to date Orchestra
Holly Blakey – Director / Choreographer @hollytblakey
Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood – Costumes @ndreaskronthaler for @viviennewestwood
Rob Ames for London Up to date Orchestra – @lcorchestra
Mica Levi – Authentic rating – #micalevi
Ben Totty – Exec Producer @bentotty84 for @boxartistmanagement
Ornella Salloum – Producer
Nathalie Blue – Reserving Agent @newformmusic
Darcy Wallace – Choreographers Assistant @darcyjwallace
Jeannie Steele: Rehearsal Director