dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
Solo work turns the spotlight on Rosie's dance journey
Birmingham audiences will be invited to the world premiere of local choreographer and dancer Rosie Kay's latest work. The new piece forms part of the Absolute Solo II triple bill which will be performed at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on May 19.
Created largely during lockdown, the production, which has yet to be titled, is inspired by pioneering women choreographers and Rosie's own journey as a dancer and performer. It is also the first time Birmingham-based Rosie has performed in the city in more than five years.
Rosie says: "It's an autobiographical exploration of a woman's body and the need to dance as well as the meaning of dance. I'm exploring my family history, big events in my life such as pregnancy and also times when I've stopped dancing. The text hints at something which is a long story and then the dance tells it in two minutes and you feel it and don't have to say any more."
Within the piece Rosie is also looking at the work of a host of German Expressionist female choreographers including Gret Palucca, Valeska Girt and Mary Wigman. "These women are themselves - they are not pretending to be something else or trying to be arty, deep or weird," she says. "It's rare to see women absolutely be themselves on stage. Women are often asked to play some kind of a role or strive for perfection."
A dancer for more than 20 years, Rosie has created a host of successful shows including choreographing the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Handover in 2018 which was seen by more than a billion people across the globe and she co-directed a new adaptation of Woyzeck with more than 100 community performers at Birmingham Rep. But with Absolute Solo II she returns to dancing alone.
Rosie gave up dancing five years ago to focus on choreography and running Birmingham-based Rosie Kay Dance Company – but a visit to Canada reignited her desire to be back on stage. She says: "The idea of me returning to solo work came about last year. I had a secondment with Ballet British Columbia and I was doing class in Vancouver with the dancers each day and I really missed the excitement and adrenaline of actually dancing the work. So when I got back home I started toying with ideas and I felt there was something there in my life story to explore."
And she adds: "Then when I was in America with 5 Soldiers in February one of my dancers couldn't get to America until two weeks into the run so I stepped in and danced in the show. While we were sat in the US thinking 'there's going to be a lockdown' I thought that now I'd been back on stage I should start looking at the idea of a solo performance."
Also in the programme is Artemis Clown which looks at ideas of Pierrot-style clowning, performance and femininity set to music by Kurtag, Ravel and Corelli. And there will be an archive film of Rosie's international award-winning Patisserie.
Absolute Solo II was due to be performed at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in November but was postponed due to lockdown. Its new date in May is one of the first live events announced in the city this spring.