21 years/21 works is a celebration of Charlotte Vincent’s work, a highly talented choreographer and artistic director. Charlotte created Vincent Dance Theatre back in 1994 and what intrigued me the most about her work is that all her pieces are inspired by feminism. As a feminist practitioner she powerfully explores the demand for gender equality through movement. Her pieces are well known for being poignant, moving and thought provoking.
21 years/21 works involved a performance of Underworld, the piece was set in a smoky dark room, creating a dreamlike atmosphere. The set was minimalistic, with merely 140 wooden chairs laid out in rows facing the audience. Accompanied by church bells and the echos of choirs, the dance began light and subtle but as the piece progressed so did the intensity. The idea behind the piece explores the myth of Orpheus & Eurydice, Orpheus traveled to the underworld, a place of no escape and fell in love with Eurydice. This is reflected by the eight men and women on stage who continuously participated in different sequences of movements, representing connection but also distress because of their imprisonment. It was a passionate and compelling performance full of emotion that was effectively conveyed through movement.
During the performance of Underworld the audience were encouraged to enter and exit in order to capture different elements of the performance and wander in and out of the exhibition of Charlotte Vincent’s work. There was a room dedicated to an archive of Charlotte’s inspiration and ideas, including a striking short film Glasshouse, a duet between a man and a woman portraying how actions speak louder than words.
I found the exhibition truly eye-opening as it had an array of items to look at that were used in Charlotte’s famous pieces, also there were a variety of 21 activities linked to feminism and the different stimulus behind her choreography. I was told that usually this exhibition is used as a workshop, which would have been really potent and creative to be involved in. I had a look around and I found the pile of Charlotte’s choreography notebooks very interesting, I love to see how other people innovatively express their ideas into words.
I did some research into Charlotte Vincent and discovered her involvement in the feminist movement, The Guardian described her as “one of the most important female artists in Britain today”. She is very passionate about female dancers and gender equality in dance especially in terms of women having children whilst also continuing their career. Her company supports The Table, a network of female artists all encouraging and supporting each other in the dance industry. She describes herself as an influence in 3rd wave feminism alongside famous writer Caitlin Moran and Jude Kelly, creator of Women of The World Festival.
Around the table of her work were activities and questions related to feminism, the questions really made me think but there were a few that really stood out to me, such as one titled “Real You”. It asked you to think about how you portray yourself on social media and if it is different to the real you. Nowadays this is something I come across a lot, envying others because of how their life is conveyed on social networking platforms, but you don’t see what is behind the instagram filters and intricately worded tweets.
I found the whole evening enjoyable and I was captivated by the feminist perspective on all of Charlotte Vincent’s work. 21 years/21 works is currently touring around the UK and information can be found here.