Review of BEAUTiFUL at DanceEast

A couple of weeks ago I was kindly invited to DanceEast in Ipswich to see BEAUTiFUL by Sweetshop Revolution .

The performance was the day after International Women’s Day and explored love and gender from a female perspective.

To be honest, I was expecting the performance to be about the history of women’s roles, celebrating how far we’d come and how far we still have to go, however BEAUTiFUL actually explored women’s sexuality.

Sweetshop Revolution described BEAUTiful as; “explores love and sexuality from the point of view of women; what is fantasised about, desired and permissible within the complex web of social structures, expectations and social history. With issues of female inequality and sexual harassment at the forefront of the public consciousness BEAUTiFUL will celebrate the solidarity of women and look past the pressure to conform.”

The five dancers involved were incredible. They were dynamic, raw and powerful and performed almost non-stop for an hour. At times BEAUTiFUL was difficult to watch and slightly cringe-making. As an audience we are not used to seeing women’s sexuality displayed in such a graphic way, especially when it comes to same-sex relationships. I think this performance was incredibly important and revolutionary in the way that it didn’t worry about challenging social taboos – and I applaud it for that.

I feel that this was a performance you would expect to find in London or perhaps another socially aware city like San Francisco and I was so pleased that it was performed in Ipswich. Like I say, we need to look at why we do feel awkward when women’s sexuality is discussed.

At the end of the performance I was left stunned and a little disorientated! But I felt that I’d seen something important – and how often can you say that on a Friday night out in Ipswich!

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