Directed & Choreographed by Becky Namgauds
Performance & Movement by Amanda Pefkou
Live Vocals & Composition by Yael Claire Shahmoon
Costume with thanks to ELLISS
Like Honey was part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2019
Programmed at Dancebase from the 22nd-25th August
Funded by Arts Council England, supported by Deda and Roehampton University.
After two strong performances Becky Namgauds' Like Honey reached a new level with a powerful, confronting and rageful piece of genius exploration being a woman. Two exceptional women perform an incredible symbiosis of voice and movement. A woman sits on chair with a microphone and a sound machine, next to the other who lies face down half dressed on a white square. Her voice starts to click, making the other's hand move, the voice and sound change, her upper body moves, the sound escalates as it continues to instruct the movements of the other until she stands, mannequin like, her body mechanical, just a device that she can't seem to control. She stops, dark red blood runs down her leg, with clenched fists she unleashes her inner strength in a dynamic emboldened finale of stomping and lashing to an intense vocal roar that brought the house down. Namgauds is a talent that needs to be seen and heard.
The Wonderful World of Dance
The closing week featured the performance of Like Honey, a solo work by upcoming choreographer Becky Namgauds. From the floor upwards, sound and movement grow in response to one another, the expansive vocals of Yael Claire drawing minute isolations of movement dancer Amanda Pefkou’s body.
As Pefkou finds her feet, a challenge to the audience flashing in her eyes, a stream of menstrual blood is figuratively shed and her restrained movement breaks into a fierce, earthy style. Like Honey is a bold work from Namgauds that blossoms into a defiant image of femininity.
Among the contemporary dance works I have seen at the Dance Base, two of them presented relevant questions on the idea of feminine and its diminishing stereotypes. In Becky Namgauds’s Like Honey, the notion of the feminine is also in dispute but through a different perspective, portraying a body that would fit specific standards of beauty. It is in the energy of this body and in its relation to movement that the artists question lightness as the ultimate quality of women’s bodies — something that is also in Amy Bell’s work. Sensuality in Amanda Pefkou’s performance is charged with smoldering aggressiveness. Regarding the menstrual cycle and practices of the sacred feminine as inspiring mottos, her body emanates intense sexual energy. It is framed by the contrast produced by the sound landscape created and performed live by Claire Shahmoon. The exquisite sonority collaborates to create a dense atmosphere, almost hieratic. It frames the sexuality of her body and movement in a pictorial domain, mediating it by the idea of art, by the artificiality of creation. This mediation enlarges our gaze, making us see with critical standpoints the standards constructed in the accumulation of images, which enforce unrealistic forms of the feminine. Art history, as an efficient instrument of patriarchy, casts over our bodies its own share of violence.
With different propositions and affirmative bodies, each in their own way, the creators of both shows not only comment on the artificiality of the construction of stereotypes and the predetermined places that patriarchal societies create as entrapments. They affirm, celebrate, and give form to the verve of its reverse.
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