By Fleur Darkin
Tough girls and pretty boys living life in the margins, dreaming about being at the centre. Velvet Petal explores the transformative power of beauty, created out of whatever is on the bedroom floor. The dancers experiment, seduce and philosophise through their bodies, clothing and ideas. This fresh new work from Scottish Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Fleur Darkin (Bristol Old Vic, Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Opera House) is inspired by the life-cycle of the monarch butterfly and Robert Mapplethorpe’s polaroids. Set to a fresh dance-punk score arranged by Torben Lars Sylvest including music by LCD Soundsystem, Spoek Mathambo, and Abul Mogard.
Velvet Petal at Southbank Centre
On 31 Aug and 1 Sep, a uniquely curated evening of performance sees iconic composer Abul Mogard join forces with Scottish Dance Theatre at Southbank Centre's recently renovated Purcell Room. Audiences on both nights will experience a 30-minute set of Mogard’s emotive and transcendent sound, described as 'fully formed, varied, and powerful' (Brainwashed, 2018). Accompanied with visuals by Marja de Sanctis, Abul’s set will be followed by the full length performance of Velvet Petal.
Fleur Darkin said, “Velvet Petal is about change - how humans change by themselves or through relationships with others. It’s about those times in your life when you must transform yourself. I spent a lot of time researching the photographic process and the polaroids of Robert Mapplethorpe-inspired me to see things in a new way. We think we understand at first glance but actually, it’s when we spend time letting the object communicate with us that the magic happens. I think the revealing nature of time is particularly true of dancers. The dancers are the Velvet Petals and they open themselves towards the light and dig deep to pull us through the darkness."
“We had a great experience collaborating with writers, photographers and musicians in the making of this work. All good relationships change us and these collaborations asked for the best of us: the show is full of love, patience and commitment. I hope Velvet Petal will inspire audiences to reflect on their own metamorphoses as they are moved by the marvel of human growth. We are living in tough times and a lot of our depression comes from hearing the news. Velvet Petal is about listening listen to those private desires and connecting with our dreams. I want the audience to leave the theatre thinking: Anything is possible."
Velvet Petal was originally conceived and performed as a collaboration with CEPROMUSIC, supported by Anglo Arts and INBA (Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes) and premiered in Mexico City in November 2016.
Reviews from Edinburgh Festival Fringe based on Velvet Petal: Bedroom
“lively, playful and gutsy and guaranteed to put a spring in your step” Edinburgh Festivals Magazine ★★★★★
“visually exciting and emotionally powerful work” Edinburgh Guide ★★★★
“Darkin choreographs with a cool wit, and her cast whip off her demanding moves, and their clothes, with élan” The Guardian ★★★★
“A truly compelling piece, exquisitely performed” The Stage ★★★★
“Darkin’s choreography is fresh and clever” The Wee Review ★★★★
"An erotic and electrifying dance-drama" Edinburgh Guide ★★★★