Bend It – a gorgeous colourful masterpiece

by aprilskipp on September 8, 2016

The State of the Arts called our recent showcase of dance work exploring gender, sexuality and queerness as “a gorgeous colourful masterpiece.” The evening featured four works, selected by performance artist Amy Bell, which, with a capacity audience, animated three different spaces around Yorkshire Dance on Friday 15 July.

This was the third annual incarnation of Bend It, demonstrating our commitment to programming works by LGBTQ artists and dance which explores issues of sexuality and gender.

We were absolutely delighted with the artists Amy brought together and the way the work by  Matthias Sperling, Connor Schumacher, Eve Stainton & Michael Kitchin (from The Uncollective) and Liz Aggiss created a stimulating, varied yet coherent programme.

As an organisation which supports artists through the processes of creating and developing new work, it was particularly exciting for us to present two works-in-progress – Matthias’ new performance lecture called Now that we know and Eve and Michael’s En Beige.

Connor’s Boy oh Boy was a UK premiere – a spellbinding, heartbreaking and physically awe-inspiring solo mixing an emotionally articulate use of props with a clear personal narrative.

Liz Aggiss presented Act Two of her full-length piece, Slap and Tickle, with her uniquely sharp-tongued and sharp-witted combination of vaudeville comedy and a furious slapping-down of stereotypes besetting women of all ages.

We were delighted to hear from Amy Bell soon after the event… “I think Bend It and the works we presented are pretty important on a number of levels (personal, political, artistic…) so it was such a buzz that the night went off well. Also, I guess this is a feeling you all have all the time, but for me it was a brand new kind of satisfaction and happiness to create space and opportunity for other artists that I admire to shine. To take some responsibility and creativity for framing all that… feels great!”

Bend It has successfully attracted a new audience to Yorkshire Dance over three years, and we’re very proud of its contribution to the richness of Leeds’ cultural life. Don’t miss it when it’s back in 2017…

We’ll give the last word to some marvellous members of the Bend It audience…

“It’s so important that work like this comes to Leeds. Thank you so much to Yorkshire Dance and to Amy Bell. Such important ART! We are privileged to be witness to what was happening tonight.”

“Matthias’ piece made me wonder/feel a sense of wonder at the incredibleness of humans”

“Michael & Eve. Funny. Touching, Moving, Loved it.”

“Connor Schumacher – never have I seen gymnastics used in that context. Powerful, left wanting more… Thank you for being open, honest and raw in your performance… Pure and enchanting.”

“Another awesome Bend It at Yorkshire Dance. It’s a shame this queer dance performance night only takes place annually. We need more platforms and opportunities to show queer performance work regularly in Leeds. Well done to Amy Bell for a great curated evening and to all the excellent performers.”

“Bend It. Bloody brilliant.”

The full review in The State of the Arts is here.

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