NEWS: Velvet Petal @ Dance City | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The life cycle of the monarch butterfly unfolds in four distinct stages. First there’s an egg, which hatches to become a larvae (which has five metamorphic stages of its own) before retreating into a chrysalis and emerging as an adult. Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe definitely wasn’t known for his wildlife images but rather for bluntly yet sensitively capturing controversial subject matter with his camera.

On paper, these two facts don’t seem to be remotely connected. Yet, Fleur Darkin and Scottish Dance Theatre have used both as inspiration for their production Velvet Petal. The critically-acclaimed performance is heading to Dance City on Saturday 16th March, bringing with it an evocative take on how humans change, either by themselves or through their relationships with others. Framing this butterfly-like process is a pulsating dance-punk soundtrack arranged by Torben Lars Sylvest (which includes music from LCD Soundsystem and Four Tet), a 70s feel and a world inhabited by people living in the margins but wishing to occupy the centre.

Similarly to how Mapplethorpe’s polaroids encouraged Darkin to see things in a new light, it’s a work that’s set to encourage the audience to immerse themselves in its image-heavy realm. Just like the lifespan of a monarch butterfly, Velvet Petal will spend a brief hour on stage but its effects will linger far longer in your thoughts.


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