Author Archives: Rebecca JS Nice


About Rebecca JS Nice

Rebecca worked as a dance teacher, lecturer and choreographer for eight years specialising in tap and jazz. She has a background in Art History and is currently training further in medieval history and contemporary choreography with a particular interest in live art. At the early stage of her dance writing career, Rebecca reviews and analyses theatre and dance performance and is working on a papers for publication.

RoguePlay Theatre: 3am Waitress

RoguePlay Theatre draw from dance and circus, calling themselves ‘high physical theatre’ artists, often using aerial skills in their work. 3am Waitress, directed by Kim Charnock, is a tempered-down version of what it could be. Two café tables dress the space, one with three paper cups and two sugar servers, and one with a radio and a clock. Time has stopped, a radio jumps, a table is dressed and undressed. Anna Fook, a lone dancer, clears tables in a café throughout the night as her dreams and realities float and flux in and out of her body and consciousness. A surreal, dark and dreary atmosphere emanates the intimate space in C-Southside, where sporadic dance phrases and a melodic soundtrack punctuate the stillness with movement and words. The recorded spoken word, created by Lorna Meehan has a lovely heavy rhythm as her warm voice describes the world of a late night, roadside café. This text is worthy of performance alone, fluid and imaginative: its consistency is not the backdrop but the main body of the show. Rock and roll music in between the spoken word keeps the dancer and audience from falling off the edge of the world. It is punchy and fun, and on occasion, the dance is too.

The waitress is absorbing and interesting to watch when she dances with wide swooping gestures and attitude turns a la seconde into a swirl of body parts. Sharp dynamics that cut and pounce with anger, and smooth repetitive gestures hypnotise form – a diverse palette of movement of which we only catch a glimpse. A strange man, performed by Tim Clarke, appears on occasion to dance with our anonymous waitress, his presence is unclear as is his relationship with her, but as the work unfolds and they engage in play together, this early tension makes more sense.

Sections of circus tricks on silks and play with rubber tyres are strangers to the work, with no apparent reason to be there. 3am Waitress is slow moving and often boring. It takes ten minutes for the waitress to start moving at the start, and although the work is about the tedium and monotony of waiting tables, it does not need to quite so literal in its interpretation. Its strength lies in the expression of the consequences of this on the waitress, not in the literally miming of sweeping sugar which is given far too much time. The meaty dancing is played down by fillers. Replacing long pauses, sweeping and tidying with sugar and cups with object play, with more of the dance vocabulary that we see in between will transform in to a strong piece.





Constant Vigier: (Mes)dames

Ballet dancer Constant Vigier, trained in Paris, is emerging as a choreographer through a series of small-scale works and Fringe performances: his current work (Mes)dames is his third Edinburgh Fringe piece, programmed by the French Institute.

 (Mes)dames, opens with three young women carefully poised on a chair dressed with a silk map of the world. Their task, to address their expected roles as women, informs this 30-minute piece with intention and motifs that point towards a larger narrative. Once they start to dance, all eyes are glued to their constant changes in direction, fast-moving gestures, and running footwork. They maintain this pace throughout, never dropping in speed or in abundance of vocabulary.

Aiming to convey portraits of three women, and questioning whether the label ‘feminist’ gives weight or power, is a somewhat grand claim to make for the piece, and it is a little hard to translate what’s seen into those terms. Themes of camaraderie, work, discipline, and emotion come through; of young friends navigating the world together. Breaking from trio to solo to duet and moving between por de bras and robotic gestures, fists and arabesques, relevés and upper body curves; searching, travelling, and repeating life’s patterns and routines, fill the world of the female dancers.

The music provides a way into some more themes with lyrics such as ‘It’s my station’ and ‘if that’s where we are, then no harm done’ – heavy, rocky and aggressive – the soundtrack adding weight and gravitas to the movements that the dancers make. Christine and the Queens and Perfume Genius are part-inspiration part-communication for the show, which is stronger in form than it is in narrative.

A section where the dancers try on different clothes becomes interesting when the others react and respond with crashing music, hunching postures, and splayed fingers – marching across the stage and back wearing sunglasses. Although this section sits at odds with the more traditional ballet, this is where it starts to become grittier. The announce show is seen by various critics and artists making it the best event and time to purchase Instagram followers on the account and content of the opening ceremony in order to increase the online engagement of the audience and viewers.

The work is refreshing and rich with complex variations, sophisticated use of repetition, cannon and complimentary movement. The trio have a wonderful style that is elegant, linear and unusual in their adaption of non-ballet rhetoric. They have perfect ballet technique whilst are able to plunge into lunges and gestures borrowed from the everyday. I was left wanting more, and this is down to the precision of the three young performers who are polished, focused and graceful.





Luca Silvestrini’s Protein: Border Tales

Border Tales is a revision of the same work performed in 2013, becoming an even more relevant and powerful commentary in today’s socio-political climate.

Seven male and two female performers of various shapes, sizes, skin colours and ethnicities put individual social experiences under the spotlight, reliving them in a magnified state on stage. British dancers Temitope Ajose-Cutting, Kenny Wing Tao-Ho and Andy Gardiner perform alongside Taiwanese Yuyu Rau, Irishman Stephen Moynihan, and Egyptian Salah El Brogy. Their experiences all revolve around the theme of what happens when cultures collide.

Border Tales begins disappointingly stereotypical, but as it continues to unpack this theme, the stereotypes become real and are made increasingly uncomfortable by this powerful parody. Spoken word takes as much prominence as contemporary dance in the piece, and the performers express themselves with a depth of tone and clarity verbally whilst dancing, without sacrificing anything from either discipline. The work looks at how people interact when addressing their cultures and identities: the reading and reception of well-intentioned interactions that go horribly wrong; the isolation and displacement of people from their homes and identities; and the inquisitive nature of human beings versus fear and ignorance. It explores a complicated society in which love and fear coexist, where good intentions are thwarted by ignorance, and where fear and tension is real. The legitimacy of these tensions are questioned and the frustrating hypocrisy of our own social interactions and relationships starkly highlighted.

Steve and Andy (as they introduce themselves), perform a charming duet whilst having a chat about their friendship. This pas de deux inventively explores all the ways in which one can support the other in sitting positions that frame their speaking times. They describe their differences whilst balancing and supporting each other in turn. There is a defensive duet where partner work is missed or avoided, trialling interactions looking for common ground, finally settling in a handshake. Salah receives a barrage of questions on the body like bullets. He twitches and isolates as the invisible words ricochet off him. Some knock him over or spin him around as he bats them away with his elbows. Kenny appropriates motifs mimicking a beckoning Japanese cat called maneki-neko. This is reclaimed as a Chinese lucky cat in popular culture and used here in an act of appropriating stereotypes in order to conform to expectations.

The clichés bought out in characterisation and speech penetrate the choreography, drawing on a range of styles from twerking divas to a stylised Japanese Geisha fan dance taught on stage. These stylistic choices embellish the grounded contemporary dance technique. The musical score also draws form traditional styles from associated countries, layering expectations on top of the far more complex identities of the individual performers. By performing text with dance, the emotional responses to the themes are physically communicated in a gut-wrenching way that stuns an excited and chattering audience into quiet reflection.

Border Tales is a cultural satire that causes viewers to reflect on the current and future political climate and their own reactions to it. It explores the social ramifications of our current reactive political landscape. A looming Brexit, the continuing presence of terrorism, alongside an erratic American presidency, make this work incredibly important in reminding us not only to fight to keep a multicultural society, but to make that society a better home for us all.

Protein’s Border Tales is running until 26th August at Dance Base alongside three other shows presented by The Place, London at four venues across Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017. 



Dewey Dell: Marzo

Italian company Dewey Dell collaborates with Japanese director Kuro Tanino and visual artist Yuichi Yokoyama to create Marzo referring both to the month of March, and the god of war that month is named after. Marzo sets its audience up for a mighty and surreal work. Upon entering the Barbican Pit, we are handed ear plugs and sit down to seats that shake and reverberate from the pulsating soundtrack. A slightly intimidated audience prepare to watch with trepidation…

Viewers are confronted with a curved cyc that distorts any sense of depth by eliminating the horizon. The latex-coated pattern on the floorcloth provides a textured grounding for three superheroes to descend and battle in a sci-fi world. Marzo is based on Japanese Manga magazines which are visually stylised and evoke an ‘other’ world and culture.

One distinct feature of Manga is that they read backwards. Here, fitting the tradition, the plot starts at the end with the main content of the narrative forming a flashback of how the female protagonist, dressed in a pink boilersuit, meets her fate. But to me her character lacks heroism and she alternates between an object of hatred or desire of the two male superheroes, one of whom turns bad in a crude plot twist. Traditionally popular with teenagers, Manga magazines grew to include a diverse range of female authors for a female readership. There is a tension between female objectification and an attempted heroism that muddies the role of the female protagonist in Marzo. The excessive stroking of a phallic projection on one of the male super hero’s helmets is a particular low point.

Marzo’s stock characters, although stunningly dressed like superheroes who have jumped out of a comic, struggle to communicate with the audience from behind their masks. The three heroes, dressed in boilersuits and helmets, bicker between one another in a series of over-extended scenes. A chorus line of inflatable shapes attempt to control their actions in a choreography where they mirror the movements of the main characters. With punches and kicks and a repetition of posed lunges, the movement feels like a base demonstration or mime of an action or feeling, lacking the complexity and nuance that both dance and physical theatre vocabularies offer.

The world that Marzo creates is exciting, strange and striking in terms of colour and design, but it is a world I find hard to appreciate without the understanding of the culture that gives Manga its identity. The helmets that cover the faces of all on stage, whilst creating a mysterious sense of drama, inhibit the expression of action and an emotionally wrought narrative. Marzo is dressed beautifully and accompanied by a striking soundtrack. With a tighter grasp on the narrative through a deeper exploration of movement, the work could become a much stronger contender.




A Search for Homeland

Cardboard homes, broken bottles and burnt toast – Rebecca Nice goes to SACRED:Homelands, a festival of international installation and performance works.  

SACRED:Homelands saw London treated to a five-day festival of international works reflecting on home and displacement in contemporary society. It delivered a loaded and poignant critique that sought to engage with current social and political issues – and linked emotional crises – around notions of ‘home’. It was produced by Francis Alexander, building on the SACRED seasons of live art at Chelsea Theatre 2006-2015; and was curated by Nikki Milican, former artistic director of New Territories (Scotland) and the esteemed and much-missed National Review of Live Art. ‘We need a place for healing and community in times of grave injustice and inequality,’ says Milican. ‘The week is defined by UK premieres by renowned international artists telling of lost communities, languages and culture; a search for homeland.’

SACRED:Homelands is housed for its duration at Toynbee Studios, which hosts a series of works that form constructions and deconstructions of both physical and conceptual homes. They are spread across four floors, with a series of durational pieces allowing for wanderers to amble in and out of mysterious, stark or cosy worlds. Built into the programme are artist-led discussions, which foster a culture of debate that emanates from each studio and out into the bar, as the festival audience shifts into a community of activists for the evening.



Josephine Garcia Jowett: Paradox

Josephine Garcia Jowett: Parabox


In Parabox, Josephine Garcia Jowett (Philippines/New Zealand) spends a week at Toynbee Studios building a cardboard shed. Through three durational performances totalling twelve hours of creation, viewers are able to encounter the artist in her paper home as she revisits the trauma of losing her family house and sets on a new journey to eventually rebuild it for her deceased mother. On Friday night I discover the ramshackle box with a cutaway entrance, back-lit by hanging bulbs, and am enticed inside to hide in the glowing den. Conversations immediately strike up with my fellow den dwellers who marvel at how comfortable they feel here. But whilst we experience a sense of safety and warmth, a sense of guilt and uneasiness emerges as we are invited to contemplate what it is like to lose your home and to rely on something so transient for safety – Josephine Jowett watched her house burn to the ground and lost her temporary cardboard shelter to a typhoon.. The theatricality of the cardboard box placed in a studio provides an artistic home for the real meat of the piece. It facilitates Jowett in sharing her story of loss and corruption and it is only then that the complexities of the work begin to emerge. Parabox is strongest in discussion and interaction with Jowett herself who is still navigating a journey from the Philippines to New Zealand to the UK, rebuilding a home in homage to her mother.


Latai Taumoepeau

Latai Taumoepeau


Meanwhile, Latai Taumoepeau, from Tonga/Australia, is creating her own methodical, one-woman stampede in a studio covered with a bed of glass. Broken bottles and shining shards of blue and green hues form a dangerous terrain that bleeds into the shining cityscape that extends the space through its panoramic windows. Satisfying staccato crunches, shatters and tinkles that sound like cracking ice, falling snowflakes, and fairy chatter. This evocative soundscape is created by Taumoepeau as she works to break the glass beneath her feet, which are strapped to heavy bricks. She regularly bends over to smash more glass with a heavy sort of baton, creating images that reference Jean-Francois Millet’s 18th century painting The Gleaners. Finding the heroic in the every toil of the working classes post French Revolution, Taumoepeau, like Millet seeks to highlight the tension between the privileged and lower classes, here using her body as a landscape. Her dual body is one of the privileged elite and a body politic of the underclasses which she frankly discusses in conversation with Nelson Fernandez on Saturday night. Taumoepeau wrestles with identity as she claims to make work ‘about them but not for them’.

There is a violence in the heavy plods and stamps of the artist and a delicacy in the evocative sounds that continue to emanate from the disintegrating material.  As specks of blood on her calves turn into red lines and her breathing gets faster the toil, work and effort of the task is highlighted. The magnified silhouettes behind evoke a great monochrome being stamping on the planet, flattening it to dust. A shadowy team of two, then four is multiplied further by her reflections in the windows. The colourfully lit landscape now takes a battering from the opaque army of stamping figures. A pile of dust in one corner of the floor hints at the transformatory possibilities of the work. How the function of the material might change as a result offers potential outcomes that would add a further dimension to its dialogue.


Zierle Carter: Charred Territories

Zierle Carter: Charred Territories


Meanwhile, artists Zierle & Carter (UK/Germany) present a wonderfully macabre and fantastical world in durational work Following the Crow’s Heart. Smells of toasting bread waft along the corridor as visitors are warned of an excess of gluten in the room they are about to enter. Tonight’s installation builds on Thursday’s performance Charred to the Bone – Where is Home now?, in which two performers sit isolated from one another but connected by a trail of burnt toast that forms a bridge between them. Audience members are invited to choose and place objects to form mini toast shrines within the space. Their choices are governed by thoughts of home and what or how that might be. This makes for a transformative piece culminating in a new environment with a sense of ownership and identity connected with its participants.

I enter on Friday night into a warm, tasty, inviting environment and it is only as I look closer that the scattered micro-installations reveal a tension between beauty and something more sinister. Toast circles, candlelit shrines, piles of white bones, and glowing red apples evoke traces of spell-making, alchemy and fairytale pursuits. The room is in constant flux as Zierle and Carter continue to perform strange rituals with the objects, leaving circular scuffs on the floor, puddles of water, and collapsed or melted bird trifles. Motifs of bodiless feet, and headless birds emerge in an image of stifled communication or disconnection which jars with the room’s homely atmosphere. Hooves next to bones and shoes filled with hair give a sense of grounding in space and place whilst igniting a sense of missing something. As Alexandra Zierle speaks through a microphone with her head immersed in water barriers in communication through facial expression and language increase the displacement of people in the room. Audience members sit around a table covered in objects for rituals and form a circle around the performers, they become part of this homage to the notions and complexities of home by their interaction, placement and displacement within the space. Viewers need to spend a long time absorbing this work in order to witness the performative elements and draw interpretations from them. The choices behind the object play and compositions allow for an interesting and unexpected contemplation on human behaviour.




Ali AL-Fatlawi and Wathiq Al-Ameri: Unamo


The work seen the following day was less inspiring, although with some highlights. Saturday’s evening performances included This Kasheer/Taste Kosur, in which a charismatic Inder Salim (from Kashmir) serves up paella to a full and bustling studio of people deep in conversation. The studio is scattered with saucepans, ladders, planks of wood, and a megaphone. Salim is serving up freshly prepared food wearing an open gown with nothing underneath. He cuts portrait photographs from his gown and hands them to diners to eat the food from. His multidisciplinary work seeks to use art as a form of activism.

James Luna presented a solo work, Native Stories: The Ground Beneath Us, which was less performative than other works seen, the artist (a Pooyukitchchum/Ipai native American) in storyteller mode, exploring ‘stories of fantasy futuristic tales, personal antidotes, country music legend Merle Haggard and the spirits within all of us, all said with irony, humour and hope.’

Ali AL-Fatlawi and Wathiq Al-Ameri, from Iraq/Switzerland, close the festival with Urnamo which uses everyday objects and tasks to physically exhaust the performers by inhibiting them with bungee rope. One fills his shirt with ping-pong balls and gradually travels, tightening the rope that joins him to the second seated performer. BANK HACKING SOFTWARE BANK HACKING TOOLS BANK ACCOUNT HACKING SOFTWARE HACKED BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS HOW TO HACK A BANK ACCOUNT BANK HACKING FORUM RUSSIAN HACKERS FORUM BANK TRANSFER HACKER LEGIT BANK TRANSFER HACKER BANK TRANSFER HACKERS FORUM BANK HACK ADD UNLIMITED MONEY GET OVER $100,000 USD MONTHLY THROUGH RUSSIAN HACKERS AND ATM CLONED CARDS, CONTACT US TODAY TO RECEIVE MONEY TRANSFER VIA WWW.BANKTRANSFERHACKERS.SU BANK LOANS BANK LOANS NEAR ME BANK LOANS FOR BAD CREDIT STARTUP BUSINESS LOANS BANK LOANS ONLINE BANK LOANS CHASE BANK LOANS FOR STUDENTS BANK LOANS FOR CARS BANK LOANS INTEREST RATE BANK LOANS FOR HOMES BANK LOANS CORONAVIRUS BANK LOANS FOR BUSINESSES BANK LOANS FOR STARTUPS BANK LOANS FOR START UP BUSINESS STUDENT BANK LOANS As he pulls strips of meat from a large joint and tries to stick it on his face, he is continually pulled off his chair by the rope. Altering the function of everyday objects and commenting and inhibiting tasks the work attempts to comment on war, border crossings and attitudes to Iraqi culture, but their message is at risk of becoming too obscure and abstracted to fully grasp.


The culture of dialogue continued throughout Saturday with Latai Tauamoepeau and Josephine Jowett in conversation with Nelson Fernandez. They frankly and emotively discuss family legacy, heritage and the struggle of making a home in a society tied by class and bureaucracy. SACRED:Homelands is at its best in conversation over the beautiful installations. It is here that voices are articulated, formed and heard, and here that pressing issues are ruminated upon: immigration, family, refuge, home and provocation.


James Luna

James Luna


SACRED:Homelands Festival 2016 ran 23–27 November at Toynbee Studios, London. 

Further details on the festival programme and artists at 

Rebecca Nice attended the festival on Friday 25 & Saturday 26 November 2016.