Jane Turner, Troop

Review in Issue 20-1 | Spring 2008

Troop, conceived and choreographed by Jane Turner, is an exploration of the modern archetype The Showgirl, in which ‘dancers create characters who create characters’. It is a show in which that archetype is, in the choreographer’s words, less subverted than celebrated. The Showgirl is the embodiment of ‘being alive’ and thus to be invited into our hearts. It’s OK to be gazed at, runs the message, as long as we can gaze back: ‘I’m watching you, watching me, watching you’. The relationship of the showgirl to the male (and female!) gaze is at the heart of the piece.

Troop takes all the expected tropes and presents them to us beautifully and without irony: the Busby Berkeley line-up, the Tiller Girls circle, the silhouette, the strut, the podium dance. There may be no subversion, but there is commentary – and these more theatrical scenes are the strongest in the piece: in one, a stage-full of dancing girls grooving in their own world each in turn stop to take a telephone call – here, we see clearly, are other people’s daughters, mothers, lovers and girlfriends. In another scene, tired feet relinquish dance shoes, which are piled up into one set of arms, then dropped to the floor, creating an instant image of end-of-the-night abandonment. I’m less interested when Troop strays too far into an expressive dance territory that become a little too close to parody for comfort. Thankfully, this happens only occasionally. Mostly, an elegant and engaging tribute to that beautiful creature, The Showgirl.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Dec 2007

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-1
p. 32