Phrases by angel mud and Katie Hagan.
(KH): Holly Blakey’s Cowpuncher My Ass is dripping in coolness. It’s been a few years since its final pre-pandemic efficiency in 2020, which considered one of our dance writers reviewed and liked for its transgressive method.
Now just a few years later comes a brand new rendition of Cowpuncher My Ass to the Saharan expansiveness of the Southbank Centre. This trippy, folky dance-western options numerous ass and IG Reel fashionable choreography, however this time it’s barely longer in length, with the extra presence of London Up to date Orchestra coming in three quarters of the way in which via to play a shrill violin sequence that heightens the extremely strung sexualness of what occurs onstage.
What’s good about Cowpuncher My Ass is the faultlessly cool aesthetic and unapologetically brash presentation of sexual impulse and want. Aesthetically and sensorially, this present is a scrumptious mismatch of pop and better artwork. In Mica Levi’s gorgeous rating, you get sounds of the motorway jarring in opposition to hacking mechanical clunks – and the violin. The sound design is so highly effective you’ll be able to style it. Lovely dancers glide and gyrate within the late Vivienne Westood’s high-end vogue designs. I don’t suppose we’re imagined to make sense of how Cowpuncher’s polarities sit with one another, however the combos are strange.
There isn’t a plot in Cowpuncher, relatively there are summary cycles of thumpy choreography blended with the rating and costumes. Our bodies shake, they’re thrown to the ground; hip thrusts; gyrations, undulations. Cowpuncher is that this ageless pagan satanic ritual that feels gratifyingly soiled, stunning. Dancers take one another for a trip, and there’s playful allusions to intercourse acts and positions which in a Southbank Centre efficiency context really feel rebelliously taboo in its confrontation.
Past the aesthetic and to how Cowpuncher My Ass makes you’re feeling, I hit a stumbling block. The present ebbs and flows; you’re pulled out and in. The choreography is unbelievable, the dancers are distinctive and transfer exceptionally, however one thing is lacking to essentially hook you in and seize you by the neck, even when it appears, that’s the want.
(advert): I believe that Cowpuncher My Ass forces us to confront a sure rawness and bareness. It does that by making an attempt to be daring in ways in which open up area for exploring what discomfort is, asking the query of the place does it come from and why? Nevertheless, it’s not clear whether or not that’s the principal intention. Its boldness by no means escalates, that means that the viewers is continually left greedy for a puff.
Cowpuncher is sensible and funky, identical to its title, however might it profit from additional dramaturgical growth? There’s concurrently an excessive amount of and never sufficient taking place at any given level. Having mentioned that, I used to be nonetheless drawn into this futuristic-universal-folk rave, however I saved ready to be shocked which sadly by no means occurred. I wanted extra ass, extra snow and possibly an additional shot in my double gin and tonic.
Picture credit score: Arnaud Mbaki.