Preview: Arrangement at Sadler’s Wells

Arrangement c. David Edwards
Arrangement c. David Edwards

British-Irish choreographer Joe Moran and Dance Art Foundation presents Arrangement in the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells on Thursday 28 November and Friday 29 November.

Arrangement premiered in 2014 at The Place in London and then toured extensively across the UK as part of Joe Moran’s first national tour AssemblyArrangement offers a bold and refreshing examination of gender, masculinity and the male body, questioning and unsettling representations of men and masculinity in dance.

Arrangement is a full-evening work performed by an international cast of six exceptional dancers, Andrew Hardwidge (Ligia Lewis, Tino Seghal), Samir Kennedy (Lucy McCormick, Pablo Bronstien), Erik Nevin (Hussein Chalayan, Damien Jalet), Christopher Owen (Boris Charmatz, CandoCo, Scottish Dance Theatre), Alexander Standard (Daniel Linehan, Yuval Pick), and Yiannis Tsigkris (Greek National Opera School of Dance).

Arrangement continues Moran’s collaboration with lighting designer Beky Stoddart (DV8, Michael Clark), and costume designer Tom Rogers (Rambert, Philadelphia Opera).

Celebrated female dancer Temipote Ajose-Cutting (Punchdrunk, Protein) opens the evening in a new adaptation of Moran’s compelling solo Decommission, a lively experiment in intimacy and risk.

Joe Moran’s previous work at Sadler’s Wells includes On The Habit of Being Oneself, which premiered in September 2017 and the durational duet Singular, which was performed in the theatre’s public spaces as part of Sampled earlier this year. Moran is also a Sadler’s Wells Summer University graduate (2015-2018), a pioneering development programme for dance artists.

Joe Moran, Artistic Director of Dance Art Foundation, said: “This is the first time I have been invited by a major institution to re-stage a work and I am excited to revisit Arrangement five years after its creation with its full original cast. Arrangement was conceived in a defiant spirit of reaction to a proliferation of all-male dance works. I was repeatedly seeing work preoccupied with stereotypes of highly-charged and overblown masculinity – men were tough, aggressive, physical, dangerous. All physical intimacy was framed as competitive or combative. It was so tedious and alienating: so drenched in heteronormative, misogynist and homo/transphobic anxiety. It felt as if advances in sexual politics had suddenly never happened.

“Problematic masculinity is infinitely more nameable today but also hasn’t gone anywhere, so there are new resonances returning to this work and I am keen to foreground its queer choreographic manoeuvres that critique masculinity by looking beyond gender binary. In re-staging the work, there is however a glaring and somewhat paradoxical issue that although Arrangement is an insistent critique of masculinity, it still only employs cis male dancers. And whilst, in my view, groups of men on dance stages that refuse happy heteronormative representation still crackle with disquiet, this is a material reality on which I felt I could not in good conscience proceed. So as very partial and imperfect gestures, I am commissioning critical writing by female-identifying and/or non-binary voices to accompany the performances and opening the evening with the stripped back solo Decommission performed for the first time by the exceptional dancer Temipote Ajose-Cutting. I hope the combination of thoughts, action and determination will combine to make a thought-provoking event.”

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