DanceNorth WestReview

Woman Hood – Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Alicia Shanahan

Creator: Ursula Graber

As an integral and meaningful instalment of the 2022 Homotopia Festival, contemporary dancer Ursula Graber invites you into a feminist world of her own creation. Woman Hood sets the stage for investigating the many curiosities of female worlds and the representation of women within society, while opening up discussion as to what a woman is and how they should be.

The performance began as soon as you enter the auditorium you are greeted by Graber on stage holding a rather impressive lunge stance as you cosy into your seats. Setting the scene of what is to come, Graber’s stage is a feminist “microcosm” of what seem to be dangling appendages suspended from the ceiling, but what is revealed later to be stuffed tights that are integrated into the show. Tranquil yet eerie music plays throughout the introduction but is not representative of the piece as a whole.

The integration of the appendages grew more comical with every interaction, as they also became characters within the performance. The warm lighting and glowy atmosphere created a comfortable atmosphere which made the audience even more receptive to the performance, with audience members leaning forward to see what will happen next.  The intimate and welcoming Unity Theatre played a wonderful host to this production as it transported you into Graber’s world. Containing nudity and loud music, it may not be suitable for younger viewers but, is a perfect performance for viewers who want to expand their experiences with contemporary dance performances.

As a one-woman show, Graber’s performance was electric, profound and often times humorous. Times of stark silence juxtaposes and intense movements are mixed with quirky gestures and rubber chicken cover songs, it is hard to predict what will happen next. The lighthearted nature of the performance gave the contemporary dance a level of relatability which was a breath of fresh air in relation to the topic of the piece. With a large smear of red lipstick that seemed to grow every time you saw her, Graber’s performance was an honest portrayal of feminine vulnerability and kept this reviewer wanting more to watch.

The hour-long performance was a great addition to the wider Homotopia Festival as it presented the worlds of masculinity and femininity as a merging and blurred concept. The understanding of community and support was entwined throughout Woman Hood as the appendages became her circle, which is reminiscent of Liverpool’s LGBTQ+ community and Homotopia as a whole.

Reviewed on Tuesday, 8th November 2022

The Review Hubs Score

Clucking Brilliant

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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