Emily Labhart

thinking about dance, arts management and cultural representation

Arthur Pita – Stepfather

Running at The Place 2nd-11th March (viewed 4th March), Arthur Pita’s Stepfather was the second piece of a double bill collaboration between Pita’s own company and HeadSpaceDance.

Stepfather introduces the audience to a grotesque family dynamic, a macabre Disneyland involving incest and murder alongside show girls and revelry.

Arthur Pita, Stepfather – image Ambra Vernuccio

At times it was a challenging watch – an internal moral debate to see humour in something so dark.

I felt very uncomfortable seeing the mother and sisters’ reaction upon discovering Clemmie Sveaas (third sister) and Karl Fagerlund Brekke (stepfather) succumbing to their sexual desires for each-other – vicious beatings were thrown at Clemmie, yet Karl received only a vehement look.

Another such moment is the stark image of Karl hanging from the ceiling before being hidden from view, after having thrown Clemmie down a well. Such huge topics referenced in a whirlwind 40min piece, punctuated with tap dance and gold slash curtain.

Arthur Pita, Stepfather – image Ambra Vernuccio

The final duet between Clemmie and Karl dancing from beyond the grave was visually stunning. Aerial work utilising Karl’s hanging body was a magical yet tragic spectacle on which to end, and is an image that will no doubt stay with me for months to come.

See for yourself when Stepmother/Stepfather heads to The Lowry, Salford 9th May and Dance City, Newcastle 13th May – tickets/further info here.

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