7 Pleasures is part contemporary dance, part human sculpture and but all nude!
As someone who has seen a lot of contemporary dance, much involving states of limited, if any costuming, I was confident that 7 Pleasures would not be of particular note purely due to its nudity content…
Oh, how wrong was I!
From the first beats that pulse through the theatre, I suddenly realised that I was not enough of an adult to view this as purely an exercise in art and the human form. This was scandal at it’s best. Shocked and uncomfortable I watched each of the dancers reveal themselves entirely, and I suddenly felt like a pubescent boy with equal parts uneasiness and fascination. 7 Pleasures made me feel like my parents should have forbidden me from witnessing this show, but I loved every sordid second.
The agony of viewing so many people naked, who move so freely, hits in diminishing waves. The earthquake that is the explicit, undancerly shaking of genitals does ease, however, the intense interest we all feel for the human form endures throughout the hour and a half show.
Conceptualised and choreographed by Danish-born Mette Ingvartsen, the show is in her words “a reflection on how sexual and erotic bodies are very often represented as flat, two-dimensional images, and on the potentiality of theatre to treat these bodies differently”. While this does accurately describe the bones of the piece, it does not capture the references and allusions it casts on modern sexual politics.
Harking to themes of gender, privacy, sexuality, coercion, polygamy, and pornography, the show bursts with thought. It’s strongest suit being a definite feeling of revolution. The dancers cavort, gyrate, roll, and crawl their way around the stage insinuating emotion and narrative with their posture and speed.
Amidst the vivid tableau of pan-sexual energy, the performance also manages to be profoundly unerotic. Displaying the inherent power dynamics and violence of nudity you can expect to become at times utterly oblivious to the charged nature of the lack of costuming. 7 Pleasures swings with ease between sophisticated statement of our comfortability with bareness and a bold exclamation of some of the most taboo aspects of our modern sensibilities.
7 Pleasures shatter’s your understanding of your own undress and replaces it with (for me at least) compelling desire to strip off and wave all my natural attributes in the face of convention.
This is not a strip show, nor a cabaret oddity, but a piece that deals head-on with nudity, arousal, and pleasure in no uncertain terms.
It would have to be one of the most thought provoking and genuinely rebellious works that I have seen… well, ever! There is no denying it’s scandalous, rebellious allure to all audiences which is balanced with a sober and contemplative discourse about our uniting human attributes.