Skip to main content

Dance review Self-portrait of the artist as dancer

MATTHEW HAWKINS applauds the rare opportunity to witness an autobiographical dance work online

Adult Female Dancer

ROSIE KAY offers a theatrical auto-solo online. 

Her Adult Female Dancer vaunts a skilled and thorough Everywoman. Kay pays her dues amid the exigencies of a collectively developed professional dance landscape where lunges lunge elastically, vertebrae trill, insteps articulate, and the solar plexus never sets. 

Her more personal choices reside in matters of pace. 

In Adult Female Dancer there are mostly more beats per minute in danced physicality than are present in the selected music. Similarly, where music loops back and recapitulates, here is a choreographic script that rolls on ahead. These choices evoke ambivalence and commentary: she is moving “about” and not within the readymade aural medley. 

Bach/Morricione/Patti Smith tracks alternate with testament, recorded in the choreographer’s own voice, in edgy sentences that seem bidden by an unheard interviewer. A verbal inventory of this performer’s extensive professional (and other) injuries is followed by jaunty dance to Scarlatti and we’re grateful she does not fracture before our eyes. 

In a more directly lyrical sense, everything comes together in a boldly wrought final dance that is strong enough to stand alone. En route, we witness a fugitive key moment of primal slow symmetry where Kay curls her core and splays her limbs, implying and engulfing a palpable nadir. 

We are moved beyond words, albeit we are clued-in via spoken recollection of untimely labour (and emergency Caesarean delivery) where mortality had been touch and go. 

Such staged activities configure choreographic and existential architecture, with personal conviction long held, newly found, or even a matter of brave face. 

The video is offered exclusively to Morning Star readers; Adult Female Dancer will tour Britain in 2024. For more information see:


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.



Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 10,353
We need:£ 7,647
11 Days remaining
Donate today