Grotesque Dancer 1986

Cast: Liz Aggiss.

Commissioned by Zap Arts Brighton, Grotesque Dancer is a relentlessly monochrome solo performance inspired by avant-garde German grotesque dancer Valeska Gert. This defiant and muscular work explores female sexuality mixing humour, absurdity, dignity and vulnerability. The work features a series of connected expressionist dance vignettes accompanied by German cabaret style instrumentals and songs using poetry from Goethe, Morgenstern and Dehmal, in specially composed music by Billy Cowie.

Premiere 6th December 1986 The Zap Brighton.

‘She croaks co-author Billy Cowie’s parodistic german accordian songs, nach Weill, into a mike, and conjures up the bleak world of Weimar cinema, from Louise Brooks to Nosferatu.’
Stephanie Jordan The New Statesman

‘Liz Aggiss is a huskily seductive cabaret performer, a silent screen villain, a sleazy transvestite: the whole performance hovers between invitation and repulsion’
Judith Mackrell the Independent

Aggiss uses her source material both as a political alliance and as a feminist statement. She searches for a dance of social(ist) meaning and an abnegation of the sleek female beauty demanded by so many dance companies.’
Julia Pascal the Guardian

References for Grotesque Dancer
Adair, C. (1992) Women and Dance : Sylphs and Sirens. Macmillan
Aggiss, L. Cowie, B. Bramley, I. (2006) Anarchic Dance. Chapter by Liz Aggiss. Routledge
Briginshaw, V. (2001) Dance Space and Subjectivity. Palgrave
Adair, C. (1999) Resistant Revelations, Dance Theatre Journal, 15(1), 12 -15
Constanti, S. (1987) Easing the Load, Dance Theatre Journal, 5(2), 26-29
Constanti, S. (1987 July). Divas/Grotesque Dancer. Spare Rib, (180), 33
Farman, V. (1987, Summer). Review of Dartington Festival. New Dance, 41, 20-21
Gilbert, J. (1999 April 11). Divas. Independent, 8
Jordan, S. (1987, February 27). : Beyond the Umbrella. New Statesman, 113(2918), 2
Kant, M (2006) in Anarchic Dance by Aggiss, L. Cowie, B. Bramley, I. (2006) Routledge.
Levine, L. (1999 April 11). Divas. Sunday Telegraph, 8
Mackrell, J. (1987 February 16) A War Dance in Underpants. Independent, 11
Mackrell, J. (1988 March 3) Should New Dance be Ugly? Independent
Norden, B. (1988 September 15) Grotesque Dancer, Pink Paper.
Nugent, A. (1987 April 19) The Place Divas. The Stage, 19
Pascal, J. (1988 January 29) Let’s Tanz. The Guardian, 19
Pascal ,J. City Limits
Percival, J. (1987 February 14). Applaud the Audience. Times, 42
Reichart, M. (Oct 1998) Fulminantes Tanztheater. Kronen Zeitung, 20
Robertson, A. (1987 May 1) Divas. Time Out, 54
Sacks, A. (1999 April 8) Divas Purcell Room. Evening Standard, 55

DVD of studio and live performance of Grotesque Dancer on the DVD in the book ‘Anarchic Dance' by Liz Aggiss, Billy Cowie with Ian Bramley (Routledge)