On the 22nd October 2016 I went to the the Bodyzone gym on Carliol Square to see BodyTalks, a show produced by Southpaw Dance Company – one of two events commissioned by Juice Festival in 2016. The event was all about using dance to explore issues surrounding body image and the pressure put on us to achieve an ideal body image by the media.
The show took the form of a gym induction, and we were led around by a performer in character as a personal trainer. During the performance they revealed facts about body image issues with boys and girls and how much it is a problem for adolescents of both genders.
They presented us with facts about depression amongst girls, eating disorders amongst girls and body building issues amongst boys. I was left shocked at the figures and statistics about the issues that body image really has on adolescents, the show did a great job of making me feel the impact of the pressures put on people regarding body image.
The message was very clearly demonstrated through the way the performance presented these facts and figures. One noteworthy scene saw a boy being bullied into body building more by all of his body building friends who were putting pressure on him to have that ‘perfect male body’. There was also a girl who was on a cross trainer machine and described to us her the extremes of the diet she was on because she thought she was fat and needed to lose weight.
The show as a whole got its message across really clearly, with all of the performances being fantastic, but these two in particular really stood out and left me shocked because the media shouldn’t put pressure on adolescents in this way.
My opinion on this performance is very high. The depth the show went into around the statistics and figures of body image issues, the characters and specific scenarios performed – each one really took me into the setting of a gym and I totally forgot it was a performance. Also the energy and interaction with audience was excellent.
The show really caught the audience’s attention and everyone felt involved with the performance – to the point that (SPOILERS) the show ended with the performers walking into the audience and hugging while giving them a compliment. This did a lot to reinforce their point about body confidence and drove home the core message that you’re perfect the way you are. It was an excellent hour of my night and I would certainly recommend it.
Find out more on Southpaw Dance Company and the work they do on their website. Photos by Richard Kenworthy.