He’s Dead, Photography by Elise Rose
He’s Dead is a dark fantasy choreography that engages with the question ‘Was Tupac depressed?’ This question cannot be answered and so this conceptual group work uses dance, text, live action, and sound, at the juncture of darker schemas, atmospheres, and dramaturgies in order to shed tears for the things that we cannot unearth. Moving beyond the social framework of hope, He’s Dead works with undercurrent modes of meaning-production, utilising choreography as a tool and formal force for interrogating, in this case, im/possibility. The work proliferates marginal identifications and melancholic subjectivities as both a fantasy framework and as practises against dehumanisation.
Concept, choreography and direction: Marikiscrycrycry
Dancers: Alexander Love, Blue Makwana, Eve Stainton and Marikiscrycrycry
Sound designers: JONI, Joanna Pope, ¥ummy Online
Sound research: Dylan Spencer-Davidson, TAAHLIAH
Flag designs: Zeinab Saleh
Lighting and Technical Design: Jon Cleveland
Dramaturgy: Martin Hargreaves
Producer: Ash Bowmott and Laura Sweeney, The Uncultured
Photography: Elise Rose
Trailer filmmaker and editor: Kassandra Powell
Costumes and styling: Mia Maxwell
Set build: James St. Findlay
Malik Nashad Sharpe is an artist working with choreography. They create performances that are formally experimental and engaged with the construction of atmosphere, affect, and dramaturgy. Their performances often utilise social themes and topics as portals to unveil and unearth ulterior and undercurrent perspectives. Often making underneath their alias and aesthetics project marikiscrycrycry, they have been especially concerned with the affective and textural qualities of dance and how it can transform, disarm, and critically reflect upon mourning and melancholia.
Blue is a London based dancer, choreographer and teacher specialising in contemporary technique, commercial, jazz and musical theatre. She has most recently worked as an Assistant Choreographer and Assistant Director to Malik Nashad Sharpe for a number of their pieces. Alongside performing, Blue also teaches contemporary technique, commercial, jazz technique and musical theatre at The Urdang Academy, The Place, Emil Dale Academy, Trinity Laban and The BRIT School. She is currently an Assistant to the appointed artistic director Alesandra Seutin, for the 2020/2021 National Youth Dance Company cohort. Blue is represented by Mass Talent agency and Atmosphere Faces.
Eve Stainton is an artist interested in the politics of uncodeable queer presence and its intersections with race and class. They create multi-disciplinary performance worlds that hold movement practices, digital collage, and welded steel, and other invisible forces like waves, imagination and drama. These forms work together to create live ecologies that are discordant, multi-layered and psychedelic. Stainton is interested in the production of conflicting states and textures to unravel essentialist thinking, with intent to create more expansive understandings of the lesbian identity, non-gender/variance, and perceptions of the ‘real’.
Alexander Love is currently in his final year at the London Contemporary Dance School. Love will be making his professional stage debut in He’s Dead. Love has performed with New Adventures in Romeo and Juliet (2019, local cast) and Lord of the Flies (2012) and also danced in two documentaries with Akram Khan. He has also performed as part of the National Youth Dance Company, with guest artistic directors Sharon Eyal and Damien Jalet.
Commissioned by The Marlborough Pub & Theatre for New Queers on the Block; Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts; Theatre in the Mill; Block Universe; and The Yard. Further support from Arts Council England, The Place and Institute of Contemporary Arts.