Dancing Prince

 

Dancing Prince is an ongoing performance project which was first developed at Grasslands. The outfit is a fast and loose interpretation of Louis XIV’s general style.

Louis XIV put fashion at the very heart of the French economy. To dress out of season was to commit social and therefore financial suicide. People still bankrupt themselves to stay in fashion. Clothing affected the course of wars and reflected the balance of power in Europe. He used fashion as another weapon in his petulant ongoing wars merely to aggrandize himself.

For Grasslands, the Dancing Prince was tested out in a series of sketch performances. The best performances were those in which the Prince was doing menial tasks such as pruning back the weeds. I’m going to develop it further by hijacking this obsolete symbol of male power and throwing it against a contemporary soundtrack of strong female and transgender voices. I wish to show the inherent weakness in such macho acts of bravado.

For Quantum Exhibition Centre the piece was adapted to work as a one to one performance where people are invited to dance. From the cold leather of the gloves to the mask hiding the face the only human interaction is with the sound of laboured breathing and pleading eyes beneath the mask. This is accompanied by ‘You only hurt the ones you love’ from a concealed speaker in the coat.

Many thanks to Grasslands www.grasslands-space.co.uk/ for allowing me space to develop the piece.

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Images by Vicky Roden