“Like all artforms, the dance world is always trying to re-invent itself and say something original. Rarely, however, does an entirely new subject matter come along -which is partly why You&Me is such a special work”
★★★★ Kelly Apter | The Scotsman
Man meets Man… discovering a state of happiness never felt before; but he has a wife and family at home. A dance duet featuring the spectacle of high energy Kathak and physicality of contemporary dance, with a live music score of sitar, tabla and cello. Available both for outdoor and studio.
YOU&ME was developed from workshops with women’s groups - where some shared their real-life experiences of a marriage where their partner could not express his sexuality for fear of bringing shame to the family. Amina Khayyam said “During one of my regular outreach workshops with women’s groups the subject of LGBTQ+ came up and a participant opened up – admitting to be in a marriage where her partner, who she knew was gay, had been required to get married because of family and societal pressures. This prompted me to explore the subject further and as expected, I found more women in similar situations. This compelled me to make the piece to tell the many hidden stories but importantly to tell the story from her perspective where she encourages him to be courageous and ‘come out’.”
One day, he has to face the decision that he can no longer live the insincerity of his life at home and in one part he faces up to his wife in a solo kathak section – where using gatnikas (expression of character) to play reverse roles – he expresses his guilt of living a double life with her. She encourages him – helping him to build the courage to make the decision. The narrative of You&Me is steeped in Kathak’s nritta to expand on the struggles he has to overcome in a community that doesn’t recognise or refuses it.
This experience was developed with two LGBTQ+ performers from their imagining his perspective. Amina Khayyam said “It was very important to me to cast LGBTQ+ dancers and I wanted the dancers to be able to empathise with the stories told by the women. Once I shared my research with them, we explored their own personal stories of their sexuality and their experience of coming out – and thereby – the societal impact on them. The narrative arc began developing a story told by the two gay characters – however I wanted to keep the emphasis that the perspective of the narrative is from a woman’s point of view – whose point of view informed the dramaturgy exploring the cultural significant of societies behaviours around them.”
Choreography : Amina Khayyam
Music composition: Jonathan Mayer
(pool: Raheem Mir, Julian Nichols, Giovani Lucca)
Producer and Dramaturgy : Hardial Rai
First developed as a studio piece and premiered at Rich Mix (2022) , YOU&ME has been touring regionally and was at Summerhall (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2023).
Available for 2024.