On February 4, Dance City welcomes back established, dancer, performer and choreographer Dora Frankel as she develops her latest filmed project Touch the Beast, based on the gothic aesthetic of two of the 18th century’s most iconic artists.

Inspired by the dark and twisted works of renowned eighteenth century writer Edgar Allen Poe, Touch the Beast will evoke the gothic world of his imagination through the lens of the 21st century. The short film will feature a diverse and charismatic cast including Livia Massarelli and Giacomo Pini, embodying themes of sensuality, strangeness and gender fluidity.

‘Touch the Beast takes Poe’s idea that the seeds of our own destruction lie in ourselves so the ‘Beast’ is our guilt at our sexual orientation, our age, race, gender, looks and our past actions. The ‘Beast’ is also our own genitalia. The film works with this idea drawing inspiration from primarily Poe’s short stories: The Cask of Amontillado and The Oval portrait.’ Says Dora Frankel of the new work.

In line with the film’s gothic subject matter, costumes will take inspiration from the grotesque, decadent and erotic works of English illustrator and pioneer of the Aesthetic Movement, Aubrey Beardsley.

The work is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. With thanks to Dance City Newcastle, Jacksons Lane London, Curious Arts, Northern Stage and Dr Martyn Hudson and the Creative and Cultural Management Masters team at Northumbria University.

You can see ‘Touch the Beast’ at Jackson’s Lane Friday 8 March,  7.30pm and Alphabetti Theatre Friday 15 March, 8pm (Part of Curious Arts Fundraiser).

If you’d like to find out more and get involved, you can support the work’s crowd funding page here.

Choreography: Dora Frankel and company; Dancers: Livia Massarelli, Giacomo Pini and Dora Frankel; Filmmaker: Andy Wood; Lighting Design: Kirk Sim; Costume: Kate Collins; Original concept: Dora Frankel and Cristobal Catalan.

Images by James Beresford, Tony Griffiths and Jack Thompson (in order of appearance.)