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I saw him the other day. He looked middle aged. A bit too much weight, not quite enough hair. Nowhere near as … tight. He kept mentioning the good old days, and I kept thinking to myself, What is this? — a Bruce Springsteen song?”

Performance: Shannon Bott and Natalie Cursio

Direction: Simon Ellis

Choreography: Shannon Bott, Natalie Cursio and Simon Ellis

Music: Cyndi Lauper

Original incarnation: Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1987). Choreography and performance by Andrew Chapman and Simon Ellis, with smocks, wigs and padded bras. Created as a compulsory requirement in first year Physical Education at Otago University in New Zealand.

Background

Tight is a choreographic response to an imposition.

When Natalie Cursio approached me about choreographing a new work to the first piece of music I ever choreographed to, I was excited by the idea, but concerned that the implications of integrating such a constraint might undermine my current choreographic practice. Broadly speaking this has involved exploring and developing improvisation strategies as a means of revealing or presenting psychological states — a long way from choreographing to Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper. However, the distance was not as far as I had imagined, and what the project has done is offer an opportunity to revisit another time, both in terms of experience and choreographic strategies. The constraint was liberating.

Tight is a short work. It is choreographed directly to the audio, and is an attempt to capture the spirit and vigour of the song, utilising a simple (and clichéd) narrative device — that of two women (or one woman times two) looking back on an event in their late teenage years. Tight is not nostalgic. It is, however, glamorous, kinaesthetically dense, technically demanding, and mostly fun.

Fuck the art, let’s dance.

– Simon, 2 June 2005

Première: 21 June 2006, Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, Australia

Script:

He was good looking. Nice legs, strong chest. Taut. He was funny too. And reliable. I was 18. Ignorant with opinions. A lethal combination. He had a motorcycle. Not some shiny, noisy my-name-is-Tony type Suzuki, but a crappy old oh-so-cool 80cc Honda. Red. We’d go places. Hills, films, rugby. Once we went to the gallery and I remember him saying, Fuck the art, let’s dance.”

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