New dance show captures 1980s New York

Scottish Dance Theatre present Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith-inspired Velvet Petal, the newest work choreographed by artistic director Fleur Darkin.

The latest dance production from Scottish Dance Theatre brings energy and style of 1980s New York to the Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh this summer.

Following rave reviews from the show’s performances in Glasgow, Mexico City and the Edinburgh Festival the company evoke the heady atmosphere of early 80s New York as audiences witness tough girls and pretty boys living life in the margins, dreaming about being at the centre.

Velvet Petal is inspired by the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe, and the transformative power of creating beauty out of whatever you can find on the bedroom floor.

Choreographed by Scottish Dance Theatre’s artistic director Fleur Darkin and created in collaboration with this exceptional company, the Velvet Petal dancers philosophise, seduce and experiment with their bodies, clothing and ideas.

Set to a fresh dance-punk score arranged by Torben Lars Sylvest including music by LCD Soundsystem, Spoek Mathambo and Abul Mogard this unique show will adapt and morph in content and length for each venue and festival on this tour. Audiences will enjoy the essence of Velvet Petal at times distilled and developed by the company of dancers to create an intense dance experience.

Fleur said: ‘Velvet Petal is about change – how humans change by themselves or through relationships with others. It’s about those times in your life when you must transform yourself. I spent a lot of time researching the photographic process and the polaroids of Robert Mapplethorpe inspired me to see things in a new way.

‘We think we understand at first glance but actually it’s when we spend time letting the object communicate with us that the magic happens. I think the revealing nature of time is particularly true of dancers. The dancers are the Velvet Petals and they open themselves towards the light and dig deep to pull us through the darkness.

‘Ever since reading Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids I was compelled to make a piece that captures the energy of constant change and transformation. I hope Velvet Petal will inspire audiences to reflect on their own metamorphoses as they are moved by the marvel of human growth. We are living in tough times and a lot of our depression comes from hearing the news. Velvet Petal is about listening to those private desires and connecting with our dreams. I want the audience to leave the theatre thinking: Anything is possible.’

Full tour details are:

16-18 May, Mayfest, Trinity Fyfe Hall, Bristol, 7pm. Tickets £14 (£10 conc) Ages 14+. Box office: 0117 987 7877 or online at 

23 May, Lighthouse, Poole, 7.45pm . Tickets: £19.75 (£16 conc) Ages 16+. Box Office: 01202 280000 or online at:

31 May, Theatre Royal, Dumfries, 7.30pm. Tickets: £15 (£12 conc) Ages 16+. Box Office 01387 254 209 or online at:

1 June, Hidden Door Festival, Edinburgh, 9.30pm. Tickets: Part of day and festival passes available at:

13 – 15 July, Latitude Festival, Suffolk, times vary . Tickets: Part of Day and Weekend tickets available at:

31 August – 1 September, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London, 8pm . Tickets £22.50 (£17.50). Box Office: 020 3879 9555 or online at