$elfie$ is about black queer movement. This new show from Malik Nashad Sharpe’s is rooted in dance, choreography and drama. It explores themes of extreme desire and violence played out against the current political melancholia. It’s been controversial at times. And the Daily Mail doesn’t like it.
We caught up with Malik to find out what to expect when $elfie$ hits Brighton. “It’s dance – and lots of other things. There are many narratives going on.”
Diversity influences his work, his aesthetics, and his politics. Malik was born into a New York working class family with roots in the Caribbean and London. He lives in Lewisham near to where a grandparent grew up.
“We have toy guns in the performance – I’m from the US – so it’s also a commentary on why I don’t live there!”
Malik graduated with honours in experimental dance and later studied at the Laban. $elfie$, with Arts Council England backing, is his third performance piece. He’s excited by using choreography to tell stories and build relationships. So, for this show, he’s teamed up with dancer Kam Wan (Dalston Ballet) to examine ambivalences between races.
“There are moments when he wrestles me down and it’s quite violent.”
He expects audiences to find it enjoyable and exciting “with plenty of good dancing”. But be prepared for changes when he rocks up at the Marlborough. “We will use the whole space. So you will be immersed in it.”
Malik likes our village. “It’s super queer – I come to Brighton as often as I can – you get something that you don’t get anywhere else. It’s an exciting testing ground.” After Glasgow and London, the show transfers to Canada.
$elfie$ holds up a black queer mirror to confront our taste for violence.
Marlborough Theatre, Saturday 25th November 2017
Photos by Ryan O’Donaghue
Tickets available here