Do Not Go Gentle - Debbie Lee-Anthony

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Debbie Lee-Anthony

A reflective work by a mother and daughter, Do Not Go Gentle’ draws its inspiration from the exquisite, everlasting poem by Dylan Thomas.  With a strong indication for us to ‘live boldly, fight and burn with life’, the duet follows a journey that rages against ‘the dying of the light’ - and is a rage against time itself.
This work was made in honour of a courageous woman, Kath Posner, with a mesmerising sound track specially created by her husband (and Debbie’s brother) Hamid Mantu - World Music artist/co-founder of Transglobal Underground.  

Mater-Filia presents Do not Go Gentle, a mother-daughter exploration of mortality. Dripping sounds, a large hourglass and the sounds of ticking clocks point towards themes of life and mortality. Undulating spines and slippery floor work is matched with dancer Lauren Anthony's grounded and bold hip-hop technique. Overall, Do not Go Gentle is intensified by the technical strength of both dancers.
Maya Pindar
Courtesy Dougie Evans

Firstly, I would like to thank you and your daughter for such a sensitive and thought provoking piece. The burden of time passing weighs heavily upon us, increasingly so as we age and, particularly with the loss of loved ones and the imagery you had choreographed – you tackled this in a moving and most profound way.
We obviously bring our own life experiences to any show and as a 65 year-old grandmother who had come up to London and spent that day with her son and his beautiful little daughter, I arrived at The Place acutely aware of the passage of time and the importance of family/generation ties - and suddenly there it was on stage with your performance.

It was a delight to see you dancing with your daughter; to see you blending each other’s different techniques and styles of dance; to see such memorable imagery of the tenderness between you - mother supporting the daughter as she leaned against the extended leg of a lunge, and particularly poignant for me, the role reversal as the daughter on all fours bore the whole weight of the mother.
Thank you for seizing the opportunity to work together on 'Do Not Go Gentle' and creating such a sincere and sensitive work.
Anne Rooney (Ex-Head of Dance at St. Vincent College, Gosport)
I had already interviewed Debbie Lee-Anthony and her daughter Lauren a couple of weeks before so I was aware of the emotional complexity behind Do Not Go Gentle and the high stakes mother and daughter (Mater-Filia) had placed in the work. It was the first time they were performing together and the inspiration was the life of Lee-Anthony’s late sister-in-law, Kath Posner. It was also the first time Posner’s husband, musician Hamilton Lee (aka Hamid Mantu), had composed a dance score and the first time he was seeing the work dedicated to his late wife. It is a tribute to the artistry of all three that their individual creativity contributes to the full realization of the whole without becoming emotionally fraught: the score arises as much from the poem of Dylan Thomas as it does from the choreographic input of the dancers, and the choreography flows inseparably from the score.
Time is very much the crucible of the poem, and time is what Do Not Go Gentle addresses; we see it in the relative ages of mother and daughter, in time as memories and time as absence, yet the work drills down into the present with stoical force. Lee-Anthony speeds up her movements and her daughter slows down hers in deference to each other’s time when they dance together but each explores their own vocabulary and pace in distinct and poignant soliloquies. Do Not Go Gentle is a meeting of lyrical expressionism and youthful optimism, a conversation in which both mother and daughter fully contribute their feelings and abilities with mutual respect and emotional warmth. Heard but not seen is the essential contribution of Hamilton Lee, the man and the musician, that links mother and daughter in a timeless paean to the enduring bonds of life itself.
Nicholas Minns (Resolution 2017)
Photographs by Charlotte Levy
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