Dance explores life in the military

ROSIE Kay’s award-winning dance production 5 Soldiers – The Body is The Frontline comes to the Theatre Royal Bath on Sunday 14th May, performed by her dance company, K2CO at 3 and 8pm.

Endorsed by the UK Armed Forces and British Military for its insight and dramatic portrayal of life in the military, 5 Soldiers has received praise from serving soldiers, veterans, peace activists, critics and civilians alike.

It has toured to Army barracks and drill halls in London and across England and has been live streamed internationally by The Army and BBC Arts Digital. The production has also toured to Europe and twice to the USA.

With the war in Ukraine, the first European war since the Balkans, and the aftermath of the evacuation of Afghanistan severely affecting women’s rights, a country’s use of the military as a tool of power is still highly relevant, political and, in some cases, controversial.

5 SOLDIERS is choreographed and directed by Rosie Kay who was nominated for a National Dance Award 2022 for Outstanding Female Performance (Modern) for Absolute Solo II. Amongst her numerous credits, Rosie choreographed the live Commonwealth Games Handover Ceremony in 2018, watched by more than one billion people worldwide, and worked in film as the choreographer to Sunshine on Leith in 2013.

Sparked by a dance injury and her psychological response to it, Rosie Kay, asked the armed forces for help and was offered an opportunity to embed on manoeuvres with 4th Battalion The Rifles near Salisbury, as well as residencies at the military rehabilitation centre Headley Court and the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine. First seen in 2010, the result was 5 Soldiers.

This latest version of the work, which uses dance to explore the stories of a group of combatants who become fractured by war, is a thrilling and humane portrait of army life telling the stories of three men and two women serving off and on the front line. Highlighting the preparation for war, the personality traits of the soldiers, the off-duty camaraderie, boredom, high-jinx and horseplay, as well as the deeply important and, at times, contradictory role of women in the Armed Forces, it offers a rare, front row insight into the effects of war on the mind and body.

The production is a partnership between the arts, UK Armed Forces and military and local communities. It offers no moral stance on war, but instead questions what it is that we ask of our soldiers.