By Nadia Boxall

What is perfect? A summary.

Perfect was a dance show by a company called Motionhouse. The main theme for the show was time, Motionhouse said, "It was about waiting, nurturing and growing, about our fear of ageing and changing and about our race against time's unstoppable force." Perfect uses aerial work with slings, and fascinating displays on a gauze, with things such as hands being displayed and interacting with the dancers to perform a phenomenal and extraordinary performance. It is all performed by 5 dancers- 3 female and 2 male, with unique uses of props, such as paper used with the gauze, which is later crafted into flowers.

Something from Perfect:

Perfect by Motionhouse

The Team

Set Design
Simon Dormon
Lighting Design
Mark Parry

Original Music
Sophy Smith & Tim Dickinson
Costume Design
Claire Armitage
Chris Bradley
Production Manager
Peter Herbert

Artistic Director
Kevin Finnan
Kevin Finnan & the Company
Perfect was originally performed by
Vanessa Cook, Junior Cunningham, Wendy Hesketh, Helen Parlor & Stuart Waters

Costumes, Lighting and Set


  • The female dancers wear black, knee length dresses in which the neckline is different for each. They have no shoes and no accessories. The males wear white shirts, black trousers, no shoes and also have no accessories.
  • The light is a neutral, bright wash of light. There is a projection on the gauze of shadows, which could be interpreted as the male and female dancers in the past. In the transition into the next section the lights fade out and back up again.
  • It's a box set, with ladders up the back and a metal cage/frame. There is sand on the floor, and the gauze has a black strip at the bottom.
  • Bare legs, no shoes.
  • Downstage on show. Gauze/screen where the paper is ripped away. It's a pool of yellow light
  • Sand is on the floor
  • A black dress with a high neckline, bare feet and no accessories.
  • Dim yellow light fades to a natural light (warm) upstage. Gauze is brought forward and a purple/blue pattern of light is projected (cold). Upstage there is a pool of neutral light lighting the floor. In front of the gauze is a black out.
  • There's sand on the floor, the gauze (moved by dancers), box set with a metal frame, benches and ladders are present.
  • The female dancers wear black, knee length dresses in which the neckline is different for each. They have no shoes and no accessories. The males wear white shirts, black trousers, no shoes and also have no accessories.
  • Neutral pool of light in the centre. At the back there is 3 purple lights. Intensity is strong stage right, less so stage left. Lights have dimmed to a dark orange/purple, this signifies the change in sections.
  • A box set with a wire cage. Sand is on the floor. The benches and ladders are visible. The gauze is at the back and rakes are used as props.



  • 2 dancers perform, some contact work.
  • Unison
  • Contrast in dynamics, sharp and soft
  • Linear pathways
  • Male dancer - high level
  • Female dancer - mostly low levels
  • Some travel, mainly on the spot
  • Shadow travels the most
  • This section includes: turn, travel, lift, (arm) gestures, stillness, contrasting and reaching gestures.

  • Actions are: jumps, hops, skips, pointed toes, flicks, walking and shuffling.
  • Linear pathways, left to right, levels
  • Sharp, bouncy, springy, fast
  • Unison, mini solos, duet, cluster

  • Circular springs
  • Leaps
  • Crouches
  • Jumps
  • Sharp dynamics
  • Moments of stillness
  • Upstage
  • Levels
  • Travel
  • No interaction with other dancers
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Arm gestures

  • Start in unison - 2 duets
  • Fast/strong/sharp
  • Slow/flowing/sensitive/soft
  • Contact work - rake
  • Balances, leans, counter-balance, lifts
  • Turns, jumps
  • Throwing rake, raking the sand
  • 1/2 stage space for each couple
  • Violent couple travel-running



  • Saxophone
  • Bongo drums
  • Trumpet
  • Brass instruments
  • Upbeat
  • Jazzy
  • Egyptian sounding
  • Unnerving
  • Dark mood
  • Compliments dynamics

  • Bongo drums/steel pan
  • African sounds
  • Repetitive beat
  • Upbeat
  • Fast (increases)
  • Lively/playful
  • Direct correlation
  • Guiro
  • Maracas

  • Synthesis
  • Keyboard
  • Strings- harp/violin
  • Guitar
  • Slow tempo
  • Eerie & spooky mood
  • High pitch
  • Repetitive

  • String Instruments - violins, cellos, guitar
  • Tambourine
  • Repetitive, slow beat
  • Deep tone
  • Tension/calm - representing 2 different couples
  • Synthesis

The Motifs

Sand motif

Start sat on knees, then collapse over them as you drag right hand forward. Once up, do a small circle drag then shoot hand out behind you. Bring right arm round in a large circle to beside you, then do 2 very small circles. With aid from right hand, lift left foot up, then right and left to behind you. Here, go into the shoulder stand.

Legs motif

Start with legs together. Jump in the air, then jump flicking the right leg to the side, pointed. Step over the left leg, then step on the left, then right to join again. Pause for one count, then do a reversed developé on the left and then do one on the right, but dig it over the left leg. Turn the right leg out, then leap over with straight legs. Use one step to face the back.

Solo motif

Start standing legs together. Circular spring on the left, while the arms 'explode' from your chest. Start on the left, run 4 times. Step on the left to hop, and twist with the right leg extended, the arm comes up and follows the leg. Lean onto the right leg with arm and head. Step ball change on left, pause, then step ball change to drop to the floor with left leg extended out.

Rakes motif

Start in jazz fourth. Both legs bent, diagonally. Arms are in a box shape. Right arm peels upwards and eyes are on that arm. It peels back down, with eyes. Shunt (shuffle) starting on the right leg. Swoosh left leg to behind and hop with left arm in front and right to the side. Step on the left foot and turn anti-clockwise to face the front. Grab left wrist and throw to the left, body going to the right.