Perfect Revision Guide

A Motionhouse Production

A brief summary

Perfect is about time. It is about the way we witness time and about how it pulls and shapes us, draws us together and tears us apart. It is about waiting, nurturing and growing, about our fear of ageing and changing and about our race against time's unstoppable force.

With low-level flying and aerial work that suspends disbelief as well as bodies, Perfect sees 5 performers fly in the face of time, living large, in a time-poor world.

Perfect by Motionhouse

Key facts

  • Premiere-Warwick Arts Centre, January 2005
  • Accompaniment: Sophy Smith and Tim Dickinson
  • Set Design: Simon Dormon
  • Costumes: Claire Armitage
  • Lighting: Mark Parry
  • Film: Caroline Bridges
  • Style of dance-Contemporary
  • Dancers-5, 3 female and 2 male

Key features

Set design

  • the dancers perform on sand
  • they use props such as rakes and watering cans
  • a screen is used to project a video onto it, the screen is torn down during the piece, the paper is then used to make flowers
  • in the last section the dancers are swinging across stage on bungees


  • lots of contact work
  • some of their actions are partially hidden by screens

Video projection

  • includes time-lapse photography
  • it shows the dancers getting older
  • it includes images suggesting time passing



  • 2 dancers-some contact work
  • unison
  • contrast in dynamics-sharp & soft
  • linear pathways
  • male dancer-high level
  • female dancer-mainly low
  • some travel but mainly on the spot
  • shadow travels the most
  • turn, travel, lift, arm gestures, stillness, contracting & reaching gestures
Set, lighting and costume
  • black dress, knee length, neck line differs, no shoes, no accessories
  • white shirt, black trousers, no shoes, no accessories
  • shadows-possibly the male & female dancers in the past?
  • projection and gauze
  • neutral, bright wash of light
  • transition into next section-lights fade out and back up again
  • box set
  • ladders, metal cage/frame, sand on the floor, gauze-black strip at the bottom
  • saxophone, bongo drums, trumpet, brass instruments
  • upbeat
  • jazzy
  • Egyptian sounding
  • un-nerving
  • dark mood
  • tempo compliments dynamics
Extra details
  • shadows representing the past
  • notion of memory
  • relationships
  • rejection

Motif 1: Sands

You start kneeling down. Lean forward with your right hand on the floor and drag it back. Lean forward with your right hand again but move it in a circular motion and swing it behind you on count four. Then put it on the floor and complete the circle. Next, draw two small circles next to your leg. Place your hand down and lean on it then step left, right, left so you are kneeling down facing the corner. Finally, swing your legs round and push into a shoulder stand leaning on your right shoulder.



  • jumps, hops, skips, pointed toes, flicks, walking, shuffling
  • linear pathways-left to right
  • range of levels
  • sharp, bouncy, springy, fast, energetic
  • unison
  • mini solos & duets
  • cluster
  • 3 dancers

Set, lighting and costume

  • bare legs, no shoes
  • sand
  • down stage on show
  • gauze/screen-paper ripped away
  • pool of yellow light


  • bongo drums/steel pans
  • African sounds
  • repetitive beat
  • upbeat
  • fast-increases speed
  • lively/playful
  • direct correlation
  • guiro
  • maracas

Extra details

  • the idea that we read into what isn't there
  • perceptions
  • girl running away?
  • girl being forced
  • assume slings are lifting up dancers

Motif 2: Legs

Start standing front & feet together, jump, jumo and flick out right leg to face left, cross your right leg in front, step out left leg and join right foot with your left. Wait, then reverse developpe left leg, joining feet. Reverse developpe right leg, split leap to the right and join left foot to face the back.

Section-Interlude 1: Wendy's solo


  • leap, circular spring, crouches, jumps, squats, lunges, arm gestures
  • dynamics are mostly sharp-gives an unsettled feeling because there is lots of moments of stillness included too
  • upstage
  • range of levels
  • lots of travel
  • no interaction with other dancers

Set, lighting and costume

  • black dress, bare feet, no accessories, high neckline
  • dim yellow light fades to a natural white light upstage
  • gauze is brought forward and a blue/purple light is projected-as if she is under water (the light creates a cold feeling)
  • upstage there is a pool of natural light across the floor
  • in front of the gauze is a blackout
  • box set, ladders, benches-metal frame
  • sand on the floor
  • gauze moved on ropes


  • synthesiser
  • keyboard
  • violin
  • harp
  • cello or double bass
  • slow tempo-eerie and unnerving
  • high pitch
  • repetitive

Extra details

  • is the duet just her imagination?
  • Wendy's memory, her recalling bad/negative times
  • Wendy is distraught, sad, confused
  • suffering-she is in pain
  • gauze acts as a wash of emotion trapping the dancer
  • downstage-future?
  • upstage-past?

Motif 3: Solo

Start in neutral. Circular spring on the left. Hands on your heart and bring them down to your sides. Step left, right, left, right then step on the left and kick your right leg out turning into an arabesque. Step back on the right to lunge back then step ball change on your left, wait and repeat the step ball change finishing by sliding onto the floor.



  • start in unison
  • 2 duets
  • fast/strong/sharp
  • slow/soft/sensitive/flowing
  • contact work using a rake
  • balances, leans, lifts
  • turns, jumps
  • rake being thrown
  • raking the sand
  • half the stage each
  • violent couple travels lots

Set, lighting and costume

  • black dress, knee length, different necklines, no shoes
  • white shirt, black trousers, no shoes
  • box set, sand on the floor, ladder, benches, gauze
  • props-a rake
  • neutral pool of light
  • in the back there is a 3 purple lights
  • the intensity of lights is strong on stage right, less so on stage left
  • lights dimmed to a dark orange/purple, signifies a change in section


  • lots of violins, cellos and guitars
  • tambourine
  • repetitive slow beat
  • low tone-very deep
  • tension, a slight underlying calmness, highlighting the mood of two couples
  • synthesiser

Extra details

  • aggressive couple and nurturing couple
  • man is left on the floor by himself and a mound of sand-memory of the other dancer/baby
  • she rakes away the negative memories
  • he traps her as they run around
  • on the floor he draws a circle around himself to protect him
  • lady at the back 'Wendy', constantly making sand moulds, representing difficult times in a relationship/babies