Pull Yourself Together is the second contemporary dance show that I’ve seen at this year’s fringe. The show is created by Hilary James and features her and two other women as the dancers. Hilary is one of the reasons I came to this show.
When I was at St. Aidan’s Anglican Church as a clergy student, her family was there. Prior to Covid, I would run into her parents at various theater, dance, or music events around the city. So there’s that bit of a connection to one of the performers that I like to have that when I go to shows.
While both shows are examples of contemporary dance. Pull Yourself Together is different in that all three performers are on the stage at the same time and the dance movements. A lot of them are much more sort of recognizable. They also throw in some pop dance moves as part of the show.
Pull Yourself Together, Joy and Summer
The first big dance number in Pull Yourself Together is done to a song of the same name. The song is a catchy 60s girl group kind of song. The dancing really catches this sense of fun. Each dancer, wielding a tube of lipstick, gives an infectious performance that captures the pure joy of self-discovery.
The dancers feel empowered, and show off their strength. You get the feeling that anything is possible with the right tube of lipstick. Well, lipstick and good friends.
From there, the show slowly, but surely, transforms. There’s a delightful bit involving the naming of different lipstick shades. As it comes to its conclusion you realize lipstick may not bring all one could hope for.
The mood really shifts after this dance. The enthusiasm flags. You get a real sense of the dancers being pulled apart from each other. If, at the beginning of the show anything feels possible, now it all feels difficult. The lipstick becomes more master than servant.
Fortunately, the show doesn’t end on that note. The ending is low key, but offers a powerful glimpse into providing support for one another.