Rosie Kay Dance Company: MK Ultra

Rosie Kay Dance Company presents MK Ultra Press Night and Performance Wednesday 5 April, 7.30 pm.

A new dance work inspired by the bizarre realm of pop culture, mind control conspiracies and Illuminati imagery.

Rosie Kay Dance Company, headed by artistic director and choreographer Rosie Kay and winner of Best Independent Company at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in 2015, will tour to York Theatre Royal with its new work MK ULTRA on 5 April for one performance only.

Rosie Kay is one of the UK’s leading female choreographers and is renowned for her athletic movement, rigorous research and intelligent theatricality. Kay, a research associate to the University of Oxford School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, choreographed the hit feature film Sunshine on Leith and is best known for the five star and award-winning 5 SOLDIERS.

Following several years exploring the weird world of conspiracy theories, inspired by the bizarre realm of pop culture, mind control and Illuminati imagery, MK ULTRA will bring a hypnotic, high energy, supercharged mash-up of dance, music and imagery to the stage.

Renowned for tackling important, pertinent and challenging subject matters, RKDC looks at a weird world of symbolism, hidden messages and occult signs and deconstructs it for an aware and an unaware audience.

MK ULTRA is a CIA code word for a real LSD fuelled brainwashing technique developed by the US military. Popular conspiracy theory believes that MK ULTRA is still active and programmes high profile public figures and celebrities such as pop stars Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Rhianna – puppets of the ‘Illuminati’, a shadowy elite intent on creating a New World Order of authoritarian world government.

In MK ULTRA, Kay, with a typically fearless eye, delves deeply into this world and conjures up something entirely new, subverting the subversive. If you didn’t know about the Illuminati, you soon will and if you did, expect MK ULTRA to shatter the Illuminati’s illusory control.

For MK ULTRA, Kay is reunited with the award winning 5 SOLDIERS creative team- composer Annie Mahtani (Asylum, Supernova and 5 SOLDIERS); set and video designer Louis Price (designs include: The Emperor, Young Vic/Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg; The Rotters Club, Birmingham Rep; Stravinsky: Tales, Philarmonia/RFH Southbank; The Etienne Sisters, Theatre Royal Stratford; The Funfair, HOME, Manchester and 5 SOLDIERS); lighting designer Mike Gunning (designs include: The Emperor, Inkheart, Romeo and Juliet, HOME, Manchester; Crime and Punishment, Moscow Musical Theater; The Drowned Man, Punch Drunk; Dangerous Lady, Theatre Royal Stratford East; The Second Mrs Tanqueray, The Rose Theatre Kingston; The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Alchemist, Everyman, Liverpool; and 5 SOLDIERS); and dramaturg Tessa Walker.

Marking his first design for contemporary dance is MK ULTRA’s costume designer Gary Card. A set designer, illustrator and one of London’s most talked about talents, Card has worked with pop stars such as Lady Gaga, designing props and headdresses for her Monster Ball tour. His clients have included Comme Des Garçons, Topshop, House of Holland, Nike, Adidas, Stella McCartney and Penguin.

Rosie Kay, artistic director of Rosie Kay Dance Company, said: “MK Ultra is the result of three years intense research, which have taken me through the world of surveillance, state police, torture and brainwashing, through to pop culture, mainstream media and celebrity breakdowns, all the way back to politics and a comment on the post-culturism state we are in now.

Spending time exploring the deep rabbit hole of conspiracy theory took me into strange realms of CIA brainwashing, celebrity training and Illuminati symbolism hidden in pop culture.  At a time when everything is fake, or at least we don’t trust what’s real any more, MK Ultra looks at what this world really feels like and what affect it is having on us, whether we know it or not.

I’m working with the most exciting team, which includes costume designer Gary Card who has worked with everyone from Stella McCartney to Lady Gaga. Long-time collaborators return with Louis Price doing set and video design, Annie Mahtani composing and adapting high produced pop, and Mike Gunning designing the lighting. Tessa Walker joins as dramaturg from Birmingham REP.

Be prepared for high-energy, high-octane dance, a mash up of dance styles, subliminal and secret messages, incredible video, light and costume visuals, music that wraps around your senses and a deeper, darker political edge. Be prepared, there is twerking.”

MK ULTRA will feature seven outstanding dancers- Shanelle Clemenson, Harriet Ellis, Shelley Eva Haden, Lizzie Klotz, Joao Maio, Ryan Munroe and Oliver Russell.

MK ULTRA is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and is commissioned by DanceXchange, Warwick Arts Centre & Birmingham Repertory Theatre.