friend is a performance for a non-professional dancer to present in their home to an audience of only their friends. The fixed score, made up of distinct components, comes together into a 30-minute choreography which playfully folds the performer and their performance into cultural history. Rather than asking the performers to talk about their lives, friend is a form of portraiture that allows the audience to see their dear one completely anew, invoking the strange potentialities of contemporary dance to tenderly invite the friends to see and be seen in a novel way. It involves iconic post-modern American dance performance Trio A, two versions of I Will Always Love You, karaoke, and a small but effective smoke machine. It gestures to existing practices of domestic performance (beatnik poetry recitals, children’s pop concerts) whilst creating the context for introducing performers and audience alike to the skill and joy of watching contemporary dance through a series of carefully-designed discussion prompts over a shared post-show meal. It is craftful, ridiculous, and very very friendly.

friend has been supported by Arts Council England to undertake a further eighteen performances in 2023-4 in Crawley, Gateshead, Hastings and across the Midlands.


Supported by Arts Council England through Project Grants as well as residency, financial, and producing support from Dance4 and Yorkshire Dance.

Choreographer Gillie Kleiman

Performers (pilot) Cathy Brady, Tony Ross, Myra Rowland

Producer Beckie Darlington


A pilot of friend took place in August 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, Leeds, and Nottingham (UK).

Documentation available on request.