This Ain’t No Pussy Show – Dancer Kate Harman Has Questions

  • Written by 
  • Monday, 06 September 2021 10:57
Published in Arts  
'This Ain't No Pussy Show' 'This Ain't No Pussy Show' Image © ArtWork Agency

Dancer Kate Harman is on her way to pick her son up from school.


“He’s now in grade two,” she says. “He loves ‘Frozen’ and his favourite colour is pink, but as soon as he goes to school his favourite colour is black. He isn’t into boys stuff, but then he started being like, ‘I need boys stuff’. Watching this change happen around him and him really identifying with all of the boy stuff, it’s an indoctrination of him, in a way.”

Watching her son navigate growing up as a boy inspired the Gold Coast-based dancer’s new show, ‘This Ain’t No Pussy Show’. The work will make its debut at this year’s Brisbane Festival, where she and fellow dancer Toby Angus will explore and deconstruct gender roles in contemporary society. “It’s a big subject, so we don’t pussyfoot around,” she laughs.

Kate is a creator of exciting works within the dance theatre field. As part of last year’s Brisbane Festival, within the collective The Farm, she performed in ‘Throttle’, an immersive dance experience inspired by horror films that was performed at the Brisbane Showgrounds among the audience’s parked cars. She has also explored gender in her other works, including with Regurgitator’s Ben Ely in the show ‘Depthless’, which examined the idea of the female muse being gazed upon but never having a voice.

“It must be my own discord in myself because I was such a tomboy, but I did ballet; it’s two different worlds,” she says. “Dance has this ability to express things that words can confine. With dance, we can express multiple things at once, which is what we are as humans.”

In the show, Kate performs alongside Toby Angus. Kate has known Toby since he was 7, eventually teaching him to dance when he was 12. The pair have been developing the show since he was 14, now finally performing it 3 years later.

pussyshow Bris Fest

“So much has changed for Toby in that time,” she says. “The piece kind of tracks his evolution from a 13-year-old to now. Like, he used to be really into rap music, and now he’s this gorgeous 16-year-old who is skating and plays Tracy Chapman on the guitar. Watching him navigate the world over these three years let me see how he thinks about things and how that evolves.”

Many of Toby’s teenage hobbies and habits are incorporated into the show: he skateboards, thrashes to Rage Against The Machine, and has what Kate calls ‘a dance nap’. But the show has also provided her with the chance to examine her own relationship with masculinity, and whether her mothering helps enforce the patriarchy, making for a complex piece of theatre that will surely be a revelation to the audience.

“My son is a crier, he hurts himself and he’ll get upset, which is fine, but there’s a part of me that’s like, ‘Don’t do that! You’re going to get picked on’. The show is Toby and I paying witness to that and being vulnerable enough in our flaws in the complexity of trying to navigate this while being a parent or a child. . . And sharing that with people by being in that vulnerable state and allowing others to see themselves in that way, because if we start seeing ourselves, we can make change.”

‘This Ain’t No Pussy Show’ plays Metro Arts, 16-18 September.

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