Shrimp Dance began with conversations between dancer Paul Michael Henry and marine biologist Dr. Alex Ford. Ford had shown that Prozac levels in the rivers and coastal waters of the UK are now so high they’re affecting the behaviour of shrimp, with the creatures abandoning their dark habitat to swim up towards the light to be eaten by predators.
Henry describes it as “a great wave of human sadness sent out to sea”. Utilising Butoh dance theatre and self-composed music, Henry performs a hypnotic hour of dance drama. The themes explored are huge: ecological crisis, mental health and consumerism, yet the moves are minute and precise – the sheer range, expressiveness and emotional impact of these are a testament to Henry’s considerable skill.
Performed as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, it opens up conversations on how mental health and its treatment can have a wider global impact and how the arts can be an avenue through which these conversations can be generated.
Utterly compelling, the astonishingly talented Henry has much to say and hopefully the dialogue will continue.