Lilian’s vow is a video made by Rebecca Salvadori in dialogue with artist Lilian Nejatpour’s performance Choreophobia, investigating popular male dance practices in the Middle East which occurred in public up until 1979 before being criminalised in many places including Tehran. This dance practice is reimagined here with two female dancers, interwoven with sonic references reminiscent of Nejatpour’s upbringing in Northern England, and in particular the influence of Northern Bassline club culture. Though geographically distant, both cultures intersect through their respective dance practices, which occur in public.
Nejatpour commissioned Salvadori to produce a film in response to the performance and research. The result, Lilian’s vow, can be seen as a portrait of the relation between the two artists and a reflection on the possible dialogue between their individual practices. Salvadori creates a visual composition, which reflects the intimate movements of the dancers, using translations, audio recordings from Tehran and audience feedback. Working with a non-chronological layering of audio and footage, Salvadori centres language as a way to explore her collaborative dialogue with Nejatpour. Salvadori interweaves personal narratives, dialogue and text, with intimate and unobtrusive video footage, allowing for quiet, preparatory moments to juxtapose with the intense performance of the dancers. Lilian’s vow acts as portrait of shared experience, a declaration of a relationship, through the ebb and flow of moving bodies, moving words and moving languages.
The performance was co-choreographed with Eva Escrich González and Lauren Stewart and curated by Loren Elhili and Nora Almes from To Whom This May Concern collective.