‘Why?’ (2021)

‘Why?’ is both a tender and exhilarating aerial duet exploring themes of life, loss, surrender and acceptance in a soft and moving way. 

The piece offers a visceral experience for its audiences that not only legitimises the emotional one but creates space for the viewer to bring their own understanding to it, triggering a resonance, not dictating their experience.

Performed in two parts, ‘Why?’ uses climbing harnesses and abseil lines to dance on a bespoke free-standing wall – ‘vertical dance’.

In light of the recent pandemic and a collective grieving, ‘Why?’ feels more relevant than ever. How do we each pass through these experiences and how do these experiences pass through, affect and change us?

Content Warning: This performance considers themes of life, loss, surrender and acceptance in a soft, moving way.

“A tour de force of aerial performance, delivering emotional truth in every beat” Bradley Hemmings, Artistic Director Greenwich+Docklands International Festival

2021 Tour Dates
Brighton Festival – 30 May
Hat Fair, Winchester – 2 & 3 July
Kensington and Chelsea festival – 17 & 18 July
Refract Festival, Trafford  TBC – 24 & 25 July
Bell Square, Hounslow – 31 July
More dates coming soon
Why is available for touring from 2021 onwards. For more details please see the 2021 GravityLevity Why Tour Pack

Originally created in 2004, it formed the keystone for Gravity & Levity’s first full-length production which toured nationally in 2005. In 2019 the piece was re-imagined with the same creative team and cast 15 years on is and is performed to a powerfully haunting commissioned sound score, with spoken word interspersed throughout the piece.

Bringing together the original creative team, choreographer Fin Walker, composer Ben Park, performers Lee Clayden and Lindsey Butcher and lighting designer Lucy Carter. We didn’t simply remount the piece but chose to look afresh at what is available to us now that we couldn’t have grasped 15 years ago.

We’re thrilled with the resulting piece, it’s sharper, more articulate and has an emotional resonance wholly supported by Bens new sound score and the poetry of Ed Harris.

‘Why?’ was originally commissioned by ROH2 after winning the Jerwood Circus Award.


‘…a fully formed work, presented with great control and technical ability by the two performers to a great score, this music catching and reflecting the shifting emotional arc of the work as the performers explored and crossed the limits of their own vertical circles.’ Bill Gee, Producer, IF Milton Keynes International Festival, Inside Out Dorset Festival, Bloomsbury Festival

‘At a time when the mere sight of two people touching in any context can be a challenging proposition, Gravity & Levity’s work proves to be both engaging, sensitive, and timely… as an aerial piece, audiences are able to watch and engage with ‘Why?’ from a distance and in separation – both helpful for programmers, and curiously reflective of the content.’ Angus MacKechnie, Executive Director, Outdoor Arts UK

Image and video credit: Mark Morreau