Charlie Dando in The Gender Project, Iteration 1: Masculinity in Males
One of the most front-of-mind questions in my current research is the intersection of dance and LGBTQIA+ and gender studies. Part of that research is exploring how gender and sexual identity influence our experiences within the context of dance: as a performer, creator, director, administrator, and consumer of dance. Why is movement assigned gender roles? Who gets to decide how its assigned? What does it mean to perform gender, to perform queerness, to perform straightness? How does the perception of our own gender and sexuality effect how we navigate through the world of dance?
For this specific project, The Gender Project, Iteration 1: Masculinity in Males, I worked with four individuals that come to dance from varying backgrounds and experience. I chose to focus on questioning the concept of masculinity within the context of identifying as male and just allowed their sexual orientations to exist in that space. It felt important to let their individuality shine through while being confined to movement tasks and choreography as a way to accurately observe how they naturally embody and interpret direction. The performative aspect of gender is very much a part of this particular project, and my research as a whole, but I’m still developing the best ways to interpret and synthesize what I observe.
This is just the beginning of a much larger research project. I look forward to delving deeper into the ideas I’m just starting to develop. In the iterations to come I hope to explore some of the same questions I posed in Masculinity in Males within the context of femininity and feminism, trans and non-binary expressions of gender, roles within homosexual and heterosexual partnerships, and many other variants.
I have to give a shout out to Charlie Dando, Forrest Hershey, Ishmael Konney, and Jordan Spayd for being part of this project. They were all so very generous in their movement and performance. I appreciate how open and willing they were to go on this little journey with me and just be in the moment. As I continue to develop this idea and research I hope they continue to be part of the process and products; they are inspiration embodied.