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Participants' reflections on 22 Sept

Real men revival
A commentary on Granhøj Dans: Men & Mahler

A tendency to take men for the subject of a performance is problematic already by its definition. It postulates masculinity as a category that can be generalized, seized and represented. What was said and danced about men did not exceed in any sense the category of „taken for granted popular truths“, on the other hand it reproduced them. Popular truths take part of quite a tricky communication system : they are openly politically non-correct, popular and wide spread; usually positioned into a familiar banter-like context instead of a hostile attack: they seem harmless.

The creators of the performance decided to search for such a material on the internet and to use it as a funny element that would humanize the mostly dramatic and noble character of the choreographies. For some reason it did not work. It is useless to mention all the sexist and vulgar examples of the cheap humor on the stage : it must have been difficult not to remark them. But this does not apply to the textual component only. The choreographies themselves were composed quite phallocentrically (the strongest man rising from the middle of the human sculpture synchronically with the graduating Mahlerʼs music, chaps testing their strength or drooling over an apple offered by a women...). Perhaps the subtle smooth solos were supposed to counterbalance the flagrant one-sideness. But isnʼt this a weak argument? Why should there be a contradiction between being a man and moving smoothly? Does not this construction reinforce the principles and hierarchies of the normative identities?

Eight dancers and a singer on the stage are very spectacular by the simple fact of their presence. Was it really necessary to display their bodies and beauty by means of a raree show? The movement qualities and technical acquirement of the dancers which were really remarkable. Thus it is even more pity that there was not a chance to see any of them on the stage; only the samples of the men from the category of the men.

Ivana Rumanova


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