Christy Funsch, Artistic Director, Funsch Dance Experience
Co-choreographer, Golden Bull
I don’t think it is possible to try and advance ways of seeing gender (or seeing anything) while staying within patriarchal confines of formalism. If WHAT is foregrounded–that is, basic body action—instead of HOW and WHY, we are doomed to repeat presentational clichés of identity. This is especially true in what I call homogeneous casting. Further, works that culminate in ecstatic group unison, as if we are in a Disney fairy tale and the formula for happiness and closure is dependent merely upon cathartic athleticism, preclude us from having divergent, imaginative perceptions of systems and identity (gender included).
In our 2018 work Golden Bull, my collaborative partner Nol Simonse and I recruited an age-and-ethnically-diverse cast of five men to plumb embodiments of femininity in a container that held ritual and performativity in equal regard. We knew from the onset we wanted partnering pairs that did not leverage aggression as impetus for physicality. We knew we wanted to have the performers in the space prior to the audience entering as a way to claim power over the presentational. We knew we wanted trajectory that began in unison but dissolved into individuation and an intentional lack of closure. We knew we wanted a direct address that broke the fourth wall that had as its content, vulnerability. To the extent that we were “successful” is of course open to public debate, and we remain receptive to feedback. For us, creating dances is a micro-building of a/the world as we want it to be, and Golden Bull is one of our attempts at scripting a more inclusive, just world.