Gender: a combination of body and self or a social construct? In Too Far Again, Not Far Enough and Agile, the two parts of Reassessment, choreographer Daniel Jaber explores gender and sexuality through the marriage of movement, sound, video and text.
It’s a beautiful step away from homogeny, and one which challenges the audience to reconfigure their own pre-conceived ideas about the binary (or not-so-binary) system.
The first work, Too Far Again, Not Far Enough, looks at that which exists beneath the actions we assume to be “worthy”. Jaber’s search for self becomes more than the movements of the dancer – “What you can do isn’t what you are.” And what he does is provocative – self-flagellation, convulsion, precision, contraction and exposure – while the text describes the instability of painting an accurate picture of the self.
Agile describes the perverse aesthetic of the classical pas de deux, the female dancer a representation of penis, a homoerotic vision for the male. Performed brilliantly by Alexander Bryce, Madeline Edwards, Kialea-Nadine Williams and Kimball Wong, it questions the initial concept of male/female partnerships in classical ballet, the ornamental use of gender and the nullifying effect of ballet as a decorative art.
Jaber’s work is confrontational yet poignant, executed with a poetic ferocity reminiscent of Lloyd Newson’s DV8. It will be a pleasure to watch his growth at the helm of Leigh Warren Dance in the coming years.
Reassessment – A Double Bill, by Daniel Jaber, is being presented at the Space Theatre until August 9.
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