Photo by Giannina Ottiker 2012
Macho Dancing is performed by young men in nightclubs for male as well as female clients. Its specific movement vocabulary and physicality seem to be a Philippine phenomenon. It is an economically motivated language of seduction, using notions of masculinity as body capital. Macho Dancer is a solo piece of a woman performing a macho dance. Her becoming a macho dancer challenges our perception of sexuality and questions gender as a tool for social mobility. The performance generates a “gender loop” in which performer and audience are entangled, and the very act of this woman performing a gender loop veers attention towards her body as a product.
Concept, Choreography and Performance: Eisa Jocson
Light Design: Jan Maertens
Music composition: Lina Lapelyte
Coach: Rasa Alksnyte
Dramaturgical advice: Arco Renz
Co-production: Workspacebrussels, Beursschouwburg
Residency and support: Workspacebrussels, Beursschouwburg, Wpzimmer
Photo by Adjani Arumpac
Eisa Jocson is a contemporary choreographer and dancer from the Philippines. Trained as a visual artist, with a background in ballet, she won her first pole-dancing competition in Manila in 2010, and started pole “tagging” and other public interventions in Manhattan and various cities. Under successive residencies in Belgium (at FoAM, STUK, Nadine, Workspacebrussels, Wpzimmers), Eisa developed an artistic praxis that questions the stereotype and context of the female pole dancer. Her solo Death of the Pole Dancer (commissioned by In Transit Festival 2011 in Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin) toured to Beurrschouwburg (Brussels), Theater Spektakel (Zurich), Tanzquartier (Vienna), Exodos Festival (Ljubljana), Dampfzentrale (Bern), Antigel Festival (Geneva), Ai-Hall (Osaka) and Le Phare Centre Choregraphique National (Le Havre).
Eisa then trained in “macho dancing”, a popular night-club entertainment form, and premiered Macho Dancer in spring 2013 at Beurrshouwburg, co-produced by Workspacebrussels, Beursschouwburg (Brussels) with support from Wpzimmers (Antwerp). This solo creation has toured in Impulstanz (Vienna), Nooderzon (Groningen), Tanz im August (Berlin), Theater Spektakel (Zurich), Queer New York Arts Festival (NYC), Mousonturm (Frankfurt), Dampfzentrale (Bern), Antigel Festival (Geneva), Queer Zagreb, Le Phare Centre Choregraphique National (Le Havre) and in Theater der Welt (Mannheim).
From pole to macho dancing, Eisa investigates the labour and representations of the dancing body in the service industry, and exposes gender formation, seduction politics, and Filipino social mobility. Her next work will uncover the world of “Japayuki” – the foreign entertainers hired from the Philippines to perform for the pleasure of “salary-men” in clubs throughout Japan.