Esplanade Presents | da:ns festival


Macho Dancer and Corponomy

Eisa Jocson (Philippines)
2hr 15mins (including 30min intermission)
Esplanade Theatre Studio

Advisory 16: Recommended for age 16 years and above. Contains female upper body nudity and mature themes.

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One of Philippines' most provocative dance artists, Eisa Jocson explores gender, politics and power relations as seen through the unique socioeconomic lens of her native country. In this doublebill, audiences can experience one of her most iconic works, a transgressive gender-bending performance called Macho Dancer, followed by a performance lecture titled Corponomy, which reflects on Jocson’s conceptual and socially-informed practice.

Macho Dancer is inspired by a seductive dance form performed by young men in Manila nightclubs. In this internationally toured piece, Jocson embodies the exaggeratedly masculine and sexual vocabulary – slow gyrations, body undulations, bicep flexing – set to the tenor of power ballads. Here, she enacts what she calls a “gender loop”, where notions of desire and objectification play out back and forth between gender roles without easy resolution. Her strikingly androgynous dance was featured in electronic musician Peaches’ iconic music video for How Do You Like My Cut? (2016).

Corponomy, a new commission by the da:ns festival, is a performance lecture that reflects on all her works produced from 2009 to 2017, which are concerned with the representations of the dancing body and the production of fantasy in the service industry. Drawn from the artist’s personal archive of research material, they include investigations into the politics of pole dancing (Death Of The Pole Dancer, 2011), Filipino hostess culture in Japan (Host, 2015) and Filipino entertainers working in Disneyland (Princess, 2017; Your Highness, 2017).

Corponomy is commissioned by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay for da:ns festival.

About the Eisa Jocson
Born in the Philipines, Eisa Jocson was trained as a visual artist, with a background in ballet and pole dancing. Her first public art interventions started when she would climb up and 'tag' public flagpoles. Later, she expanded to investigating the social economics, mobility, and the gendered body in the entertainment industry. Her artistic practice involves embodying personae such as a pole dancer, a macho dancer, a Japanese hostess and a Disney princess. Poised between observing popular culture and subversive power relations, these works confront our perceptions of sexuality, gender formation and seduction politics. 

Her solo triptych of Death of the Pole Dancer (2011), Macho Dancer (2013) and Host (2015) were all commissioned and presented extensively in major contemporary dance festivals worldwide. The trilogy has been fully exhibited at LIVEWORKS festival in Sydney (2016) and Counterpulse festival & SF MOMA in San Francisco (2016).  Right after its premiere, Macho Dancer won the prestigious Zürcher Kantonalbank Acknowledgement Prize at the Zurich Theaterspektakel Festival in 2013.

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