Juan Carlos Claudio
Tags: art/music, bodies, gender, sex/sexuality, social construction, dance, masculinity, performance, subtitles/CC, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: This video features a dance piece entitled "The One & The Other," and is part of the graduate thesis of choreographer Juan Carlos Claudio (performing here with Graham Brown). In the piece, Claudio explores issues of masculinity and male-male friendships. He writes in his thesis: "The One & The Other came from a desire to portray the process of developing a healthy male relationship in which traits of masculinity and femininity are fully realized and expressed without fear or judgment. In presenting an example of this relationship I hoped to: 1) Challenge the old-fashioned rules of masculinity and the assumptions of male superiority, so that men could live happier and more fulfilled lives; 2) Expand men’s personal and emotional selves by helping them expose and realize their fears of close affection toward other men; and 3) Understand how men can create more genuine friendships by overcoming competitiveness, inexpressiveness, and other aspects of traditional masculine roles." This piece is not set to music. If you turn the volume up high you can hear the sounds of breathing and bodies in motion. After showing this performance in class, I ask students to discuss their emotional or visceral responses; they often say that it made them feel uncomfortable. This sets up a discussion of our social expectations of performances of masculinity, and can segue into a discussion of how we connect gender performance to ideas about sexuality. I ask the students to honestly assess whether they made assumptions about the sexuality of the performers based on their movements and interactions, and what led them to these assumptions. The video can also be used as an introduction to why bodies matter—I often ask students if they would feel more comfortable if it were two women dancers, or a male-female couple, and how their interpretations of certain movement sequences might be altered.
Submitted By: Michelle Sandhoff
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