In Macho Dancer you explore the economically motivated language of seduction, focusing on the erotization of the dancing body. Can you tell about your urgency behind and motivation for making this work?
I started conceptualizing Macho Dancer in 2011, in response to my feminine movement formation in classical ballet (from 7yrs to 14yrs old) and pole dancing (from 19yrs old first as a student, then as a teacher and a performer). I had finished two works around the subject of pole dancing: Stainless Borders and Death of the Pole Dancers. I felt the subject that I was trying to unpack was eventually packing me in. And so with learning Macho dancing which is at the opposite end of gender performativity in the sex work industry, I wanted to further challenge my own formation as a middle-class woman artist in Philippine society, as well as to hijack art/dance institutions and its standardized western dance bodies and art products.
Macho dances are a unique phenomenon in the Philippines. Male dancers perform macho dances for all genders. How is it for you to work with this dance? What does it do to your body and physicality?
I could speak at length about the infinite ways that macho dancing has and continues to widen my perspective and physicality. For brevity I will focus on what I found most fascinating in the process of learning macho dancing; it is the friction and negotiation of the new movement vocabulary (macho dance) with what I was fluent in then (ballet and pole dancing). From a body steeped in training to achieve illusions of flight, weightlessness, length, grace, and ideal female desirability to learning and training for the opposite; illusions of weight, being grounded, volume, solidity, and the ideal male desirability. With almost 10 years of practice and performing, principles of macho dancing have been digested, transformed, and embedded more deeply. I am sensually rooted and grounded in my body, in my guts, muscles, sinews, and bones.
Your body of work in general explores the politics of Filipino labour. Where does the necessity for you comes from to continue investigating and working on this subject?
I am Filipino and I question, make visible, and infiltrate the conditioning of our bodies to serve the demands of the patriarchal hyper-capitalist world order.