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Live Art Dance is excited to host Frédérick Gravel and collaborators, Dec 4-6, 2014 with Usually Beauty Fails, a searing and insightful look at human dynamics as influenced by the relatively new world of social media.
This work has been touring the world with great success, but not without a bit of controversy. Yes, there’s full frontal nudity from both genders, but it’s not so much this as it is the content that accompanies it. Using the ubiquitous presence of beauty/fashion/seduction/sex, Gravel’s proposition almost comes across as an antidote to the need to please.
Back in the summer, when we were looking for our primary marketing image for this show (yes, the one to the left) we polled friends and colleagues for reactions. Our concern was that people would find it offensive or it would resonate negatively with viewers. What we found was that, regardless of gender, those polled loved its downright cheekiness and all the metaphor and suggestive narrative contained within. Given the current media furor surrounding JG and violence against women, we have a heightened sensitivity to this image and have been second guessing our choice to use it. More polling for reactions, more discussion about content and intent.
One of the most interesting conversations I had revealed the layers present in Usually Beauty Fails. I was talking about the artist’s dislike of gender clichés and how his dancers – male and female – took turns being dominant, vulnerable, desired, and desiring. At this my colleague remarked on the contradiction inherent with this image, which itself presents a bit of a cliché. And therein lies point: Gravel is not trying to avoid clichés but to stimulate dialogue around them. in this Usually Beauty Fails is a jewel of provocation. It’ll make some people squeamish while thoroughly resonating with others.
Which camp will you find yourself in? There’s only one way to find out: join us December 4-6 at 8pm in the Sir James Dunn Theatre.