Approaching the erotic body in performance
This series of intimate workshops is concerned with how performers have and do approach erotic and explicit performance. It attempts to comprehend the erotic performers’ entanglement in Western discourses of empowerment, ownership, sexism, and even abuse and their role as a site for staging subversion, resistance, illusions, value, social commentary and corporeality.
The structure of the course is a striptease. Gradually students peel away layers, questioning and reflecting as they progress from vintage frills to the naked erotic body. Each session will be a mixture of lecture, discussion and practice, and guest teachers will be invited to teach and share performance experience and technique with the students throughout. This project stands at the intersections of queer theory, performance studies, gender and sexuality studies, comedy studies and entertainment studies.
Key thinkers whose work we will use to think through the erotic body are: Elizabeth Grosz (1994); Catherine Walby (1995); Rachel Shteir (2004); Brian McNair (2002); Katherine Leipe-Levinson (2002); Robert C. Allen (1991); Fiona Attwood (2009); Katherine Frank (2002, 2006); Bataille (2006) and Merleau-Ponty (2002).
1. Imagining the body glorious: Ziegfeld, the Minskys, Silhouettes and Circus performers; catwalks, lights, fabrics and rhinestones.
2. Mastery of dancing sexy: the strip and tease, fan, peel, bump and the grind; tempos; timing; gesture and the gaze.
3. Burlesque (striptease): juxtaposition as a mode for comment making, with Lydia Thompson and Gypsy Rose Lee.
4. Lap dancing: performing intimate micro-body narratives and tangible value.
5. Pole dance: the Stripper chic and constructing muscles of desire.
6. Explicit body performance: the body as a site for bio-terrorism, with Rose Wood
Students will shape an act and perform in a final show in a cabaret space. They will demonstrate understandings of current discourses around the body and erotic bodies and will be able to question and make performance interventions into these discourses.