„Before i went to New York to find out more about VOGUING and to study voguing i was already voguing. Through a conversation with my boyfriend who is from New York and who is very aware of a lot of guy and queer things, he told me i should watch this documentary …
… so maybe it would be interesting for me to go to New York.. i was showing him videos of me in the studio and he saw already that what i was doing was VOGUING actually in a big way.“
Voguing became an identifiable source for Gerard. A source to lern more about the things he was interested in. Projection of self image and playing with the own identity which includes playing with gender and gender expectations.
Growing up in a latino, very macho family as a gay man he became more interested in all the things he was not allowed to be as a child..
„I also became more and more inspired by female strippers dance.“
He was inspired by vogue balls, strip clubs, fetish parties .. He was also inspired by transgender and the curiosity to better understand trans people and their experiences not being either male or female. We live in a world that is predominantly structured. Bathrooms that are male and female, clothes that are male and female. We idendify people as she and he. Transe people don’t fit into that binary.
Questions came up …
Questions about giving yourself a permission to behave in a different way, than in the way the society wants you to behave. This is not just for a man or a woman, this is also for a dancer because male dancers just like female dancers are expected to behave in a certain way. There are codes. If you ever trained ballet the most clear codes are these archetypes of the prince and the princess.
Further questions came up..
„What was before i started this journey into choreography and exploring my own dance? What was i afraid of? What was i afraid of concerning these transe people? What was i not understanding?“
This exploration reminds Gerard about emancipating himself from that normative structure. Choosing how you wanna behave instead of allowing society to dictate „what is good, what is bad, what is wrong.“ it comes down to „what is my desire, what do i want“. This is also what he wants to inspire in other people.
„What do i want from my life right now, what do you want for your life?“
Through his choreography, through his teaching he hopes to represent OTHERNESS which can broadly defined. Anything, anybody that is not heteronormative.
Homophobia, racism, transphobia, misogyny, feeling bad about people with diasabilities, [..] all that creates discomfort. It takes a lot of consciousness to be able to see these patterns in our society. To be able to stop these patterns. Stop reproducing them as individuals and to create new ways of thinking about society and about individuals.
THE VOGUING PRACTICE AS A TEACHER
Gerard attempt is to see every student in his class as an individual, with an individual history, that he doesn’t understand, but that he‘s interested in and curious about. Overtime voguing has become more and more codified like there are moves associated with voguing. Especially for people who are not interested in competing at a vogue balls (most often called „walking„) it’s more about the discovery of their own body, the exploration about their behavior and their identity and hopefully all of this can build confidence and not just like a shower of confidence .. a very deep-seated confidence.
THE VOGUING PRACTICE AS A DANCER
..and than also in his performances he doesn‘t see the audience as ONE thing, one entitiy. It’s not. They are a lot of individuals.
This idea of individuals moves into the idea of limits. Personal limits. It’s about being in conversation with each individual. After proposing something it needs time to wait and see what the response is. And there are different responses in the audience. You can feel what the limits are in the room. For Gerard it’s important to look at these limits not as limits from a group. The idea is what kind of contact can i have with this person in the room. Potentially physical contact, but also psychological and more than just physical. It actually starts more from the mind. It’s more about what is the principal of pleasure? Is it linked to desire? And what are our individual desires? And than what is a mutual desire? If we have a mutual desire..
What Gerard hopes voguing can bring to the audience through the performances is appreciation for the dance style because there is a lot of ignorance as to what voguing is. Sometimes the only reference people have is Madonna but the video shows only a fraction and was 26 years ago.
Voguing has evolved.
Do 21.7. + Sa 23.7. 20:30