Fine Arts

Can modern dance be gender neutral?
Answered by Brenda Way
  •  Brenda Way

    Brenda Way

  1. Brenda Way Founder and Artistic Director, Oberlin Dance Collective


    Well I think, fortunately, some of my initial fire around the issue of women's physical capacity has been absorbed by the culture, so it has evolved over time. In the early, days people said to me, "Well, are all your women gay?" Because they just assumed that that image of powerful women was not a heterosexual idea, even though, of course, that is completely contrary to -- I'm sure -- all of their personal experiences. But that's just an interesting thing and also part of the attempt to help people stop just operating off an image of art and include people in that so that there's a political underpinning to that.

    But I would say that who I choose as dancers is very much the message -- thank you, Marshall McLuhan. So if they're strong and powerful or round or tall or they dance beautifully with a much shorter man, there's definitely a political message in there. And the piece need not be about that at all, but we're affected by it. Well, it's the same thing with elegance of form. If you don't know that I'm doing a Fibonacci series as my time scheme, you can still understand that there's some elegant criteria going on there. You just don't know what it is.

    And you don't need to think about, it but it works on you. So I feel the same way about sexual politics in the work. It doesn't need to be about that, but it's there.

    More answers from Brenda Way »

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