Image by Giannina Ottiker

Macho Dancer

Eisa Jocson

Macho Dancing is performed by young men in nightclubs for male as well as female clients. Macho Dancing with its specific movement vocabulary and physicality seems to be a Philippine phenomenon. It is an economically motivated language of seduction, using notions of masculinity as body capital.

Macho Dancer is a solo piece of a woman performing a macho dance. Her becoming a macho dancer challenges our perception of sexuality and questions gender as a tool for social mobility:

The macho dancer through his practice is pushed into a marginal, weak position in society. However the image that a macho dancer simulates is that of a strong male. The woman performing a macho dance assimilates that role of a strong male, and with transgressing gender; the performer also seems to change her social status. Nevertheless, since she engages in that marginal practice that is macho dance she remains vulnerable, weak, just like the social status of an objectified woman. The performance thus generates a “gender loop” in which performer and audience are entangled.

The very act of this woman performing a gender loop veers attention towards her body as a product. By emulating and simulating the Macho Dancer, she investigates social, cultural, and economical conditions that ultimately unveil this perfect, normative body as a constructed body.

“He realizes his potential, and exercises his individual empowerment, only to return the following night. Desire and performance of social mobility, after all, are only posed in simulation. In gay bars, as in the Philippine nation, real mobility is evasive, restricted, and temporary. Yet every night, the desire and the performance of social mobility are reenacted. -Rolando B. Tolentino, Macho Dancing, the Feminization of Labor, and Neoliberalism in the Philippines

Credits Concept, Choreography, and Performance: Eisa Jocson Light Design: Jan Maertens Music composition: Lina Lapelyte Coach: Rasa Alksnyte Dramaturgical advice: Arco Renz Technical Manager: Yap Seok Hui Songs: Devil’s Dance by Metallica, Total Eclipse Of The Heart by Boney Tyler, Pagbigyang Muli by Erik Santos, Careless Whisper by Wham!

Co-production: Workspacebrussels, Beursschouwburg Residency and support: Workspacebrussels, Beursschouwburg, Wpzimmer

From Fusebox Eisa is a powerhouse. Her performances are charged. Electric. Political. Her work is so embodied, so present in the room, it’s hard to do anything else but engage with her. And then we all become implicated and part of the show in a really interesting way. It’s exciting, immediate, uncomfortable, and complex. We are artfully reminded that the politics in play are not separate from us, as she explores the labour and representations of the body in the service and entertainment business.

You might also like: