Panel: Privatizing and Publicizing Gender: An Intimate Dialogue into Private Places

15 Sep 2012
15:00:00 - 17:00:00
Live Arts Studio

Photo of dancers Maya Johnson, Gabrielle Revlock (shadowed), Jumatatu Poe (shadowed), and Gregory Holt; taken by Tayarisha Poe

Join J-Setting choreographic collaborators, Donte Beacham and LaKendrick Davis, and other talkative friends as they dialogue about privatizing and publicizing gender with conversational ringleader, Lela Aisha Jones.

What happens when J-Sette meets idiosynCrazy productions? We begin a bodily dialogue about gender shifting, status, appropriation, commodity, capitalization, and self-discovery. J-Sette is a form of social dance practiced in southern portions of the US that is inspired by the majorette dancers in historically Black college and university (HBCU) band settings. The popularization of this dance form has been enhanced by male J-Setters, whose dance takes place outside of the stadium setting, in gay clubs and pride parades, as well as competitions exclusively centered around J-Sette performance. Although mostly practiced in the privacy and safety of gay social and community events, it is now a phenomenon of underground pop culture and the choreography from J-Setters is sought out by some of our biggest stars, including Beyonce. J-Setters perform movement and wear band majorette costumes that in the past have been designed and designated for women. The thrust in the pelvis, quick whips in the hips, and free flowing torsos that surface in the night club glow of glistening bodies is enough to make many folks forget their own traditional ideas of gender and respect the sheer grace of it all. From this stunning instance of gender attire and embodiment shifting in festive, entertainment environments emerges a series of questions.

What is gender? What does it mean that some of our popular ideas of the sexy female body are emerging from gay male communities and then being emulated by women? When do we deem it socially acceptable for women to dress like men or men to move like women? Is dance on formal and communal stages a site exempt from traditionalized gender roles? How do we decide what is private and public in terms of gender shifting and variance? This intimate dialogue will focus on gender as a place of potentials and limitations in the process of self-discovery as well as question closely how we experience and perform gender in relationship to our own cultural realities. How much of a woman or man are you and why? We welcome you to join us and share your stories of gender as a place of self defining and discovery.

Warning: Attendees may experience side effects of unexpected emotion, delight, misrepresentation, gender freedom and unconscious bias.

Live Arts Studio
919 North 5th St.
Philadelphia, PA