ERASGA/Complot Global Dance Connections Series
Choreographed and performed by Alvin Erasga Tolentino and Martin Inthamoussú
Scotiabank Dance Centre
On Friday in Vancouver
The object of the Global Dance Connections series is to bring artists of diverse cultures together to stimulate creativity. And so the twinning of Alvin Erasga Tolentino and Martin Inthamoussú is a match made in heaven.
Tolentino is a veteran Vancouver choreographer of Filipino background, while Inthamoussú is Uruguayan and spends part of each year working in Germany.
The men both choreographed and performed the delightful EXpose,a coming-out celebration of homosexuality and gender politics.
In fact, the men are exposed from the very start because both are onstage as the audience comes in. The audience is also exposed, as it were, because the space has been configured with seats on both sides and the dance in the middle.
There are three other characters in the work - Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, who appear in film clips from All About Eve, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Some Like It Hot. Dialogue from these iconic movies is purloined by Tolentino and Inthamoussú as part of their text to expose their feminine side.
The Tolentino character seems to be more comfortable in his gay skin than Inthamoussú, who defiantly announces his gayness at the beginning of the piece. Then Inthamoussú relates what happened when he told his mother and his best female friend he was gay. One laugh-out-loud section is a video that re-enacts these stories, with Tolentino playing both mother and friend in suitable wigs and dresses.
Tolentino's female role-playing is a key to EXpose's message that it is perfectly acceptable for men to show their feminine side. The physical metaphor is stiletto heels, which play a prominent role in the piece.
The choreography is filled with sexual images. The two men initially perform as individuals, and both choreographies, while very different, convey urges and longings. For Tolentino it's through gestures, such as caressing his face and body. The movement for Inthamoussú is not so overtly sexual, but his slow spins and muscle isolations radiate tension.
The latter part of the piece brings the two men together. They embrace and they fight. They are in competition and they are supportive. The finale is absolutely stunning, as the dancers ritually dress themselves in formal male attire - suits and ties - and then put on bright red stilettos. Priceless.
Mark Stewart's original electronica score is suitably evocative of an emotional roller coaster, but the use of perfectly timed, well-known songs - Moon River, Bridge Over Troubled Water and Non, je ne regrette rien - gilds the lily.
The piece is to be shown in Uruguay and Germany in the fall. Let's hope EXpose also crosses Canada.