Escape Act by Alexandra Bachzetsis, a brief review

Dark skinned athletic man with forearm and elbow resting head with his midsection balanced on a large qhite ball and cowboy-boot-clad legs.

alexandra_bachzetsis’ Escape Act, image (c) blommers and schumm 2020

Escape Act by Alexandra Bachzetsis was a movement-based deconstruction of conventional heteronormative behaviours. It was the kind of work I would expect to see in WoWmen! 2020 (a festival about gender, art and society). Dance, song, stage and costume held equal weight. Men disrobed to become women and women undressed to become men. Brussels seems to be so good at this sort of contemporary dance. This performance a development of a popular theme. Comprised of a series of loosely related sketches with swingeing transitions. Each piece was a deconstruction of gender-based preconceptions and conventional heteronormative behaviours.

Hyper-masculine gestures were owned by strong women dancers and hyper-feminine movements by men. The balance of gender fluidity and dancer individuality became individual stories or statements. The work was united by atmospheric music and song comprising highly pornographic lyrics. Sometimes the sounds seemed the perfect accompaniment. Other times, each word jarred. It was easy to see in this a metaphor for the unpredictable way that people see – and react to – gender. It will be interesting to see what the Bachzetsis team creates next.

WoWmen! 2020 was celebrated at Kaaitheater, Brussels, the week before International Women’s Day