With her solo show THE PRESSING, dancer and choreographer Dani Brown explores the expressive possibilities of one of the most anatomically and socially complex organs, the vulva. Brown addresses a current feminist tendency to portray the vulva, not just as a female sexual organ, but as an empowering and creative mediator of (female) self-reliance and self-contained strength. A cunt monologue, a personal memory, two mirrors and a naked female body with a covered head are the starting materials for this journey into the sultry, endless darkness of the (bodily) interior.
Brown’s vulva will actively help to shape the dance piece as a performer and director, dialogue partner, diva and psychic. Together, they create a world of speculation, belief, queer narrative, and a solo performance that surpasses one’s own self. The individual scenes will be developed in improvisations in which Brown deliberately asks her cunt questions and reacts to her answers. The intracellular movements, as well as the needs of this organ, are placed in the center of the creative process. THE PRESSING explores the subtle, fluid, swelling, warm and sweaty minefield of the invisible activity of neurotransmitters, hormones and body tissues. Working with a body practice based on the long held poses of Yin Yoga, Brown is looking for movement material that transforms the self-determined surrendering, sinking in and letting happen, into strength. A similar sensual richness and aesthetic fullness with reference to the decay and passing of time can be found in the Vanitas still life painting genre, which will be used as an aesthetic reference for the set design.
Brown stages her performance practice of morphing – a virtuoso expressivity through spontaneous and precise embodiments – in a sensual-explicit world of her own. Sharing the stage with her vulva, butterflies, withering flower arrangements, and juicy fruits, Brown creates a permanently transforming space of imagination. Brown’s performance will be accompanied by the immersive live music of her longtime collaboration partner, Justin F. Kennedy.
Dani Brown has been a performance artist for more than 20 years. At the center of her practice is the representation of the the femme queer body within the context of the incessant, male-dominated, collective effort to categorize and ascribe meaning onto the very essence of the femme – a place we all come from, a source of life, a bleeding elasticity, a constant flux, ever morphing and ungraspable. Her work simultaneously provokes the gaze while defying categorization, as she slips beyond the grasp of any ownership, pinning down, or possesion of the femme body. She embodies encounters that always flee the totality of sameness – an encounter that is always a place of otherness.
Photo: Daniel K.B. Schmidt