In 1999, the Charleroi Dance Biennial structured its program around the notion of “gender,” for which Thierry Smits proposed a counterpoint to his earlier work Cyberchrist with this solo whose camp aesthetic explores artifice, femininity and extravagance.
The piece draws on fascinating and seductive contrasts that from the outset tare manifest in the dancer’s sheer physical presence, oscillating between femininity and masculinity through his angelic, made-up face and athletic body. The unsettling eclecticism of the somewhat kitschy and ironic evocations ranges from 1950s pin-ups to Japanese geishas. The performer’s trailing dress reinforces a sense strangeness to the awe, for it seems to be an extension of his undulating body and moreover offers the possibility of an unveiling that will expose a phallus.
Spanning Cyberchrist to Pin Up, Smit’s choreographic trajectory ultimately evolves toward disintegration by transcending the limits of life, on one hand, and reason, on the other.