alexandra bachzetsis - escape act
Pioneer Works presents the US premier of Alexandra Bachzetsis’ Escape Act, following its tour through Europe at venues such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris. A major new work, Escape Act marks the launch of a performance initiative at Pioneer Works that aims to support artists who work in between theater, visual art, sound, and choreography.
Escape Act begins with a dancer striking a series of poses. Their face, masked by black fabric, obscures their gender, though the dancer bears all the traditional signifiers of a woman: electric orange high heels, ponytail, a feminine, bodily shape. If Escape Act signifies anything though, it’s that signifiers can’t be trusted. Within the work, women disrobe to reveal that they’re men, only for the men to reveal themselves as women. Gender identities are represented as over-the-top, hyper-stereotypical, and unstable, as one shifts into another. The specter of ball culture and voguing looms over Bachzetsis’ choreography, as do strip clubs and—particularly—drag, in which sport is made of one identity “passing” for another.
We can think of passing as a kind of escape, or, as a call for action—a directive to take apart assigned, normative behaviors, as transgender theorist and activist Paul B. Preciado calls for in his poem Love is a drone, excerpts from which are spoken by Bachzetsis’ performers. In Escape Act, image is everything, and Bachzetsis defines it not as an ideal to aspire to, but a hegemony to dismantle.
This performance contains adult content.