i was lost in the beauty Jan 24, 2014

by Joyce S.C. Liao

The piece was a minimalist in its expression of emotions floating in the ampleness of physicality. In some way I felt it was an idealized world of perfect young bodies, yet it never lost its openness to emotional vulnerabilities – like a delicate bubble of dreams, one second everyone was beautiful, healthy, and wild, and the next second nothing felt much real and the party became emptiness walking in high heels. 

In my mind it was why it was called *Usually Beauty Fails* but it felt totally like the piece was from the lance of a male artist. There were 4 males and 4 females on the stage, there was a lot of singing and talking, but I never heard any female voice throughout the show. The female dancers didn’t even have too much direct arm movements! (sorry I just have to get this out….., since I interpret this piece to be surrounding the subjects of love, sex, and relationships. The actor said, “I am a little nervous in the beginning of a party…. since you just met a new girl… and you don’t really know how she will behave in the society until later…” Even though this can be true, the guy was cute, and this might be a compliment on his date, I didn’t feel comfortable not hearing any spoken word from the girls’ point of view after the actor said that.

However, it was probably only my personal censorship. The piece felt raw, physical, dreamily elegant, and in the same time emotionally vulnerable – in the best sense. It makes me question myself: What does physicality mean to me as a dancer? Why do we say no to physicality? Physicality is not contrast to intellect; being physical doesn’t mean the performer does so in order to become spectacles (or maybe they do); being physical can be a way to reveal inner emotions and not being an hamper to self-awareness; what is the relationship between being sensual and being physical; and so on………………………  

The artists are daring to pursue their own way of sexuality. It was not like: Okay – we’ve got this 3-minute slot in the piece where we want you to be explosively sexy, but for the other parts, we want to also be really well contained, and very thought through, so we are showing the audience both our sexuality and our reasonability in the perfect balance. It is NOT about keeping the balance!! These artists do what they feel, and they do what they want. It was not about being correct, or decent, or feminist. They hoped you would like them (and you could certainly feel their willingness to connect with the audience), but they don’t do something in order for you to like them. They don’t do something in order to look sexy; they don’t do something in order to look intelligent. They are raw, fresh, and honest, and that’s why I like them.