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  • Writer's pictureSanjay Saverimuttu

A Preview of "Amid Exes and Whys"

Updated: Jan 26, 2019

Amid Exes and Whys premieres at Louisville Ballet's Choreographers Showcase Jan 31-Feb 2, 2019 at 849 South 3rd St. This work will run at 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30 pm (2:30, 3:30, and 4:30 for the Sat. matinee).

Amid Exes and Whys is a new contemporary ballet that explores how our ability to embrace our true identities affects our love and dependency in relationships. Everyday as dancers we stare at ourselves in the mirror. We're rarely mystified as audiences are by the beauty our bodies create. Instead, we are steadfast in fixing the tiniest flaws to get one more step closer to perfection. This character flaw isn’t reserved for dancers. We all stand in front of our bedroom mirrors wishing we’d lose that fat on our hips. We can always go for a little more muscle definition. We degrade ourselves because we aren’t attractive enough. We analyze what little changes we can make to pass by and “be normal.” All these insecurities build internally and we either seek a relationship that can release us from them, or ultimately our relationships suffer when the insecurities take over.

Me with dancer, Rob Morrow, in rehearsal for Sea Change (2015). Photo by Sam English

This will be my third work on the theme of gender; I intend to create a work that takes a more internal and introspective look on our views of gender. In my previous work “Sea Change” I explored the contrasting elements of masculine and feminine energy and what that looks like on varying bodies. “And Don’t Talk About It” explored the dangerous depths of toxic masculinity and the violent behavior it manifests. In collaboration with visual artist, Jake Ford, we will create a space where we ask the dancers and audience to self reflect and analyze how they see and want to see themselves. Represented by two couples that are mirror imaged and gender swapped, we’ll explore the boundaries of strength and dependency the human body can experience. A structure will separate these two couples, a symbol of the division of their reflections but also of the binaries in society we seek to dismantle.

Music selections by artists Christine and the Queens, Antony and the Johnsons, and Fanny Mendelssohn are a deliberate choice to embrace a wide range of gender and sexual identity. The art form of ballet is highly gendered and this work seeks to tear down those divisions and open the space for queer and trans folx to feel welcome and seen. Ultimately the themes of self-acceptance and love are universal, and those themes will fuel the emotional through line of the work. This work will create a safe space for audiences to learn, relate, and expand their scope of understanding. I invite audiences to be empowered to action and support causes that will make a difference in the world. Suicide prevention, queer and trans health and support systems, and body dysmorphia are just some of those causes, but ultimately it is about moving towards a culture that supports various identities.

You can check out the world premiere of Amid Exes and Whys at Louisville Ballet's Choreographers Showcase. Shows run from Jan 31-Feb 2, 2019 at 849 South 3rd St.

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