About a month ago I got on the bus and sat down next to an elderly man. I was on my way home and hardly paying attention to anyone around me. I was thinking of everything I had yet to complete before the end of the day.
As I sat there, I noticed (from the corner of my eye) what appeared to be slow and rhythmic hand motions. Suddenly my face felt hot. I looked over and the elderly man was staring at me with a strange sort of hunger. He licked his lips and repeatedly and forcefully rubbed his legs up and down. His hands spreading from the inside of his thighs to the outside of his legs.
As I sat there living in this weird fucking moment, I had to stop myself from performing the movements that I had been doing the past month in We Are Revealed at Mile Zero Dance. The work is very personal and speaks to how I feel in moments exactly like this one. I felt like violently swinging my hand up to my forehead over and over until he stopped rubbing himself and until I felt better. But I didn't, I stopped myself.
This has me thinking about the work in real life situations. I continue to think about the stories I hear from friends on how they as women are being seen and spoken to. I think about what they might have to endure just to make their way home from work. Everyday.
Do I really need the costume to perform these movements? Should it really be in a staged space where everyone is comfortable and empathetic or should these performative movements happen on the LRT, on a bus, in a bar? Can these movements actually be a useful tool in confronting the male gaze?