LIBR'ARTS / Nadia Beugré

L’Homme rare

The five men in this piece aren’t exactly shy. Carried by Serge Gainsbourg’s voice, they drift into a kind of trance and get themselves naked. Black, white, brown skin shines in the spotlight. Hands caress backs, slap buttocks, the dancers gyrate their hips. Their movements are…what now: ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’? “She’s wild, like the wind”, the New York Times wrote about Ivorian choreographer Nadia Beugré, who trained with Germaine Acogny at her École des Sables and with Mathilde Monnier. Anyhow, she turns the apparently self-evident aspects of gender-typical patterns of movement topsy-turvy. Her male dancers dance funk carioca and passinho like women or as female dancers. In the process, the feminist artist also critically examines distinctly feminine conventions in dance. As a result, notions of the ‘perfect body’, as naturalised by masculine cultures, are put into perspective and habitual gazes are adroitly challenged.