Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Fiúk, or “Boys,” choreographed by the Hungarian artist Pal Frenak, is a naughty and delicious celebration of boydom. At the Trafo, front and center with A.H, (where he always sits), I had a privileged and up-close view of the four dancers that twirled and scrambled up ropes, that crawled naked across the stage with only an “X” of black tape across their bums, that dressed in tutus and heckled and hee-hawed.

A.H. explained to me that when he first attended choreographed pieces by Pal Frenak, the music was always uncomfortably loud, no matter the venue. After some investigating, he found out that Frenak’s parents’ were deaf and mute, and the loud music was some sort of homage to the way that deaf people are able to dance: by feeling the vibrations created by extreme volume. He also noticed the dancers using their hands in unusually expressive ways: this of course was the sign language that Frenak had learned as a boy, though the dancers themselves do not understand the “words” they are communicating with their hands.

Fiúk is somehow drawn from Frenak’s time that he spent in an orphanage. Imagine a boy who discovers that he loves to dance. How other boys might react. His experiences feed into the scenes in which a tutu-ed man pirouettes about whilst the other boys scream and laugh and point. Though this composes only a small portion of the choreography, and Fiúk is by no means a straightforward narrative.

The scene that I will not soon forget: three of dancers stage left, each seated on a chair with his back facing the audience. Each one has pulled down his briefs to his thighs, so that his back from his shoulders to the delta of his ass is fully visible. Heads down. The rest of the stage is black, though three spotlights directly positioned over each dancer shine down, creating a gorgeous chiaroscuro of Michelangelo-esque torsos. First they are breathtakingly beautiful. Then they softly writhe. They ripple. I see each step of the ladder of their spines. I lose sense of their bodies as bodies; I see instead beautiful human-size cocoons with something live inside, wanting to break free. How beautiful to celebrate the small and under-appreciated muscles in a man’s back. Usually choreography is all arms and legs dependent, because arms and legs of course are the quickest route to creating dynamism in space, but what of dance that allows us to see the grace of even small movements?

I had forgotten how beautiful boys can be. Now I remember.


At 12:13 PM, Blogger Indeterminacy said...

For some reason this reminds me of Björk's song "Venus as a Boy"

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this blog entry makes me think of 'billy elliot'--what a fantastic film! surely, you have seen it?


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