See the gender… and be terrified

Örjan Abrahamsson

 Two women are leaning against the back wall, with challengingly, almost passively, pushed out pelvises. The message is provocative. See the body. See the gender! Though it’s not the two women who are being scrutinized in Yasmeen Godder’s “Two playful pink”. The women’s even more challenging , staring, almost aggressive, gazes are turned towards us in the audience. As to say: Who are you to judge us! See the beam in your own eye! (…) 

(…) “Two playful pink” does not rub anyone the right way, does not try to win the hearts of the audience with beautiful movements. It’s more like the other way around. The very concept of beauty is being questioned, female beauty in particular. The feminine object. The male subject. That may sound painfully familiar and programmatic. But what makes “Two playful pink” original and interesting is that Godder so multifaceted and surprisingly gives form to a complex of thought that easily makes less sharpened choreographers batter at open doors. Women get used. And then what? (…)

 (…) A string of female beauty stereotypes are being performed and scrutinized and are then driven to their opposite, towards the grotesque, ugly, almost insane. But the insanity isn’t charming. It’s naked, frightening and ugly. (…) 

(…) So, is “Two playful pink” about the female right to not have to be a beautiful object? No, that subject is – regretfully – still urgent, but a lot of choreographers have already done it. Yasmeen Godder wants to take the discussion further and in my opinion she succeeds. As much as Godder questions the male gaze, she also questions the female gaze, and at the same time the fundamental dynamic in the performing arts, that between artist and audience. In the middle of all this bodily, female palpability, “Two playful pink” is raising conceptual questions about the performing arts as a whole. The performance is permeated by intellectual pregnancy and consequentially ends with ironic elegance. When the lights fade out in the last sequence, the women are running around with black cloth over their breasts like dying swans. That is the first time that “Two playful pink” is truly beautiful. Why do I think that?