Death of the Pole Dancer interrogates the way we look at what we think we look at. The audience is brought to reflect on what they witness: a woman during the act of pole dancing. The performance renegotiates notions such as voyeurism and restrain, vulnerability and violence, sexuality and power.

Concept, Choreography & Performance
Eisa Jocson

Coach & Dramaturgical advice
Rasa Alksnyte

Production & Technical Management
Yap Seok Hui | ARTFACTOR Y

I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself by Dusty Springfield

Commissioned by
In Transit 2011 performance art festival HKW Berlin

Supported by
Nadine, Brussels

Macho dancing is performed by young men in nightclubs for male as well as female clients. Macho dancing with its specific movement vocabulary and physicality seems to be a Philippine phenomenon. It is an economically motivated language of seduction, using notions of masculinity as body capital.

Macho Dancer is a solo piece of a woman performing a macho dance. Her becoming a macho dancer challenges our perception of sexuality and questions gender as a tool for social mobility: the macho dancer through his practice is pushed into a marginal, weak position in society. However the image that a macho dancer simulates is that of a strong male. The woman performing a macho dance assimilates that role of a strong male, and with transgressing gender; the performer also seems to change her social status. Nevertheless, since she engages in that marginal practice that is macho dance she remains vulnerable, weak, just like the social status of an objectified woman. The performance thus generates a “gender loop” in which performer and audience are entangled.

“He realizes his potential, and exercises his individual empowerment, only to return the following night. Desire and performance of social mobility, after all, are only posed in simulation. In gay bars, as in the Philippine nation, real mobility is evasive, restricted, and temporary. Yet every night, the desire and the performance of social mobility are reenacted.”

Eisa Jocson is a contemporary choreographer and dancer from the Philippines. Trained as a visual artist, with a background in ballet, she won her first pole-dancing competition in Manila in 2010. Her 3 solos; Death of the Pole
Dancer (2011), Macho Dancer (2013) and Host (2015) have toured extensively in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia. From pole to macho dancing to hostess work, Eisa investigates the labour and representations of the dancing body in the service industry, and exposes identity and gender formation, seduction politics, and Filipino social mobility. Her new creation Princess and Your Highness under the Happyland series is a continuation of her investigation into the performance of happiness and production of fantasy of Filipino entertainers within the happiness empire.