Body Politics Festival | Macho Dancer / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

Macho Dancer

Eisa Jocson

Body Politics

26-27 OCT 2018

The performance is in English
Exhibition Hall
Duration: 60 minutes
A “macho” man performed in a woman’s body, that of Eisa Jocson. Is this “gender loop”, this androgynous dancing image enough to question our clichés about sexuality, economy and social mobility?
Full price: 7 €
Reduced, Friend & Groups 5-9 people: 6 €
Groups 10+ people, People with disabilities - Companions & Unemployed: 5 €

Group ticket reservations at
Macho Dancing is a Philippino phenomenon: a dance in the voyeurism industry danced exclusively by men in clubs for women or homosexuals. A dance that flaunts its ‘manliness’ using a somatic idiom for turning an audience on for money. Eisa Jocson assumes the role of the 'macho dancer' and performs its kinesiological vocabulary with surgical cool and impressive precision.

The act of playing with her androgynous image causes a slight shift in every role involved, reformulating the customary relationships between them in the process: the macho dancer comes across as powerful, but might the voyeuristic gaze make him vulnerable and weak? By putting herself in his place, Eisa Jocson creates a rift in our own gaze, an opening that lets questions through about the way gender roles are constructed, about how we perceive the clichés of 'sexiness’, about voyeurism and the body as object.


Concept, Choreography and Performance: Eisa Jocson
Light Design: Jan Maertens
Music composition: Lina Lapelyte
Coach: Rasa Alksnyte
Dramaturgical advice: Arco Renz
Technical Manager: Yap Seok Hui
Songs: “Devil's Dance” by Metallica, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, “Pagbigyang Muli” by Erik Santos, “Careless Whisper” by Wham!
Co-production: Workspacebrussels, Beursschouwburg
Residency and support: Workspacebrussels, Beursschouwburg, wpZimmer

Premiere: 24 April 2013 at Beursschouwburg

Friday 26 October
After performance talk with the choreographers of "FARCI.E", "Be Careful" and "Macho Dancer". The talk will take place after the end of "FARCI.E".
Moderated by Nadja Argyropoulou, independent curator 

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“Macho Dance” is the second part of a trilogy by Eisa Jocson about the body as an object in the workplace of the voyeurism industry—what she calls the "happiness production industry". In the first work, The Death of a pole dancer, she stripped the pole dancer's role of its constructed ‘sexy’ aura. In the third, Host, she lets the audience’s gaze into the private moments of the Japayuki, Philippino performers who travel to Japan to perform in clubs, entertaining ‘low and mid-level executives’ by playing a specific role with roots deep in Japanese sex culture.
Eisa embarked on the male role of the Macho Dancer when she saw how people had identified her with the role of the pole dancer thanks to her previous solo, even though the work had set out to strip the role of its myth.
Although she has been active in the performing arts for a number of years, she recently became more widely known when she appeared in the video clip for the song “How You Like My Cut” by the electronic music star Peaches, in which she actually dances extracts from “Macho Dancer”.
“Macho Dancer” won the Zurich Cantonal Bank’s Recognition Award in 2013.
In 2014, she staged her first one-woman show, entitled “Philippine Macho Academy” (2014), at the University of the Philippines’ Vargas Museum.
Eisa Jocson explores representations of the body that dances for a living in the voyeurism industry. She exposes the social and political dimensions of body exploitation in the Philippines along with the construction of gender identity.
She was born in the Philippines and has studied both classical ballet and the visual arts. She learned how to pole dance by accident, but the experience would end up playing a key role in making her the artist she is. Through a series of residencies at cultural institutions in Belgium, she developed the artistic practice with which she challenges the pole dancer stereotype and interrogates the context in which it operates.
Her solo “Death of the Pole Dancer” was commissioned by the In Transit 2011 festival at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. It would subsequently tour internationally. At the same time, she was learning Macho dancing in order to create her next solo, which premièred in 2013 at the Beurrshouwburg in Brussels. In the years that followed, she toured extensively with both solos, which she often dances as two halves of a single program. The third work in her trilogy, Host, premièred in 2015.
In 2017, she embarked on a new series of works entitled “Happyland”. The first part, “Princess”, is a duet with the performance artist Russ Ligtas; the second, “Your Highness”, a collaboration with five dancers from the Philippines Ballet.

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