“Cuerpos Desnudos”: The Birth of a New Relationship

By: Bryan L. Arroyo Rivera

“Cuerpos desnudos: La inquietud queer expresada a través de la danza y artes visuales” (Naked Bodies: Queer unrest expressed through dance and visual arts), by Elmer Pérez, was a ballet dance performance that follows the story of Gabriel and the situation he faces when he realizes that his heterosexual relationship is being affected by his newly discovered attraction to an openly gay boy named Carl. The event was held during the V Coloquio del Otro La’o: Perspectivas sobre Sexualidades “Queer” on March 5, 2014 at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez (UPRM). Around 40 people attended, including UPRM students and citizens. The performance started around 5:30 pm and ended at 5:47 pm.

In the opening scence Gabriel is having secret meetings with Carl for some time until Chacha,, Gabriel’s girlfriend, decides to talk about the situation. In the end, Chacha’s maturity allowed her to understand Gabriel’s feelings, so she decided to move out of the way and accept Gabriel and Carl’s relationship.

Here you can see both frames, one of which is slightly tilted to the right.

The play included symbolisms that portrayed the nature of the relationships. For example, the stage had two picture frames hanging, one of them was perfectly aligned, whereas the second
one was crooked. These frames represent the nature of the relationships when the couples stand inside them.

At first, the heterosexual couple stood inside the angled frame suggesting that there was something wrong with them. At the end, Gabriel and Carl stood inside the perfectly aligned frame, indicating their happiness, as stated by director and choreographer Elmer Pérez.

Pérez said that it took him approximately two months to assemble the piece, rehearsing three hours a day. He added that many of the original details of the choreography where changed in the end.

The actor playing Gabriel said he was gay, and because of this, he was unaware of the societal “rule” that the dominant person in a relationship holds his hand in front of the grip, as if leading the other person. Most of the cases, the dominant person is the male, and it is perceived as the correct way to hold hands. Because of this Pérez emphasized the way the dancers held hands.

In an interview, Pérez added that he aims to present the audience with the idea that things like this happen all the time, and that we, as a society, must reason logically and accept homosexual and queer people as they are.

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