By: Nicole Cordero
“Cuerpos Desnudos” (Naked Bodies) is a dance piece based on the stories of Gabriel and Karl, two young gay men who have feelings for each other. The problem is that Karl still does not feel confident in freely admitting his sexuality to society, so he maintains a relationship with girlfriend Arielly. Unlike Karl, Gabriel is supported by his friend Chacha, who used to be his girlfriend, to accept who he is and tries to help him with his the relationship with Karl.
This piece, presented on March 5, 2014 as part of the activities of the “V Coloquio ¿Del Otro La’o?: Perspectivas Sobre Sexualidades “Queer””(V Colloquium On the Other Side?: Perspectives on “Queer” Sexualities) is authored by Elmer Pérez Acosta, 32, originally from Cabo Rojo. Pérez Acosta is the Artistic Director of the company Ballet Escenario, located in Mayagüez.
The piece began with Gabriel and Karl in scene, fighting to accept their feelings. The high symbolic level of the performance was made clear to the public from the time they entered the amphitheater Ramón Figueroa Chapel in Carlos Chardón building at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez.
The stage had a black curtain in the background and two white frames of about 10’x5′ located at opposite ends of the stage. The frame in which Gabriel and Karl stood at one point of the play was crooked, Pérez Acosta said the purpose of this was to “represent that something was not right in that couple.”
Other symbolism shown in the piece was the wardrobe of the dancers. All were dressed in black clothes but as the author said “on one hand, Gabriel is shirtless, and wanting to show a natural style and freedom; on the other hand, Karl is completely covered, representing the prejudices that society has.”
Pérez Acosta, a former UPRM student, looked closely to the smallest details in the piece, from the way the dancers move to the way they held hands. He described the piece as a normal story, but not so common: “we have all known a Gabriel, a Karl, a Chacha or an Arielly in the course of our lives,” he said at the end of the performance.
Audience member Careliz Martínez, 20, microbiology major at UPRM, described the piece as a “very interesting one.” Her favorite character was Chacha because “she set aside her feelings and selfishness to help her friend be happy.”