What is the political potential of pole dancing? The pole suspends the dancer against gravity; with its support the body can levitate for a moment. How can we suspend the history of violence based on race, class, gender, and sexuality without erasing the impact of these differences on how we see and relate to each other? These are some of the questions posed by American artists Gerard & Kelly, whose work intertwines dance and visual art. They reshape the codes of the avant-garde in State of, presented in the colossal white Oval Room of the MAAT and confronting the architecture’s light with the resurgence of a shadowy present.

In State of Gerard & Kelly continue their research on pole dance, focusing on how the form has spread through the subway carriages and nightclubs, through queer and black communities, to create new forms of self-expression. One of the performers is Forty Smooth, an innovator of subway pole dancing – a genre of performance developed in the New York City subway.

We watch a group of men, through citations and transformations of the American flag and national anthems, explore the critical potential of intimacy to suspend the violence related to our differences.

Concept and choreography Gerard & Kelly
Performance Ryan Kelly, Forty Smooth and Quenton Stuckey
Pole dance instructor Roz “The Diva” Mays
Costumes Stacey Berman and Rio Uribe / Gypsy Sport
Production Gerard & Kelly Foundation
Co-production Centre chorégraphique national d’Orléans
Photos Thomas Scotto D’Abusco

A first version of State of was presented in 2017 by the Festival d’Automne à Paris and Parades for FIAC, with the support of Fondation Fiminco and Mona Bismarck American Center. The creation of State of was made possible through a space grant with Chashama’s Space to Present program (New York).

Next Performances

read more