Nadia Beugré L’Homme rare


Nadia Beugré's piece L'Homme rare tackles the issue of gender assignment head-on. By having five naked men sway their hips on stage, it sabotages the categories of masculine and feminine. However, it is also a piece about our gaze. In this instance, that of the western, voyeuristic, and eroticist gaze that we cast on these bodies. And more specifically on these black bodies.

With their backs to us, they are either completely naked or draped in simple fabrics. Five non-white men, some wearing high heels, sway their hips, and gyrate their pelvis to wave-like effect. Inspired by the different communities of Rio de Janeiro and their fast-paced urban dances, the choreographer Nadia Beugré picks up on these movements that are not only confined to women, and uses them to thwart gender assignment in a subtle way. If L'Homme rare serves as a reminder that femininity and masculinity, fragility and virility, are entirely relative notions, the piece holds up, above all, a mirror with which to observe our ways of seeing. The choreographer lets us cast our gaze wherever we want to. However, there is no escaping from the posture of the voyeur, this direct inheritor of the dominant gaze, which reifies, eroticizes, and colonizes bodies, especially black bodies. By enriching other nuances of masculinity, and with bouncy buttocks rather than bulging torsos, L’Homme rare becomes that rare breed of man that allows himself be looked at without ever showing his face.