I’ll show you

Dance&Dare SummerSchool

Show Me by The100Hands, © William van der Voort

Text: Saskia de Haas

1. A woman is standing in front of me. She is standing with her back to me and takes off her pants. She folds her pants in a controlled matter. She puts the pants on the floor. She takes of her shirt. She folds the shirt and puts it on the floor. A pile of clothes is created.

She takes off her top. I sigh, relieved. She is wearing another bra under it. The man next to me takes a step forward. He is too close to me now. I step aside. He is also closer to the woman now.

The woman takes off her bra. I can feel the breathing of the man next to me. He holds his breath for a moment. Then he breathes faster. Or maybe I think he breathes faster. Maybe it is just my own projection. The woman moves her hands to the edges of her underpants. She moves forward and takes off her underpants. She folds her underpants and puts them on the pile of clothes.

The woman is naked. Completely nude. Standing with her back to me. I look at her. At her shoulders, her back, her arms, her burned skin seemingly soft, her lower back, her buttocks, the back of her legs. I am not sure where I can and want to lay my eyes. I am not interested in her buttocks, but yet my eyes glide over them. The woman turns around slowly. All those eyes on her body. All those different eyes, with different thoughts, with different perceptions of looking, of seeing. Her breasts, her belly, her navel, her pubic hair, her legs, her feet, her toes. Stop.

2. A woman is making selfies with her phone. She squeezes herself into crazy positions for the perfect photo. The results are less crazy. I recognize the results. I have a Instagram friend who posts selfies almost every day, with hashtags like #justwokeuplikethis, #casuallylookingoutofthewindow, #feelingtired, #nofilter. I always wondered how long it takes her to make that selfie, and in what crazy positions she is squeezing herself into. I also wondered if it is a kind of joke, or art project, but she doesn´t do anything with art, so I guess not. When I see a selfie on Instagram or Facebook, I always scroll down. The selfies are not made for me. But who are they made for? Who are those viewers?

3. A woman is making selfies with her phone. I look at the movements of the camera projected on a curtain. I see how she is trying different angles. How she moves the camera along her arm, along her side body. I look at her again, instead of the projection of the camera. The eyes of the camera are not my eyes. She is fully naked. But yet I feel more comfortable looking at a naked body than looking through the eyes of the camera that’s trying to make an intimate sexy photo.

I see men looking at the projection of the camera movements. I see eyes of men sparkling from excitement. The men are old. They probably haven´t seen such young bodies for a while. Maybe they are fantasizing about it. Stop. Maybe they get heated. Stop. Maybe they will have sex tonight with their wives thinking about. Stop. But they could also be like me. Fighting thoughts. These projections. Maybe they are also searching for their boundaries in looking, in thinking, in projecting.

Essay from Saskia de Haas after seeing Show Me by The100Hands at Theaterfestival Boulevard 2019. Saskia is 1 of the participants of the Dance&Dare SummerSchool, an international project for creative writers who dare to look for new words for dance and performance, by Domain for Art Criticism & DansBrabant. Go here to read all the essays: http://dansbrabant.nl/en/blog/