Still Standing You embraces its nudity in a non-sexual way

Vancouver’s 2013 PuSh Festival gets underway mid-January and while the LGBTQ offerings on the main stage are virtually absent this year, one show that will no doubt have some appeal is Still Standing You, a montage of dance, gymnastics and wrestling that embraces its male nudity in a non-sexual way.

Still Standing You is a show that in many ways defies description except to say that it looks like the two performers/co-creators, Guilherme Garrido and Pieter Ampe, got together for a game of doctor, finding out what they could do with their bodies.  Turns out it is pretty much exactly what happened, “We are like two little boys playing around, jumping and teasing each other,” says Garrido.

This is the second performance created by the duo who have already made a name for themselves in Europe with their boundary-pushing performances.

“We are both the choreographers and performers of this piece,” explains Garrido.  “It is a very intimate piece; there was no outside director, or co-creator beside us.”

And while they have dance training, the show isn’t one where you’ll recognize any dance steps.  Instead you’ll see two bodies twisting, interacting, pulling, dropping, climbing, and falling all over each other.

“A lot of fears, desires, contradiction, poetry, humour, scream, and shouts are all there”, says Garrido.

Screams and shouts indeed, these two don’t hold a single thing back throwing themselves and each other onto the floor without even an ounce of concern for personal safety, sometimes while naked and holding onto each others’ penises.

Pietre Ampe and Giulherme Garrido perform in Still Standing You at this year's PuSh Festival
Pietre Ampe and Guilherme Garrido perform in Still Standing You at this year’s PuSh Festival.

While rolling around while holding each others’ penises might make it seem like a show that would appeal to a gay audience, Garrido insists it isn’t.

“We never had the intention to make a macho, or gay, or sexual piece. Above all the piece is about intimacy, friendship, love, dispute, enemies, but in a very primal way, something like back to the basics,” says he says.  “I believe that there is a moment in the piece that you forget that you are looking at two men and only see two bodies … but there’s a freedom for each one to see what they want, that is fine by me as well.”

In the end, Garrido says the nudity came naturally from the trusting and fearless relationship the two shares. “We just embraced the nudity and went for it full on!”

Whether sexuality was a part of the show’s intention or not, in a society that has a difficult time separating the physical from the sexual, let alone when it comes to two people of the same sex, this is a ground-breaking show.  Two men who are willing to play with each others’ bodies in such an intimate way, with no fear of the implications, says a lot, and while some can’t take it, for the most part Garrido reports that the the audiences that have seen the show have been warm and friendly.

“I really hope that the audience will get curious to see the show and come to enjoy and have a blast with us. After the show we can have some drinks and go out!”

Still Standing You
Part of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
January 15 – February 3, 2012

Visit http://pushfestival.ca for a complete schedule, tickets and information.

Andrea Loewen

Andrea LoewenAndrea is a theatre-maker, yoga instructor, writer and ally to the LGBTQ community in Vancouver. She spends her days as the Communications Manager for Pacific Theatre, and is Co-Artistic Producer for Xua Xua Productions, a founding member of Les Petites Taquines Dance Theatre, and the marketing chair for the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards Society. She writes a weekly column for VancouverisAwesome.com and freelances as a yoga instructor and choreographer. When she has some down time she enjoys some green tea and quality time with her cat, Miss Gertie Marie.

Follow Andrea on Twitter or find her online at http://www.andrealoewen.com.

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