Gerard Reyes – choreographer and dancer – found pleasure in many places: Montreal trans bars, Manhattan vogue balls, Portland strip clubs, Berlin fetish parties. Each place offered him an escape from social norms, but each one also came with its own restrictive house rules. In The Principle of Pleasure, Gerard uses the theatre as a place capable of transcending limits to share his first true pleasure – dancing to the seductive songs of Janet Jackson. Voguing, stripping, glorifying eccentricity and embodying glamour open up the floor to exploring the controversial power of pleasure. Gerard and spectators join together to erase the boundaries that divide audience and performer to find ecstasy within and between their bodies.
Duration: 60 min.
A Gerard X Reyes production. With support from Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, New York State Council on the Arts and Office of the Government of Québec (Berlin). Residencies: The Door (New York), The Spectrum (Brooklyn), MAI (Montreal), Studio Mange Mes Pieds (Montreal) and Dancemakers (Toronto).
Concept, Choreography and Performance
Original Composition and Remixes
Featuring the music of
Costume design and tailoring
Vincent Tiley and Leigh Gallim
Persona non Grata
Archie Burnett, Ami Shulman, Jose Xtravaganza, Benoît Lachambre, Amazon Leiomy, Kristina Marlen, Jordan Hall, Matjash Mrozewski
Gerard Reyes is a choreographer, dancer and teacher based in Montreal, Canada. His live dance works have been presented in theatres, galleries and clubs throughout Europe and North America. In 2013, he was awarded a joint grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and the CALQ to support an artistic residency in New York, during which he studied voguing with legendary voguers: Archie Burnett, Amazon Leiomy and Javier Ninja, amongst others. Since the residency, voguing has become an important part of Gerard’s artistic practice. In 2017 he established a ballroom scene (voguing) in Montreal through teaching weekly vogue classes, leading open practices, as well as producing, organizing and hosting balls and master classes with international ballroom icons.
For over fifteen years, Gerard has lived and danced in Montreal, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and Berlin. He has worked for many reputable choreographers, including Jérôme Bel, Benoît Lachambre and Bill T. Jones. Gerard spent seven years as a member of the Compagnie Marie Chouinard, and in 2009, received a Gemini Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television for “Outstanding Performance” in the film bODY_rEMIX.
The Principle of Pleasure, Gerard’s first solo work, explored the theme of desire by melding together voguing, stripping, BDSM and drag. Set to original remixes of songs by pop icon Janet Jackson, the solo premiered at Théâtre LaChapelle (Montréal) in 2015 and has since toured across Canada and Europe, including Tanzfabrik (Berlin), Hollins University (Frankfurt), La Fête du Slip (Lausanne), Festival TransAmériques (Montréal) and SummerWorks (Toronto).
Gerard is currently working on a hybrid video installation-performance piece titled Cléopâtre (working title) that will premiere in Montreal in May 2020.
My work honours the often hidden parts of our society – people with alternative sexualities, members of visible minorities, participants in underground subcultures. These are my people. We live by our own queer ideals of pleasure and agency, and we seek to make this manifest in every part of our lives. Seeing no separation between life and artistic practice, I reject conventional artistic hierarchies. No cultural form is inherently better and more worthy of attention than others. For me, all modes of human expression have equal weight. My work aims to replace the old ‘vertical’ order with a new ‘horizontal’ one. As a choreographer, I want to redistribute power in the theatre and give centre stage to overlooked dance practices, such as voguing, stripping and pole dancing. By building new communities around dance I hope to inspire everyone to reap the benefits of their own self expression. – Gerard Reyes