Dallas — Three years ago, I took my first steps towards exploring the concept of verbatim dance theatre with The Show About Men. Created in collaboration with the performers, we developed a script that was infused with their personal stories and a movement score that worked to supplement and elevate the dialogue. What we were exploring and the discoveries we made have influenced how I have continued to make work—the words and the movement are equally as powerful, and for me, they cannot exist without each other. Moreover, working on The Show About Men expanded my desire to explore what constitutes the feminine, the idea of the new woman, and the bizarre nature of the construct of gender. My work has always examined our interactions and relationships as humans and while each of the shows in the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group repertoire are significantly different—at one performance you might see an existential exploration of morality or look back at the influence of adolescence or a musical beach comedy—they seek to spark a conversation that lasts beyond the stage.
With our new show, Just Girly Things, we entered into the creative process in a similar manner to The Show About Men. We created surveys and writing prompts to direct the conversations and address current topics regarding gender. The results were brutally honest insights into our personal lives. With the assistance of playwright Ruben Carrazana, we took those stories and crafted a script using our verbatim words. But unlike The Show About Men which was a presentation of stories, Just Girly Things is structured more like a musical, where the songs push the narrative along, and the plot follows the style of a sitcom. This show challenges my notion of what dance theatre looks like and is driving the DGDG style in a new direction.
As we have been preparing for the premiere on July 20, I have been asked many questions from the cast, crew, friends, strangers, and supporters of DGDG, and I wanted to take a moment to address some of the hottest topics.
Why a sitcom? Why not.
Because sitcoms of the 1980s and 1990s were a conservative back-swing against the liberality and boundary-breaking of the 1960s and 1970s. The sitcoms we grew up with were two-dimensional representations of complex stories and were dangerously misleading regarding setting expectations for how to treat people with different backgrounds.
Why are there so many men working on this show? Why not.
At the risk of sounding too trite, it is necessary to involve men in the conversation about women. How else are they going to learn about the other gender if we don’t talk to one another? Imagine what could happen if we sat down the men in our lives and told them about the experiences we went through as children, teenagers, and adults. If we explain to them the pain we experienced during puberty, the on-going battle between balancing our sexuality and masking the self, the frustrating search for a less-fraught, more ordinary self, and the need for freedom. Could we possibly reach an understanding and a new approach to living a feminist life? Maybe.
I recently read an article that implied that the problem with feminism is not men, but actually how women treat other women and how we are uniformly killing feminism by not addressing the issues and obstacles that we women place in front of each other. That concept is in harmony with the crisis of Just Girly Things. Women for decades have existed in a culture of competition. Who has the largest breasts, the firmest butt? Who is the smartest, the prettiest, the best mother, the best wife, the best girlfriend? Why does it matter? Why do we only seem to support each other when it is socially acceptable to? Why don’t we stand by our sisters every day, for the smallest thing, like successfully changing a flat tire or waking up before the alarm goes off? Why do we only care about the most significant successes? It’s the everyday battles that we win that are important because they allow us to grow in our confidence and evolve into the people we want to be.
I’m proud to be a female artist working at this time in our world, but I’m more proud to be an artist who is creating honest work. It’s time for us—all of us, no matter what gender—to make and do work that is risky, rude, and uncool, because, in that exploration, we are bound to discover something authentic.
Danielle, you’re acting now?
Yes, I am, and this not my first time. In fact, my first time acting professionally in Dallas was on the FIT stage in 2012 for Upstart Productions’ I Met You I Screamed. I’ve been performing as a movement artists for a decade in our city, and it just felt right to become a part of this cast. But this show does mark a departure from our standard mode of working. While I do still wear the hat of choreographer and creator, I have shifted into this new role of actor and singer, and that process has been as much of an adventure as creating the show has been.
That being said, I’m so excited to premiere this work at the 2018 Festival of Independent of Theatres and to keep pushing the boundaries and limits of what Dallas audiences think dance is.
ABOUT JUST GIRLY THINGS
JUST GIRLY THINGS by Danielle Georgiou and Ruban Carrazana, with the performers. Original music and lyrics by Justin Locklear, Cory Kosel, and Trey Pendergrass.
This delightfully raw and painfully honest work of dance theatre centers on the complicated relationships between women and the obstacles that they place between each other in an already tenuous environment. Being a woman is a “disadvantage,” or so says society, but is that really true? Chock full of songs and dance inspired by 1990s pop culture and television sitcoms, this musical comedy shows the lengths women will go to resist disappointment and achieve “perfection.”
Just Girly Things will be performed on:
- Friday, July 20 at 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday, July 21 at 5:00 p.m.
- Sunday, July 22 at 2:00 p.m.
- Thursday, July 26 at 8:00 p.m.
- Sunday, July 29 at 5:00 p.m.
- Saturday, August 4 at 8:00 p.m.
» Danielle Georgiou, Ph.D., is a dance educator, critic, and writer. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of DGDG (Danielle Georgiou Dance Group) whose work focuses on ensemble-building, devised work. She is a professional dancer and choreographer working in contemporary dance and theatre.
(If a month is missing, there was no column)
- February: Cash Choreography
- March: Make the Fringe Your Future
- April: Don't Freak Out, It's Just an Audition
- May: You Love Dance. You're Not Alone
- June: Persevering Through Movement
- July: Sharing in Success
- August: To the Barre
- September: Method Act
- October: Fear of Flying
- December: The Editor Dance
- January: Community Relations
- February: The Fabric of Movement
- March: State of the Dance
- April: The Dance Mom Complex
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- June: Figuring How Men Fit In
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- December: '15 Going on '16
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- Februrary: The Politics of Dancing
- April: Defining Dance Theatre
- June: Dancing for Change
- September: Sweat the Details, Not the Consequences
- December: Louder Than Tweets
- January: Making and Moving
- February: Don't Fudge the Truth
- March: The Collective Unconsciousness of Creating
- April: Professionally Speaking
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- July: Where Have all the Critics Gone?
- August: Rain Dance
- September: The Theory of Taking Risks
- October: Get in Line!