Last weekend the Macalester Theatre and Dance department put on their winter performance. Included in the program was a dance where about 30 people were all naked. I had heard about this dance before, and was thinking about taking part in it, but the time commitment ended up being too great. But, I still didn’t really know what exactly to expect. I was wildly impressed, and I thought the whole thing was incredibly well-done. They managed to not make it a sexual thing at all, which is almost never seen in today’s society, unless it is the grotesque. Especially considering that the majority of the dancers were girls, and all of them attractive, it was wonderfully refreshing. It was refreshing because nudity has an interesting place in our society. Historically it has been inappropriate and shameful, and although now that is changing, almost the only time we see nudity is when it is tied to sex. We are surrounded by partial nudity that is almost always sexualized, in advertisements, movies, and television especially. This nudity was not sexualized at all, it simply was.
I think part of why the dance was so powerful was because it was so blatant. If it had been people wearing skimpy outfits it would have sent a totally different message. They were bold in a very frank, open way. They danced onstage, punctuating the dance with statements like “would you be able to do this?” and other statements emphasizing the fact that the body is only a part of a whole person. They also came down into the audience and walked around shaking hands and introducing them to people, demonstrating how they are more than their body, they are also a person. So often in our society bodies, especially female bodies, are objectified so much that they have become their bodies in many situations, and are often portrayed only as sexual beings. This dance showed that nudity does not have to be sexualized, and our bodies are only a part of ourselves, and should be accepted, but not dwelt upon.