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AMORE - 13.08.18

Thoughts on love and holding hands, written by Anthony Lo-Giudice

I believe one of the most human of instincts we have is to love. To find someone to belong to and have them belong to you. Love in all its guises subjugates our reason for being. That is my opinion. That is my truth. Almost every benchmark in my life thus far has been bookmarked with someone I have belonged to, someone I wanted to be with, or someone who was no longer mine.  Pinnacle moments include someone who broke my heart and someone who mended it again. So once again, i'm back to the blueprint of making a new work and i'm adding the cornerstone that precedes over all of my artistic inventions. Love. But, unlike my previous work, i'm looking at something a little closer to home.


History and the arts are littered with great lovers who can be easily referenced and sourced. Lancelot and Guinevere. Romeo and Juliet. Paris and Helen. Dante and Beatrice. Bonnie and Clyde. Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. Tristan and Isolde. Heathcliffe and Catherine. Baby and Jonny. The swoon-fest could go on and on…


But when the list concentrates on same-sex lovers, it becomes shorter. It get’s convoluted. Hadrian and Antinous. Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville West. Greta Garbo and Mercedes de Acosta. Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte. Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas…


They are there and they are magnificent. But they tend to hide at the back of the shelf from the general public, like whispers behind a screaming hetro-fest, only to be appreciated by those who search.

Most of these stories also include a peppering of added ingredients that the others generally do not. Often, they become overcast and entwined in on themselves within a myriad of issues that have gone hand in hand with the LGBTQ+ community for years. Challenges of prejudice, persecution, denial, religious condemnation, violence, fear and alienation are prevalent and often form a major component to backbone of said tales.

Some of these ingredients have infiltrated themselves into the fabric of my own love stories. They have stung me in the past and they have hurt deeply.


I think about my own experiences. Could I really hold my partner of ten years hand in the street, kiss him goodbye or savor a moment with a hug without feeling confident that people were not staring at us, worse yet, judging us?

When I have done so in the past, there are times when it has been natural and pleasant and quite perfectly…ordinary. There are instances when it has been done in a prevocatour’esque statement and in some cases there are times I can recall when I haven’t had the confidence to do it.


Sometimes it has not been safe to even hold my partners hand.


I can’t be overly melancholic in this reflection without reminding myself of the people who fought and died for what I currently have. One must remind oneself that what freedoms we enjoy are often the blessing from another persons sacrifice. My insecurities would appear trivial to those trailblazers before me. I live in a time and part of the world where others in my situation would dream of being. However, I can’t pretend prejudice doesn’t exist. We should be doing more to help the next generation, or providing an opportunity to reflect on the struggles the LGBTQ+ community faces elsewhere in the world.


L’uomo is my own small response to this. It is an invitation to watch a story between two men. It is a potential opportunity to de-mystify the image of two men holding hands or being affectionate in the street. I can’t change people’s hard shaped beliefs with a short piece of dance, but maybe I can guide someone to reflect on their lack of understanding or experience, should they have it. Perhaps I can give them something that makes them think…


Alternatively, I can just aspire to create a beautiful experience, equally giving members of the LGBTQ+ community a new short story to add to their collection.


In reflection, i’m getting a little tired of seeing men being flung around by themselves in an over-masculinized or hyper-sexualized (note: sex and sensuality are not the same thing) fashion, ripping each others clothes off and rolling on top of one-another naked. It has its place, but I crave for something simpler. Can’t they just be two people? Maybe that's the story we all need. Two people.


So i'm starting with two men holding hands and will work with my team to explore what happens after that…

 

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©2020 Lo-Giudice Dance
Supported using public funding from Arts Council England