Multidisciplinary artist Jen Ray presents ‘Looks that Kill,’ a performance that celebrates unabashed female confidence and the excitement of rivalry and competition without apology.
During the exhibition opening, a troupe of tap dancers engage in a cutting contest - an improv-based battle in which dancers must face off and perform on the spot, set to the classic hairmetal song 'Looks That Kill'.
Embracing excess, pageantry, and elements of popular culture, Jen Ray's performances are
a celebration of female self-determination. Drawing inspiration and symbolism from a wide range of socio-political and cultural references, from feminist science fiction and dystopian theory, to seventies glam rock, the artist challenges static or reverential perceptions of feminism and encourages on-going discussions about gender, intersectionality, and identity politics.
"Dancing and performing, creating costumes and using the skills at our disposal, women can challenge each other not in ways that hurt, but in ways that encourage fierce competitiveness and generate pride.
The competitive nature of women is often denigrated. To harness your own physical power
and put it on display, to celebrate your ‘looks’ (whatever those might be) often invites an onslaught of negative criticism. The dancers in the performance are supremely unconcerned, a luxury not always afforded to women."