Young Boy Dancing Group
With their boundary-pushing studies in physical intensity, Young Boy Dancing Group has been demolishing the disciplinary limits of dance performance since 2016. Touring worldwide, they partner with local artists to create site-specific works that transcend the boundaries of fine art, dance, and fashion. Performing with carrots up their butts—“a poetic illustration of where we come from”—is merely the beginning of their transgressive, definition-defying practice.
How did Young Boy Dancing Group start?
The group started initially without a name or a fixed cast. The website http://www.contemporarycruising.com/, an archive for performances, was one of the key connections: it featured individual members’ work and connected them online even before meeting physically. The group started with DIY dance videos shot at home that ended up on YouTube, which was, at the time, our only place to get an audience
Your work weaves in and out of movement, fashion, sculpture… people really seemed to respond to the piece where you shot lasers out of your buttholes. How does this experimental, interdisciplinary approach relate to your broader rejection of the dance world’s institutionalized norms?
The categorization of art forms and the specific institutions presenting them seem, for us, quite restrictive. We don’t see ourselves as choreographers organizing bodies in time and space—rather, we feel a sense of urgency to create all the aspects of a work. This includes fashion, sculptures, music, spacial design, and of course, dance and performative acts. All these formats are getting intertwined and mixed up. We are rather interested in certain aesthetics, vibes and statements getting voiced in all available ways. We assume that this is the reason why we get invited to perform at all kinds of different venues.
What’s the most unconventional object you’ve ever included in a performance?
A huge Swiss cow bell that we found at a dead man’s house clearance. It’s quite an iconic symbol for the conservative Swiss countryside culture, which stands in contrast to what we do.
But actually, the carrots in the buttholes were our most unconventional act. It illustrates, in a poetic way, the places we come from.
I’m curious about where your name came from—“Young Boy” suggests masculinity, but also androgyny. How does gender play into your exploration?
The name comes from Young Girl Reading Group, which is run by Egle Kulbokaite and Dorota Gaweda. Their name comes from the book Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young- Girl by Tiqqun. The Name YBDG is the pendant to it. It functions rather as a title and not a description of content. In the beginning, our collaboration was nameless. The name came approximately a year after the first performance.
Having performed in so many different contexts, from galleries to nightclubs to a Venice Biennale pavilion, where do you find that your work is best received?
The clubs pay the best. The visual art venues have a better audience, and at music festivals we are highly appreciated as we are typically the only dance performance among the music acts. But recently, we’ve been getting invited to very special places such as a scrap yard at Nave, Chile; a public swimming pool; Tropez in Berlin and a forest at BOFFO Fire Island in Upstate NY.
When did you begin touring and working with locals? How does your practice change as you travel and fold new people into the collective?
In 2016, we had our first European tour and felt immediately that we had to work with locals in each city, as each place has unique individuals to work with. The touring format, which is, in a way, like a band, is also more cost-efficient as well more practical for the development for our work as we spend 24 hours a day together.
What are you up to now? Do you have any upcoming performances we can look forward to? We have 3 site-specific performances in Berlin this summer: at Schinkel Pavilion, Tropez, and Klosterruine. Also, we’ll be in New York in August and September at Boffo on Fire Island and at OCD Chinatown. They are all very exiting!
performers: Camila Carolta, Lizza, Josefina Dagorret, Autismo Incorporado, Maria Metsalu, Nicolas Roses, Manuel Scheiwiller - Nave, Santiago, Chile, 2019. Gabriela Piña, Havi, Gennithalia, Karla Firas, Gelitin, Maria Metsalu, Nicolas Roses, Manuel Scheiwiller - Ceremonia, Traicon, Mexico, 2019.
courtesy YOUNG BOY DANCING GROUP
interview ADINA GLICKSTEIN
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