There is a lot of dick-waving going on in The Rooster, most of it metaphorical, some of it actual. Based on the character of Al-Deek, the Rooster, in traditional Lebanese and Palestinian folk dance, this contemporary piece explores power and chauvinism through the medium of men acting like cocks.
Featuring four powerfully physical male dancers, the piece starts at dawn with a crowing, strutting rooster, thrusting his pelvis provocatively at the audience and sinuously wriggling his hips. He oozes sex, power, masculinity. Throughout the work, the balance of power transfers from man to man, denoted by fighting over and seizing a raggedy knotted rope – the Masbaha. Swung in circles from each dancer’s fist, mouth or even foot, it’s an unmistakeably phallic symbol of male power. There are failed, violent coups, soundtracked by stamping feet and moaned words from Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani.
In turn, the subjugated losers are whipped and thrown across the stage as we watch the Masbaha move from ruler to ruler, tracking the balance of power as it shifts. Finally we realise one man has not yet had his hands on the string. Rummaging in the waistband of his baggy trousers, he pulls out an enormous, fat rope of cloth, swinging it in lazy arcs around his head. At a time when more women are taking up positions of power and leadership around the world, it’s a pointed reminder of how so much of politics appears to be male-dominated dick-waving.
Partial Memory is a very different yet equally powerful piece. It draws on dancer Ata Khattab’s memories of his childhood in Palestine, focusing on his feelings for his father who was imprisoned by the occupying Israeli forces. An old photo of Khattab and his father is projected onto the performer’s body as he struggles to connect his lost childhood with his feelings today, his visceral howls expressing those things of which he cannot speak. (KA)
The Rooster/Partial Memory is on at 14.30 at Dance Base unril August 14th. Wheelchair Access, Level Access - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/rooster-and-partial-memory
More on the El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troup: http://www.el-funoun.org/
On Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nizar_Qabbani
'The Rooster' – the poem on which this work is based: https://allpoetry.com/poem/9658324-The-Rooster--and-The-Dictator-by-inam
The long and short of it - gay men's perception of penis size: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26502462_The_long_and_short_of_it_Gay_men%27s_perceptions_of_penis_size
Napoleon had a 1.5 inch penis: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/04/02/french-emperor-napoleon-bonaparte-15-inch-penis-_n_5076644.html
The politics of the white male penis: http://thoughtleader.co.za/gcobaniqambela/2013/10/02/the-politics-of-the-white-male-penis/