Grammatically (In)correct is a poetry/dance collaboration to show the embodiment of shame as it gets stuck in our throats, sinks into our stomachs, and tightens our lips. Each artist in this duo identifies as gender non-binary and uses the pronouns “they/them/theirs” (the typical options being “she/her/hers” or “he/him/his”); the frequent reaction by others who do not understand is resistance. Often, people employ the argument that “they” is grammatically incorrect. We fundamentally question the motives behind this reaction, and this piece responds by exploring the shame this invalidation produces in our own bodies. What does it mean to be a grammatically incorrect body? How does such a body move through the world? How does shame move through the body, if at all? Shame is a painful social emotion that represents the accumulation of other stuck emotions including fear, anger and sadness. It is a comparison of oneself to an ideal societal standard that is stored and hidden in our bodies. In order to explore shame, we must use movement to shake up what gets stuck in our bodies.
Photo by: Megan Newton Photography.
Will you see me?
©Megan Newton Photography 2019 All Rights Reserved
Photography by Megan Newton
Poetry by Hayden Dansky
Music by Hozier, performed by Matthew Cox
This project aims to capture and pause and hold what happens in the liminal space of transition. It is an attempt to shine light on the experience in the spaces between the to-do lists and physical labor, between the dysphoria and freedom. This piece specifically is an attempt to tell the story of the intersection between Hayden’s trans identity and the conflictual relationship with their mother that was eternally paused in time through her death.
Telling our stories gives words and space to the complicated and turbulent intersections in our lives so we know we aren’t alone in them. Because through that connection, we can continue to carve out space for our existence in a world not shaped to hold us, but destined to change. And through that connection, we continue to build faith that another world is possible, and that we deserve to have a voice in it.
Together we have decided to share this photo essay because there is a dearth of non-binary and transgender narratives in media; because being seen and heard is essential to the human experience, especially for marginalized people; because non-binary and transgender people are fighting every day, with every breath for acceptance. Our hope is that this art might transcend the fear that separates us from each other and from ourselves, reconnecting us to our humanness and to our deeply shared desire to be seen and understood, and to say to those who are struggling in unimaginable ways with their identity, ‘you are not alone’.
ShapeShifter is a collaboration that centers around the choreographed movement of Mandy Hackman set to the music of Miles Wilder. They take many forms. ShapeShifter performs in small spaces like coffee shop stages and house shows, shifting shapes on furniture and other common objects. Hayden does poetry with them.