The recent government review of the UK Gender Recognition Act fell short of promises to reform and remove need for a medical diagnosis in order to self-identify, omitting legal recognition for non-binary persons or support for minors. Toxic online abuse by those purporting to champion women’s rights and the rise of far-right forums have contributed to a trebling in anti-trans hate crimes since 2014, with Great Britain placed 10th across Europe in terms of LGBTQI+ liberties according to ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Europe Map, rating particularly low for hate crime, legal gender recognition and bodily integrity.
It is against this backdrop we present the world premiere of Cassils’ first piece of contemporary dance, Human Measure (2021), building upon Cassils’ knowledge of kinesiology, martial arts and sports science to reinterpret Yves Kline’s Anthropometries paintings. In addition to being an artist Yves Kline was a judo master. Kline published The Foundations of Judo (1954), a book illustrated with hundreds of photographs of Klein performing the movements that form the basis of judo.
Cassils references this work to demonstrate movements grounded in oppression and resilience, culminating as the dancers’ bodies impress a stain upon a giant cyanotype – to be exposed the color of “International Yves Klein Blue”. A collaboration with choreographer Jasmine Albuquerque, who has worked with the likes of St Vincent, Devandra Banhart, Laura Marling and Mike Mills, the performance will draw upon personal safety, vulnerability and problematises visibility in a moment of heightened violence against the GNC/Trans community.
This announcement is accompanied by an open call for five UK-based, transgender, gender non conforming and non-binary professional dancers, who will join Cassils and Albuquerque for a deep dive, two-week rehearsal process culminating in the premiere, both for in-person audiences and streamed online. This call is to everyone. We particularly welcome applications from Black and ethnically diverse candidates.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Human Measure was developed with the support of the Paul D. Fleck Fellowship residency at Banff Centre, and with support from Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre, initiated by Carol A. Stakenas and Jacqueline Bell.
With additional thanks to Canadian Stage for their continued support.