Dance, drag and defection are all part of Monique Jenkinson's 'Instrument'

Courtesy PhotoMonique Jenkinson created her new solo work “Instrument” using references from an exhibition of Rudolf Nureyev’s costumes at the de Young Museum.

“Odin, dva, tri, chetyre, pyat, shest, syem, vosem.” Monique Jenkinson — aka drag artist Fauxnique — repeatedly counts to eight in Russian, evoking a Soviet-era ballet teacher.

She leans on a table, slipping until she is collapsed on the floor, all the while trying to look dignified. This is “Instrument,” Jenkinson’s solo work opening Thursday at CounterPulse in The City.

#link_box { width: 150px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #8A0808; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 14px; text-align: center; } #link_box h2 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 10px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

Inspired by the current de Young Museum exhibit featuring costumes from legendary ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev’s career, Jenkinson uses themes the exhibit brought up for her personally as source material for “Instrument.”

“When thinking and reading about Nureyev, there is much about defection. In a post-Soviet culture, we don’t talk about defection anymore; now we talk more about political asylum. I began to think about my own experience with ballet as a territory and culture that I had to decide [at a very young age] to make my permanent home or to leave. I decided to leave. But I also kept going back. Every time I went back, I figured out, in a different way, that there was no way I could live there,” Jenkinson says.

Presented in partnership with Dancers’ Group, CounterPulse and the de Young Museum, “Instrument” explores themes such as defection, drag, aging, gender, decay, spectacle and the tragedy inherent in the practice, preservation and translation of dance.

Jenkinson invited Miguel Gutierrez, Chris Black and Amy Seiwert, three local choreographers with different aesthetics and backgrounds, to create movements for her to perform.

“The choreographers will create movement on my body. This phrase, ‘on my body,’ common in traditional choreographic parlance, evokes the creation of a bespoke garment, but makes the distinction that the movement does not come from the dancer’s body,” Jenkinson says. “I imagine that this image of ‘putting on’ movement — in line with my ever-present obsession with clothing and costumes — will directly refer to the garments on display in the de Young’s exhibition ‘Rudolph Nureyev: A Life in Dance.’”

Jenkinson lies on her side. She rolls over, slowly dragging herself upright. Eventually she ends in fifth position, the iconic ballet dancer stance.

“The idea of ballet itself as drag and of my defection from it starts to get slippery and interesting for me when I confront how, as a contemporary dancer, ballet still resides in my body and still feels like ‘home’ even though no one would mistake me for a ballerina,” she says. “I get a particular pleasure from doing and watching ballet that I don’t get from contemporary dance. This fascinates me and is one of the foundations of the piece.”

artsCounterPulseDanceentertainmentMonique Jenkinson

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Police release an image a cracked windshield on a Prius that Cesar Vargas allegedly tried to carjack. Vargas, who was shot by police a short time later, can be seen in videos jumping on the windshield and pushing a Muni passenger who disembarked from a bus. (Courtesy SFPD
SFPD releases videos of deadly police shooting

Cesar Vargas killed after reports of carjacking with knife

New legislation would make sure supportive housing tenants don’t pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner))
Supportive housing tenants could get more help paying the rent

Supportive housing tenants struggling to pay rent could soon see their payments… Continue reading

Organizers of the San Francisco International Arts Festival had planned to use parts of Fort Mason including the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery to host performances by about a dozen Bay Area arts groups. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Arts festival sues city over permit denial

Organizer says outdoor performances should be treated like demonstrations, religious gatherings

An oversight body for San Francisco’s mental health programs may be restructured after questions were raised about its management and lack of effectiveness. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Behavioral health oversight body looks for new start — and staff — after mismanagement

Members of an oversight body for San Francisco’s behavioral health programs said… Continue reading

The City requires the recycling or reuse of debris material removed from a construction project site. <ins>(Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Permits proposed for haulers of construction debris to achieve zero-waste

San Francisco plans to tighten regulations on the disposal of construction and… Continue reading

Most Read