Move Like A Man: a short film by Bunny Kinney


TextNellie Eden

Why do we think of particular motions or noises as masculine?

Welcome to Behind The Masc: Rethinking Masculinity, a campaign dedicated to exploring what ‘masculinity’ means in 2019. With photo stories shot in Tokyo, India, New York, and London and in-depth features exploring mental health, older bodybuilders, and myths around masculinity – we present all the ways people around the world are redefining traditional tropes.

From manspreading and wolf whistling, to chest-puffing and grunting, the movements and sounds we think of as ‘masculine’ say a lot about how we position men societally. As part of Behind The Masc: Rethinking Masculinity we knew we wanted to talk about how binding, and in turn liberating, it is to consider dance as gendered. 

Directed by Bunny Kinney, dancers, both self-shot and filmed on iPhone, were tasked to respond to Obongjayar’s track “Endless” both at Wayne McGregor dance studios and in their own personal spaces. The brief was to ‘move like a man’ to the music, with the idea that masculinity is a learnt behaviour and system of semiotics and that we can all be playful with that – whatever our given gender. 

We spoke to some of the dancers from Move Like A Man, about what shape masculinity takes when put through the lens of dance and music for them. 

ALEXANDER APLERKU, WRITER AND PERFORMER 

“Masculinity is performance and it’s part of a spectrum. Guys and girls and people who are everything in between, are some parts masculine and feminine. For me as a man, I used to play up the masculine traits, but sometimes I like to tap into those feminine sides. That can come out in what I wear or my interests. For me the future of masculinity in neutral”

ED MUNROE, DANCER AND MODEL 

“I’m not the most masculine person. When I’m asked to ‘dance like a man’ I feel like it means that statement means something different to everyone. I typically dance more like a ‘girl’ but I don't see why that isn’t masculine. Just because society says ‘that’s how girls or boys move…’ I find myself somewhere in between.”

MAGNUS, DANCER 

“For me masculinity is a form of expression. Stereotypically it’s strength and power. In ballet you’re encouraged to be quite masculine. I’ve been told before to be ‘less like a fairy’ and be more ‘masculine’. In contemporary dance it feel a loss less gendered and you can express yourself more freely.”

MALIKISCRYCRYCRY, CHOREOGRAPHER 

“I identify as non-binary. For me, masculinity means accountability, radical responsibility, something that can be relied upon. Masculinity is a gender concept, and all gender concepts are on a spectrum for me. I have a really complex relationship to it. I grew up in matriarchal household. The energy I was raised with was very feminine and I’m attached to that.”

HOLLY BLAKEY, CHOREOGRAPHER

“I think the future of masculinity is hopeful. The joy for me would be if masculinity and being male were allowing of being all things. I think that would be incredibly freeing for all of us. The idea of masculinity is enormously loaded. That word and its kind of theme tune exist in many different ways of life. Masculinity doesn’t have one meaning. My dancers respond to that question, ‘what does masculinity mean to you?’, and I’ve found that in their responses, the idea can be imposing and restrictive for their minds and bodies.”

Read more from Behind The Masc: Rethinking Masculinity here.

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