FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2016
By Toni Leago Valle
Women have always been conditioned to obsess on their bodies and sex.
CRACKED, the evening-length dance/theatre concert by Toni Leago Valle, explores how women still obsess on “the perfect size” and “Pretty Woman” ideals. It is a painful but tender exploration of nakedness, self-image, sex and surrender.
Valle grew up in the post-60’s era where women were supposedly given the freedom to control and choose their bodies, lifestyle and sexual behavior. 50 years later, women are still bombarded with dictates on appropriate body image, behavior, and sexual etiquette through parents, community, media, and politics. Valle states, “I first presented CRACKED in 2006. I find that 10 years later, its still the same – I am frustrated that women are subtly conditioned from birth to value our bodies as commerce - what can I trade my body for - money, a better job, a home, social status, security, marriage? I am forced to compete against all other women with my image. I have never been satisfied while looking in the mirror and every female I have ever met has felt this way, regardless of age.”
CRACKED is a fusion of writing, dance, theatre, and raw video footage. Valle reveals, "I created characters with something to say. These characters needed more than one medium to portray their stories – dance was not sufficient. I specifically chose both mature and young performers who can internalize the stories as well as work in a variety of dance styles.” 6 Degrees company members include veteran performers Teresa Chapman, Priscilla Nathan-Murphy, and Rebecca Valls, and newcomers Gabriela Luna, Tyler Scarberry, and Bianca Torres-Aponte.
CRACKED gives multiple experiences through one central character in order to broaden people’s awareness of the impact of women’s survival skills and the perception of self in our current society. Often, these experiences are comical, like "My Botticelli Belly” – Valle’s tongue-in-cheek conversation with her stomach – from food to bathing suits to childbearing, and “Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Milk for Free,” a projection of the overt, ridiculous messages girls receive about sex. The ironic “Interview for a Date,” is a video of Valle being critiqued for her dating experience, motherhood skills, and social expectations. When asked what she excels in, she blurts, “Sex! I’m really good at sex!”
Other moments are haunting, filled with shame and loneliness, like Valle critiquing her body in the mirror, or the bourbon glass and
drug references throughout the show. “In the Closet,” is a battle fought with the guilt that accompanies sexual promiscuity. “I Can’t Let Go,” unabashedly chronicles her unending grief over an aborted child – grief she was forced to carry alone due to its social stigma.
"These are all consequences of learning that beauty and sex trumped all else, "Valle comments, "I believed I had no value outside of my body; that my soul, my brains, my intuition, were suspect, and
therefore, my enemies, and to be ignored. Everything in this show happened before my 23rd birthday. This is what we are doing to our daughters."
However, CRACKED has a positive message: Valle’s honest, silly, and often hard-to-watch experiences reveal that its time to shed these outdated restrictions and ideals, even if its one woman at a time. "The first time I presented CRACKED, I wanted to share how I found my own voice – a quiet whisper from within to embrace my Body, and my Past. Today I am not content to let it be about me. That voice wants to empower other women to embrace themselves. Our experiences do not define us; they make us alive."
CRACKED premieres May 19-21, 2016, 8:00PM, at Jose Quintero Lab Theatre, UH Central Campus, 3351 Cullen, Houston, TX 77204. For tickets, visit www.6degreesdance.org. for more information, call 713/409-2838 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
press photos available here