Arts / Deconstructing stereotypes through writing and dance

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IN a really unconventional approach to the season where Australians usually celebrate the strength of women, Tuggeranong Arts Centre is inviting the Canberra community to re-examine simplistic notions of what it means to be masculine, or feminine through “Femme to be Masc”.

‘Voguing’ with Max Burgess
“Regardless of our gender identities,” they’re saying, “we all portray masculine and feminine qualities and behaviours daily.”
In a one-day workshop and performance project for writers and dancers, the arts centre is inviting people of any background or identity, to consider and explore masculinities.

CEO Rauny Worm says: “The day will start as a group brainstorming session – recalling, analysing, and deconstructing popular ideas of masculinity. The participants will then split into two groups to develop creative responses to those discussions.”

Choreographer Max Burgess will teach the key elements of the hip hop style “Femme” and work with the participants to develop short movement pieces for the evening’s public performance.

Taking its cue from “voguing”, Femme is a style of modern house dance or hip-hop that has its roots in the Harlem ballroom scene of the 1980s and American drag culture. Often featuring men performing in heels, Femme challenges stereotypes of masculinity and femininity and is characterised by a highly exaggerated and stylised androgynous aesthetic.

Participants in the writing stream will work with “Homer”, founding editor Ashley Thomson, to develop short memoirs based on experiences of gendered expectation. Thomson will guide participating writers in developing concepts, strengthening ideas and expression, editing critically, and preparing their work for performance.

The project will culminate in an evening of dance and story sharing with participants from both workshops performing pieces developed throughout the day.

“Femme to be Masc”. Saturday, March 25, workshops, 10am-5pm (including rehearsals). To register for one of the workshops visit

Performance: 6pm-8pm,  free entry.



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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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