Jury Statement International 2023: Eisa Jocson

The expert jury of the Fonds Darstellende Künste honors Eisa Jocson with the Tabori Award International 2022.

Since 2011, choreographer and dancer Eisa Jocson, based in La Union (Philippines), has been creating performances in which choreographed bodies are firmly situated in a socio-political context. Her work focuses on the body politics and entanglements of individual workers in the global socio-economic power relations.

Eisa Jocson's performances examine the vulnerability of overworked, abused bodies, their postcolonial representations in pop culture and gender roles, tackling the most urgent questions of global relations and body imaginations they produce. In her work "Macho Dancer" (2013), for example, she places her own body in a choreography based on the movement repertoire of young male professional dancers in Manila's nightclubs. In this way, she deconstructs both the movements and the role expectations of these dancers, focusing on their social and economic interdependencies. In the performance trilogy “Happyland”, she reflects on the rejections and disadvantages that Philippine dancers experience in an otherwise carefree Disneyland Hong Kong. In “Princes” (2017), she proposes a garishly exaggerated Snow White image, criticising the fact that Philippine dancers are denied the main roles because they do not conform to the western body image of the Disney character. In “Manila Zoo”, the dancers become hybrid beings between humans and animals, and unveil the politics of gazes, of labor economies, dependency and subjugation.

Eisa Jocson has shaken an artistic community both in Philippines and internationally, becoming one of the key voices in contemporary choreography and bluntly pointing out cliches produced by the western gaze - and their concrete, socio-economic and embodied consequences.

The jury of the Fonds Darstellende Künste awards the Tabori Award International 2023, endowed with 15,000 euros, to Eisa Jocson.