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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

James Graham's Homeroom Makes Sustained Eye Contact With Platonic Love

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge ROBBIE SWEENEY
  • Robbie Sweeney

The focus of James Graham Dance Theatre (JGDT) for the last three years, Homeroom debuts at ODC Theater next Thursday, Dec. 10 for a three-night run. The IZZIE (Isadora Duncan Award)-winning Graham's duet with Sebastian Grubb, this full-length dance theater piece examines male relationship, the tension between athletics and dance, and simple connections between human beings. Having developed out of Graham's earlier work, especially 2012-13's We Can Sit Together in Homeroom, Homeroom builds on his study and eventual certification in Gaga.

Gaga, which comes from Ohad Naharin's Batsheva Dance Company, is a movement language whose fiery manifesto includes phrases like "We enjoy the burning sensation in our muscles, we are aware of our explosive power and sometimes we use it." Applied to male bonding, it dives into an analysis of power from BDSM to prison dynamics o the hierarchies that develop in nature, away from civilization's corrupting influence. Graham and Grubb, who met on the set of a tUnE-yArDs video, have collaborated for six years, the last three with JGDT.

Divided into three sections, Homeroom begins with a look at fraternal and familial relations (as well as the connections between soldiers and colleagues) before questioning the limits of platonic affection. In particular, the arrangement between a gay man and a straight man, to no small extent a taboo in their respective communities, adds another dimension to this bracingly honest look at platonic male love. Masculine intimacy, so frequently misunderstood and fraught with conflicted eroticism, finally gets an candid appraisal in the mirror.

Homeroom, Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 10-12, 8 p.m., $18-$35, at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St.,

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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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