“The Swan: A Serial Killer Ballet” is an immersive performance following the gruesome musings of a killer who uses Grindr to seduce and kill men in order to create a deranged variation of the “the Dying Swan.” Throughout the ballet I present vignettes of gay sex, blood, ritual, and queer rage.
The audience passes through a wall of caution tape into a dimly lit room with a bed surrounded by campy plastic skulls, real bones, incense, tutus, and plastic taped to the walls. They are immersed in my sinister glittering head space.I invite my first victim into my bed after asking someone from the audience to read a script transcribed from Grindr conversations. Amidst our sexual encounter, I tactfully poison him with a cookie. Once unconscious I cut off his penis. It is my trophy. Following my kills I dance to invoke the swan. The dances are panicked, sloppy, and animalistic. Afterwards I ask men to help me carry his bloody emasculated body to a large wooden altar into a second room. I’m following an old magic trick described in Reginald Scot’s the Discoverie of Witchcraft ,“The Decollation of John Baptiste” I need one victim to be the head, and the other the body. This illusion is my variation of “the Dying Swan.”
I am obsessed with identifying the patriarchy present in each victim in order justify the murders. After a toxic BDSM ritual, I find flaw and homophobia in my second victim. With two emasculated bodies I can create the decollation, an offering for the swan. The whole performance is a ritual to find liberation from the violence of gay men who assimilate to cultural standards of misogyny and homophobia in order to find acceptance and grace in the world. By the end I have murdered two men, cut off their (rubber)dicks, and had asked the audience to adorn my bloody body in clothes pins with feathers.
The satin is ripping off my pointe shoes as the feathered close-pins cling to my bare skin like St. Sebastian’s arrows. Scattered Bourrées atop the altar with my victims deliver “the Decollation of John Baptiste.” Video projections with swans killing swans accompany a ghostly distortion of Camille Saint-Saens “le Cygne.” You can hear blood dripping from the altar onto a giant paper mache swan head. Bloodied and triumphant I am transformed into that ethereal being: The Swan.