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Quicksand and Skin

A dance show featuring naked boys twerking, high camp, crack binges and drag queens

Paul Charbonneau and Roney Lewis star in the debut of Hari Krishnan’s new dance show, Skin, at Buddies.

If Hari Krishnan is to be believed, it’s sort of an accident that all nine of the dancers in his current production turned out to be gay. Though openly “uber-fabulous” himself, when holding auditions to select his team, he insists he chose them for how they moved, not whom they fucked.

“Thanks to the Pink Universe, all of them happened to be gay,” he says. “Ultimately, it turned out to be important to the work because sexual identity organically informs their emotional and physical presence onstage. It’s meant to be an authentic performance that comes from personal experience and transmits a visceral connection that would otherwise have to be faked, which this particular audience at this venue wouldn’t buy.”

The evening consists of two parts: a remount of last year’s hit Quicksand and the premiere of Krishnan’s newest work, Skin. Buddies artistic director Brendan Healy saw the original piece and invited Krishnan to present it again, along with a to-be-developed companion work. While Quicksand began by examining the role of gay men in the often homophobic world of ballet, Skin took a more back-door approach (pun intended), looking at homo tendencies among the Greek gods.

From there, the team began to explore rites of passage experienced in their own lives. One of Krishnan’s significant moments was his first trip to Fire Island’s notorious cruising grounds.

“I was scandalized!” he says. “Riveted not just with the easily available, anonymous, rampant sex, but also the power dynamics of race used in negotiating that very short marriage of the moment. It was a kind of beach-blanket political tango.”

Set to a score by British composer Niraj Chag that Krishan describes as ‘twerking while crashing off a crack binge,” Skin features his trademark gender-flexible performance style and plenty of exposed flesh.

“So you’ve got naked boys twerking, high camp, crack binges, drag queens and fucking on the beach,” he says. “If that’s not a sales pitch for a dance show, I don’t know what is.”