Photograph courtesy of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.
Photo: Wendy Workman

Bread and Circus (1985)

DANCENOISE (Anne Iobst and Lucy Sexton) explores female body politics in Bread and Circus (1985). Throughout the performance, DANCENOISE enacts a series of haptic movements wearing various costumes and interacting with female sex dolls. The kitchen becomes a site-specific context for these actions, in addition to being a site of women’s liberation and empowerment. Through a queer-feminist lens, the performers critique mainstream ideas of femininity and patriarchal representations of women. Together, DANCENOISE conjures a radical agenda that explodes social constructions of female identity in patriarchal culture.

DANCENOISE is a dance-based performance art group created by Anne Iobst and Lucy Sexton. Since 1983, they have performed throughout New York City nightclubs and theaters including the W.O.W. Café Theatre, Pyramid Club, 8BC, PS122, Franklin Furnace, The Kitchen, and Lincoln Center. The group hosted a weekly cabaret during the 1980s at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in the East Village. DANCENOISE has performed, taught, and toured at the Phenomenon Festival (Jerusalem), Queer Up North (Manchester), Vienna Fest Wochen (Vienna), Mayfest (Glasgow), New York Live (Osaka), and numerous squatted houses across Europe. The group received a Bessie Award in 1989 for their performance All the Rage at PS122. In 2015, DANCENOISE exhibited a week-long retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Chelsea and inaugurated the museum’s new theater space with a performance. The New Yorker’s theatre critic, Hilton Als, hails DANCENOISE as “One of the best performances I’ve attended in ages…DANCENOISE reminded us of what joy felt like as they took apart serious issues.”