Wakashu, Timeless Beauty of the Third Gender at The Secret Theatre

Akiko Tokuoka Presents Wakashu, Timeless Beauty of the Third Gender

Saturday, November 12 and Sunday, November 13 at 7:00 p.m.

The Secret Theatre – 3802 61st Street, Woodside, Queens

Admission: $35 | $30 in advance

New York-based performance artist Akiko Tokuoka presents Wakashu, Timeless Beauty of the Third Gender this weekend at The Secret Theatre.

This dance and performance piece celebrates gender freedom in a mashup and cultural exchange that merges the lush beauty of Edo period erotic illustrations with Glam and Club aesthetics. The cast of queer-positive talent from the world-renowned Iconic House of Ninja will Vogue to traditional Japanese melodies and perform Kabuki to house beats.

In creating this work, Tokuoka was originally inspired by New York Japan Society’s 2017 exhibit A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints. Wakashu (若衆)—roughly translated into English as “beautiful youths”—originated in the Edo period of Japan, when certain young men who had reached puberty, but had not yet attained full-fledged manhood, became eligible for sexual relations with both women and men as a “third gender.”

Since the 1980s, Queer and creative young people in the West have been obsessed with Japanese culture. At the same time, in Tokuoka’s world, her Japanese peers who lived outside the norm were fascinated with American culture. The Wakashu, Timeless Beauty of the Third Gender performance bridges those worlds while creating something new. The accompanying music is derived from Japanese melodies, played on shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen and overlaid with house beats. The choreography blends styles from Kabuki to Vogueing.

The cast of Wakashu includes Tokuoka’s collaborators from the Iconic House of Ninja. Dancers Javier Madrid (aka ICONIC Javier Ninja) and John-Deric Mitchell (aka Star Ninja) star with DJ/music production by Steve Gonzalez (aka DJ Chip Chop) and artistic direction by Melanie Johl.

To purchase your tickets, please visit Wakashu’s Linktree.