Best Bloody Spectacle: 'The Swan: A Serial Killer Ballet' by Alexander D’Agostino

As a narrative, performance artist and dancer D’Agostino’s “The Swan,” performed at E.M.P. Collective and later at LabBodies’ Performance Art Review, at times felt clumsy, its text a rushed attempt to wed the dramatic choreography of “The Dying Swan” ballet to the transgressive universe of Dennis Cooper’s George Miles novels. As a theatrical experience, however, D’Agostino delivered a series of tableaux vivants on par with the bloody and baroque beauty found in Peter Greenaway films. An online hook-up turns homicidal in the performance’s first act, a monologue-driven navel gaze of stock disturbia. But in the performance’s second half, D’Agostino delivers a visual knockout, ingeniously blending balletic movement to Grand Guignol excess: The jock-strapped, tutu-clad, and pointe-shoe-wearing D’Agostino, drenched in stage blood, invites the audience to clothes-pin individual feathers to his body, transforming him into a gorgeously disturbing and disturbingly gorgeous bird-man of prey.

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