- Naked dance performance – Doris Uhlich
Doris Uhlich is a dancer and choreographer based in Austria. According to her website, she
“has developed her own projects since 2006. The choreographer’s work frequently focuses on examining everyday gestures but also artificial ones, such as the strict code of movement of classical ballet in SPITZE (2008) and Come Back (2012). All her performances are investigations into beauty ideals and standards of body image, as in her piece mehr als genug (2009). Since her performance more than naked (2013), Doris Uhlich has also been working on the depiction of nudity free from ideology and provocation.”
There’s a long tradition of nudity in theatrical performances. Consider Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), for instance, who’s credited with being “the creator of modern dance”. Another article (Nude Vibrations: Isadora Duncan’s Creatural Aesthetic) states that Duncan “insists upon the human harnessing of earthly vibrations, the value of nudity and barefootedness”. Doris Uhlich has certainly carried on that philosophy.
Since 1969, full nudity in theatrical productions has less often received attention in choreography than in dramatic productions and musicals, such as Oh! Calcutta! (which did incorporate segments of ballet and interpretive dance). Uhlich’s work occupies an extensive space between theater and pure dance – but plays a much more essential role in the latter, where spoken dialog is absent.
- Naturists visit a Paris film library
In the past 20 years there have been a few occasions when museums have had special events – by reservation only – for an evening or two when visitors are able to be naked. In fact, nudity is usually required. (Shoes may be mandatory or not, depending on local regulations.) Mostly such events have been in Paris – as in the present instance – but a few have taken place in Austria, Italy, Australia, and elsewhere. It would be a well-kept secret if there have been any in the nudity-phobic U. S. Perhaps naturists in the States just aren’t too interested in “high-brow” events of this sort.
According to the first article cited below, “Parisian nudists descended upon the city’s film library on September 13 for an exhibition celebrating a famous French comedian. With COVID-19 protection measures in place, the only mandatory accessory was a mask. The Association des Naturistes de Paris (Paris naturist association) organised the event at La Cinémathèque. … The Paris naturist association has organized regular visits to museums.”
- How looking at myself naked in the mirror empowered me
Most people cringe, at least to some extent, when looking closely at themselves fully naked in a mirror. Partly this is because what they notice is the various ways their bodies fail to be “perfect”. Even though they realize that hardly any bodies actually qualify as “perfect”. But most people probably feel the same way about only their faces. Why else would they be so concerned with having their makeup “just right” (if female) or their facial hair exactly projecting a desired image (if male)?
Another aspect of this is the social conditioning people from a young age feel that there’s something inherently wrong with full nudity itself, that paying too much attention to “private parts” – even one’s own – just isn’t acceptable.
Is it any wonder, then, that most people dread the thought of their naked body being fully exposed to the scrutiny of others – especially strangers?
The article here explains why overcoming these attitudes is so important, and why seeing yourself naked in the mirror is a big help. Although it’s written from a woman’s perspective, much of it is relevant to men as well. Here are some key points, in the writer’s own words:
- Watching myself naked in the mirror was the start of my empowering journey with my body.
- I felt like a strong and independent woman who was ready to take over the world.
- I had learned to stand up for myself, to not believe in what others were trying to make me believe.
- I had found renewed self-confidence in the mirror glaring right back at me, making full eye contact.
- Once you accept and own your own vulnerabilities, there is really nothing that someone else can point out to you which will make you see yourself differently.
- Looking at myself naked every day makes me feel more comfortable in my skin every day.
- Looking at myself naked in the mirror has given me the power to know myself deeply. It has given me the power to ignore what others say about me and to make a move forward.
A key step to fully enjoying naturism is getting very comfortable with the appearance of your naked body just as it is. That doesn’t mean you can’t choose to work on “improving” your appearance – in your own opinion – if you so desire.
- Naturism during lockdown
Probably the most common story about naturism in 2020 is how well naturists have coped with the Covid pandemic. This wasn’t, intuitively, to be expected, since naturism is inherently a social thing – and in-person socializing is severely constrained by the pandemic. Nevertheless, naturist organizations in various countries have reported surges in membership.
There are several articles cited here about this counter-intuitive phenomenon. Here’s another one: ‘There’s nothing weird about being naked’: Inside the lockdown naturism boom. It says that, for example, a spokesperson for British Naturism claimed “The organisation has seen a 400 per cent increase in members since the start of lockdown, rising from 184 to 930 new members since the day restrictions were announced.” The article goes on to offer several anecdotal accounts of how people who are deprived of other sources of enjoyment – and have unexpected free time on their hands – have discovered the significant pleasure of simply being naked.
Another article (One Way People Are Dealing With the Constraints of Lockdown: Being Naked) delves somewhat more deeply into reasons that more people have discovered the pleasures of nakedness and naturism while mostly confined at home. What it boils down to is that confinement at home allows for dispensing with clothes – thus avoiding the trouble of deciding what to wear, getting dressed, and washing clothes that have been worn. Choosing to be naked directly confers additional benefits.
- Going naked allows people to become more aware of their own body, to get used to seeing parts of their body that clothes generally cover, and to become familiar with the overall appearance of their naked body.
- Limitations on where it’s possible to go causes frustration. Frequent nudity has mental health benefits to offset that, since familiarity with one’s naked appearance leads to increased body acceptance, self-confidence, and feeling empowered. (See the article above about looking at oneself naked in a mirror.)
- There are also physical health benefits from eliminating the restrictions of clothes, such as lack of discomfort and skin irritation caused by clothing, freedom for the skin to breathe and evaporate sweat, and improved blood circulation.
- The very pleasurable feeling of total nudity contributes directly to overall happiness and enjoyment of life.
- Wearing nothing while living with others who may also be clothesfree makes being seen naked and seeing others naked become considered normal and unobjectionable.
- Types of healthful fitness activities – such as yoga and using exercise equipment – are easier and more natural without restrictive clothes.
- Europe’s best nude beaches
People interested in finding the “best” experience of almost anything to be had for a limited amount of time, money, and effort naturally seek out advice from reliable sources. Understandably, when you want to visit a clothing-optional beach, you’d like to know which of the possibilities have the nicest sand, friendly people, easy access, good swimming, and so on.
Many lists of “best beaches” consist mainly of subjective opinions of writers who may or may not have criteria similar to yours. OnBuy – a UK online shopping site that claims to be “UK’s most trusted marketplace” – took a somewhat more systematic approach. In early September they consulted Google reviews for 50 European clothing-optional beaches that garnered at least 200 comments. The data was then summarized by averaging the number of “stars” in each review to single out the 10 beaches having the highest average rating. The results are here.
Spain’s Playa de Ses Illetes beach on the island of Formentera came out on top, with an average of 4.8 stars out of a possible 5. Spain had 2 beaches in the top 10. The remaining 8 countries, with 1 beach apiece, were England, Croatia, Portugal, Italy, France, Greece,, Germany, and Belgium. The following list includes some news reports that describe the findings.
- Last weekend’s most interesting race: a naked 5K
There was a report on naked running in the previous collection of articles. The subject also came up before here. The present report is about a 5K run at the Sunny Rest Resort in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. According to this report, there were “hundreds of competitors”. Check out the earlier reports for other such events. The only thing to add is that naked runs like this are a good example of how nudity goes well with activities centered on exercise and fitness.
- Nudity in protests
Nudity is not infrequently found to some extent or other in social or political protests and demonstrations. World Naked Bike Rides are perhaps the best known examples. Louis Abolafia – who (sort of) waged a naked campaign for U. S. president in 1968, using the slogan “What Have I Got to Hide?” – is an instance from more than 50 years ago. There have been many other examples since then.
Last year we had an extensive report on the subject here, and another example in a Black Lives Matter protest here. Well-known celebrities also went naked in a video to encourage voting in last year’s presidential election. (More about that here.) There was also this, about protest in Australia.
The other example, which isn’t from either the U. S. or Australia, is probably more unexpected. Would you guess there’s a long history of women in some African countries using nudity as a means of protest? Evidently, according to a professional historian, there is: Undressing for redress: the significance of Nigerian women’s naked protests.
I’ll let the professor explain:
“Hundreds of women – mostly naked – staged a protest in the northwestern state of Kaduna, Nigeria. Wailing and rolling on the ground, they protested at the killing of people in ongoing attacks on their community. … The protesters, mostly mothers, demanded justice and called on the government, security agencies and international community to intervene. Such naked protests are not new in Nigeria.”
Although the focus of the article is on naked protests by women, it should be clear that using nudity in protests is powerful because it attracts attention to whatever the grievance happens to be. It also demonstrates that protesters will dare to violate social norms in order to communicate their resolve to bring about change.
“The female body is a site of immense power both inside and outside. Through naked protests, women engage in re-scripting and reconfiguring their bodies. These women who have stripped naked to wage a righteous war must be duly acknowledged.”
- Edmonton group clashes with naturists over nude bike ride
As noted, World Naked Bike Rides aren’t protests with just a single focus. WNBR participants are concerned with making various different points, such as the need to eliminate use of fossil fuels, concern for the safety of bike riders on public roads, and (of course) the pleasure and wholesomeness of nudity. But obviously, the fact that large portions of the population dispute or ignore these ideas is what makes demonstrating in favor of them necessary. And so there may well be counter-demonstrations to denigrate some or all of the original demonstators’ views. Although that rather seldom happens with WNBR events, it does occur.
The Canadian province of Alberta is just north of the U. S. state of Montana. People in both places tend to be politically and socially very “conservative”. That means they’re very strongly in favor of “freedom” for themselves – and just as strongly opposed to freedom for people they don’t like or agree with. As a result, the “conservative” freedom lovers are interested only in their own selfishly imagined “freedom” not to see naked people in a World Naked Bike Ride. Of course, they’re almost as fervently opposed to the WNBR message of curtailing the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. Especially since the nudity in WNBR events is very effective in calling attention to the event’s environmental message.
- Student rides her horse completely naked in film to urge other riders to wear safety helmet
It’s an interesting development that clean nudity is being used to attract attention to worthy causes. In this case it’s a rather limited purpose: encouraging riders in (competitive?) horse-riding events to wear safety helmets. The general idea is a legitimate use of nudity. Of course, hardly anyone who notices this story is likely to be someone the precaution is intended for. World Naked Bike Rides are a far batter example of this sort of thing. Also many calendars featuring (very) limited nudity are produced in order to donate sales profits for worthy causes. Why should naturists pay attention to any of this? Perhaps because it isn’t necessarily a self-serving “exploitation” of nudity, but rather has the effect of normalizing nudity. (Granted, personal attention-seeking could also figure in this.)
- Get your kit off: this skinny-dipper is writing a NZ guidebook and is looking for models
It’s summer now in New Zealand, and naturist blogger Kate Uwins, currently residing in Kiwi-land, who has been exploring the country for three years, is putting together a guide book for skinny-dipping there. New Zealand is probably just behind England itself in being the most naturist-friendly, English-speaking place on the planet. Kate thinks NZ “is just the best place in the world to skinny dip. You’ve got about a million beautiful places to go swimming; beaches, rivers, lakes, waterfalls. They’re just around every corner”. And she points out that “There are no snakes, no crocodiles, nothing dangerous that’s going to get you.” (Not to mention horrendous wildfires.) Of course, visitors should be cautioned to be wary of the explosive volcanic islands. Several other naturist bloggers are currently attempting to support their blogging efforts by offering for sale things like guide books – and this should be considered a good thing, to the extent that it promotes healthy naturism.
- Midnight bath
Kate’s new blog itself is a fine example of assertive naturist advocacy. In this post she makes a number of good points. For starters: “It is astonishing me how easy it seems to be to get random strangers to get their kit off. Within minutes of meeting people, we are naked together! This is fantastic! … I’m talking about broad daylight, sober, non-sexual nudity that leads to joy, smiles, and great stories.” And: “What better way to escape the craziness of this modern world: the Trumps and brexits, the political madness and the consumerist chaos, than to disappear for a little while, strip off your clothes and reconnect with nature and yourself.” And: “Why is it that we are so scared of others seeing our naked bodies? Are we scared of being laughed at or scared of it turning into something sexual? Is it not possible to be naked and there to be no sexual connotations? Is it not possible to see our bodies as something other than a sexual object?”
Non-naturists and people still new to naturism may disbelieve such utopian ideas. “Can you, could I, really do that?” Sadly, naturism in the past century hasn’t really advanced much, if at all. Timidity isn’t a winning strategy. We need many more believers like Kate.
- Metrópolis – Intramurs I. Spencer Tunick
Have you ever been one of the lucky few to take part in a Spencer Tunick photoshoot? Probably not, but here’s a spectacular 25-minute documentary video of a Tunick photoshoot during the Intramurs art festival in Valencia, Spain. Tunick may not consider himself (personally) a naturist, but his work over several decades is certainly a wonderful testament to the beauty, allure, and expressiveness of nudity. The video’s narration is in Spanish, but there’s an accompanying transcription. (It’s also in Spanish, but can be translated using Google.)
An article (also in Spanish) of the making of the video: El making off de la multitudinaria foto de desnudos bajo las Torres de Serranos
- Bodypainting. It keeps fascinating me.
Bodypainting is a visual art form quite different from Tunick’s photography – but it’s even more appropriate for naturists. It allows for imagining the naked body in fascinatingly different ways. It must be far more enjoyable for the model than trying to stand motionless in a single pose for an extended period of time. And also, for the “model” (or rather the “canvas”), it provides the exhilarating experience of using one’s body to be a literal medium of artistic expression – like a dancer, but in a very different way.
- Progressive Social Nudity — A Year in Review
The New York City organization known as Just Naked describes its intention as “to create nude events that look and feel like any other popular clothed event, but with just naked participants.” The goal is specifically described as “normalizing naked everywhere” – something that most naturists also, probably, see as a desirable goal. The events are basically private parties, held in the NYC area, and organized by participants at their homes or other suitable places. The event must be nonsexual, and everyone’s expected to be naked. In other words, just the sort of ordinary parties any naturist might organize or attend. In order to attend an event, one must purchase a ticket, which presumably keeps the attendance at a manageable level and may compensate the organizer for expenses. According to the article “We held upwards of 70 events this year, sold over 700 tickets, and turned dozens of first-timers on to the benefits of social nudity. And we had a blast doing it!” According to the website, there are currently four events scheduled for the remainder of January.
However, there’s a problem – a severe gender imbalance problem. The article states “sometime around the middle of summer we noticed that most of our events were skewing 9-to-1 in favor of men. We had women leaving the events before they even started, and most never returned.” So events are now designated as “Open to All” or “Women Only”. That’s rather draconian, however, so another category has been defined as “Femme Fwd” (described at the link), which gives women more control over attendance by men. The details are a bit complicated: “These events will only be available to men who are vetted by a woman who has attended our events.” Some policy similar to this might help with the gender imbalance found at most naturist venues. But in the long term steps need to be taken to make naturist events and venues intrinsically more comfortable for women. One way to accomplish that is for clubs to put efforts directly into promoting naturism to women, so that many more will attend – as well as doing what’s necessary for everyone to have an enjoyable experience.
Here’s a news article on the club: There’s almost nothing you can’t do naked if you’re in this club
- Retired Miami Cop Now Performing Naked Ventriloquy Show
Whether or not you’re particularly talented in some sort of performance, doing it fully naked will probably attract more notice than otherwise. (And I’m not saying there isn’t talent in this particular example.) The type of performance doesn’t really matter – one that’s a serious art form such as making music, dancing, gymnastics, or acting. Or one perhaps a bit easier to master, such as comedy, reading poetry, or ventriloquism. There have been examples (sometimes many) of each sort of performance done in the nude before an audience. Naturists should welcome – and patronize, when possible – much, much more of this, because it’s another way to normalize nudity.
- How to visit a Milan museum totally naked
The event is scheduled for January 18, 2020. Unfortunately, it’s already sold out. So even if you reside in the Milan area, you’ve missed the boat. But this is yet another instance of an art museum providing an occasion where visitors may explore the galleries completely naked. Sometimes clothing is optional, but nudity is often required, as in this case. Considering how quickly such events usually sell out, it’s surprising they aren’t offered more often, and by many additional museums. In a metropolitan area of sufficient size, why not once a month – or even once a week? Could it be that naturists or others who’re open-minded about nudity just aren’t that interested in fine art? They should be, given how often nudity is the subject of much painting, sculpture, and performance art.
Here’s more information, if you happen to read Italian.