A Columbia University student is trying to represent the horrors and trials that gay men in Chechnya went through with a dance documentary.
Kosta Karakashyan is a senior studying the therapeutic uses of dance. On top of that, he is engaging in the art of dance through choreographing for the Columbia Ballet Collaborative and two upcoming music videos.
But it’s a dance documentary called "Waiting For Color" that has gotten our attention.
Last month, Karakashyan released the below video of himself using his body and dance to interpret 33 individual testimonials from survivors of the Chechen Gay Purge.
News of the Gay Purge happening in Chechnya spread last year, and horror stories of the abuse, torture, sexual assault, and murder of gay men haunted news sites.
Hearing of these tragedies and testimonies, Karakashyan decided to start working on his own video to express those true horrors.
“We started making the soundscape with my composer, Jude Icarus, and it slowly started coming together,” Karakashyan told LGBTQ source Them. “I would read the material and try to come up with how it would live in my body. I worked a lot with tension, where we hold tension in the body, to make those contorted positions that are based on the sound and emotional impact of the stories.”
Warning, the stories are graphic and the dance is sobering, but the message and tales are deeply true. Everyone should watch the video below. For the men who have been persecuted and punished for merely existing, that is the first thing we can do.
In addition, the next step that we can all take is to support organizations like the Russian LGBT Network, which has supported and rescued many victims of the Chechen Gay Purge.