CRACKED, the evening-length dance/theatre concert by Toni Leago Valle, explores how women still obsess on “the perfect size” and “Pretty Woman” ideals. It is a painful but tender exploration of nakedness, self-image, sex and surrender.
Valle grew up in the post-60’s era where women were supposedly given the freedom to control and choose their bodies, lifestyle and sexual behavior. 50 years later, women are still bombarded with dictates on appropriate body image, behavior, and sexual etiquette through parents, community, media, and politics. Valle states, “I first presented CRACKED in 2006. I find that 10 years later, its still the same – I am frustrated that women are subtly conditioned from birth to value our bodies as commerce - what can I trade my body for - money, a better job, a home, social status, security, marriage? I am forced to compete against all other women with my image. I have never been satisfied while looking in the mirror and every female I have ever met has felt this way, regardless of age.”
CRACKED gives multiple experiences through one central character in order to broaden people’s awareness of the impact of women’s survival skills and the perception of self in our current society. Often, these experiences are comical, like "My Botticelli Belly” – Valle’s tongue-in-cheek conversation with her stomach – from food to bathing suits to childbearing, and “Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Milk for Free,” a projection of the overt, ridiculous messages girls receive about sex.
“In the Closet,” is a battle fought with the guilt that accompanies sexual promiscuity. “I Can’t Let Go,” unabashedly chronicles her unending grief over an aborted child – grief she was forced to carry alone due to its social stigma. "These are all consequences of learning that beauty and sex trumped all else, "Valle comments, "I believed I had no value outside of my body; that my soul, my brains, my intuition, were suspect, and therefore, my enemies, and to be ignored. Everything in this show happened before my 23rd birthday. This is what we are doing to our daughters."