Tammy Johnson and Larry Arrington are artists in residence this summer at Studio 210. This conversation, which took place in San Francisco at the end of May, highlights their perspectives on social justice movements and aspects of their residency that dismantle dance “systems,” meaning residencies, funding applications, performances, conversations, and criticism that create what Larry calls “the hubris of the present.” Tickets for the Studio 210 Residency Performances are available here. If you are interested in more information about the residency, Tammy and Larry were interviewed for In Dance by Jesse Hewit and their conversation highlights the multiple ways that dance and performance are vital to our contemporary political landscape.
Tammy: A theme for me that’s prominent is the relationship between revolution and healing, in both my dance work and my social justice work. It’s becoming evident to me that what’s missing in social justice work is this component of healing: there are a lot of broken people. Broken people have demands that are broken, and it’s hard to see clearly and feel clearly when you’re broken. Healing is part of social justice movements that, I think, has been silenced and shut away and it’s desperately needed. Read More
This conversation took place in March and an excerpt of this interview appears in the May issue of In Dance, published by Dancers’ Group. I asked Anna Martine Whitehead if the entire conversation could be posted here because there are so many incisive ideas about equity, access, and spaces where people are making and sharing their work.
kate mattingly: What do you think of the recent conversations about access to opportunities for women in dance?
Anna Martine Whitehead: I think it is complicated. In the article by Ismene Brown in The Spectator the title is “I’m having trouble finding an anti-woman conspiracy,” and I agree with that in that there’s a more complicated issue here that’s not necessarily about female bodies making choreography, but about broader access and issues.
There are two layers to this conversation, and to any conversation about access and affirmative action issues. There’s a need for people of color, trans and cis women, femme women, and genderqueer people to have access to performances and to reviews, but there’s another layer that’s about the work being made. That is: regardless of the body making it, does the work reproduce patriarchy?
photo of Anna Martine Whitehead by Robbie Sweeny
“Collaboration” is a word that’s used so often to describe creative processes today it seems to have replaced “working together,” “cooperating,” and “creating something collectively.”
When Christine Bonansea uses the word “collaboration” it means something very particular: her trilogy on view this weekend at The Lab, FLOATERS, is the culmination of three years of experimentation, drawing from different disciplines and working with many artists, to generate an environment that’s revelatory, indeterminate, and multisensory.
O que fazer daqui para trás (What to do from here backwards) (João Fiadeiro, 2015)
“Is there anything more portentous than a deserted microphone onstage?” That’s what I wonder for the first few minutes while it sits there like a dangling knife. The curtain is parted and the lights are up, signaling: it has begun. Read More
The Anastasio Project, NAKA Dance Theater. Photo by Scott Tsuchitani.
On January 13, Fresh Festival, in collaboration with the Dance Studies Working Group, presented a panel of guest speakers: Debby Kajiyama, José Navarrete, and Anna Martine Whitehead. The conversation was called “Archiving Embodiment.”
photo of Sebastian Grubb and James Graham by Yvonne Portra
Homeroom is a rite of passage in the U.S. educational system: a gathering of students, often every morning, when attendance is taken and announcements are read. In his program notes for a performance called Homeroom, James Graham adds, “in a typical high school, people sit alphabetically.” As a result James Graham and Sebastian Grubb would have sat together.
Instead these artists’ paths crossed long after they had graduated from high school, and over the last few years they have developed a distinct approach to thinking about––and moving through––what it means to share, interact, and be friends as men.