A new dance performances by New York-based choreographer and dancer niv Acosta (ACG '09) and Philadelphia-based choreographer and dancer Jumatatu Poe. Both artists use movement to both deconstruct and re-articulate modes of embodiment, representation, and identification. Sunday, June 22 at 4:00pm at Vox Populi (319 North 11 Street, 3rd Floor).
“Signifying and subversion come up a lot in my work and my life. I am interested in how they connect—these strategizing tools, these rhythms of relating, these disruptors, these renderers of confusion. I’m interest’d in how they connect me to my Blackness, my African-Americanness, my queerness……… What is the operation of subversion in my own artistic… practice? (?) Can I disrupt m’self into greater c’tr’l? Can I be confused? Like, is that okay?
I am working on being mind-blowing, but ‘m not sure it’s hap’n'n’…
do you wanna get to know the real me?
Nah, but really, I just wan’ be yours. This for you.”
Jumatatu Poe was born in San Jose, California, in 1982 and is based in Philadelphia. His artistic practice includes making of his own performance work, and work with idiosynCrazy productions, a company he founded in 2008 and now co-directs with Shannon Murphy. His work as a choreographer focuses on further understanding bodies and selves that are physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, representational, and spiritual…and sexual. In addition to his work as a choreographer and performer, he also teaches dance at Swarthmore College. As a performer, Poe also currently works with Merián Soto and Leah Stein. Since 2012, he has been engaged in a collaborative, multi-tiered performance practice with NYC-based dance artist Jesse Zaritt. Previously, Poe has danced with Marianela Boán, Tania Isaac, Charles. O. Anderson/Dance Theatre X, Keith Thompson, and Kate Watson-Wallace. His choreographic work has been supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Susan Hess Modern Dance Choreographers’ Project, the Community Education Center, Philadelphia Dance Projects, Dance New Amsterdam, and New York Live Arts. Poe has performed in Philadelphia, Seattle, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and New York. Most recently, he completed a creative residency in Neuss, Germany, through Tanzrecherche NRW, and received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2012.
In his recent project, “the denzel series,” niv Acosta breaks apart an idealized black masculinity, invoking popular African-American actor, Denzel Washington, Jr. The six-part work, which has unfolded over six years, introduces new modalities of the “denzel” archetype with each “incarnation,” revealing new subjective possibilities each time. This fracturing highlights what Acosta refers to as “impossible bodies,” those that exist in one space safely, subjects that are dispersed, perhaps unconstituted, in other settings:
with “possible bodies” fed to us as ideal, how do we make ourselves feel possible without compromising ourselves?
Drawing concepts of archetypes from film, musicals, songs, and choreography, Acosta creates a base to begin identifying our self diagnosed impossibilities, moving towards self ideations that feel empowering.
niv Acosta is a Brooklyn-based artist born and raised in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Niv is 25 years old, Dominican and transgender. He trained at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance with Tadej Brdnik, Jessica Delia, Whitney V. Hunter and Catherine Cabeen. Acosta attended California Institute of the Arts, where he studied dance technique and choreography. He has presented his work at various events and spaces including The Sharon Disney Lund Theater at CalArts, Pieter Performance Space, and Human Resources in Los Angeles; The Community Education Center in Philadelphia; New York Live Arts, AUNTS at The New Museum, The Tank, and Danspace Project in New York; and Brooklyn Arts Exchange and the Center For Performance Research in Brooklyn. niv was awarded an Art and Social Change Grant through the Leeway Foundation. Other projects include we were an island (Vanessa Anspaugh, Danspace, 2014); Star Crap in Progress (Larissa Velez-Jackson, Center for Performance Research, 2013); An All Day Event.The End (Ralph Lemon, Danspace, 2012); Blues (Deborah Hay, Museum of Modern Art, New York 2012); Reusable Parts/Endless Love (Gerard & Kelly, Danspace Project at St. Marks Church on the Bowery, 2011); Eyes, Mouth, and All the Rest: Surrendering to the Desire of Others (Ishmael Houston-Jones, New York Live Arts, 2011); and gender < moving: queer bodies/home (with collaborators iele paloumpis and Jai Arun Ravine, Studio34 Yoga | Healing | Arts in Philadelphia, 2010), among others.