Keith Hennessy/CIRCO ZERO

“Turbulence” at CounterPULSE, DEC 2011


Turbulence (a dance about the economy)


A collaborative failure choreographed by Keith Hennessy and produced by Circo Zero.

Performer/collaborators: Julie Phelps, Emily Leap, Laura Arrington, Jesse Hewit, Jorge Rodolfo De Hoyos, Hana Erdman, Gabriel Todd, Ruairí O’Donovan, Empress Jupiter, Jassem Hindi, Keith Hennessy.

Guest artists: 
Portland: Roya Amirsoleymani, Keyon Gaskin, Takahiro Yamamoto
Seattle: Markeith Wiley, Joan Hanna
San Francisco: Ray Chung, Anna Martine Whitehead, Brontez Purnell
New York: Ishmael Houston-Jones, Dana Michel (Montréal), AK Burns.

Co-production: CounterPULSE, Regards et Mouvements

Unstable structures supported by unsustainable systems, this dance cannot stand up on its own.

Turbulence (a dance about the economy) plays with normative disruptions and calculated disregard for generally accepted rules of engagement. A collaborative creation, the work is an experimental hybrid of contemporary dance, improvised happening, and political theater; it is a bodily response to economic crisis. Instigated before Occupy and engaging questions of debt, value, and exchange, Turbulence is intended as both provocation and affirmation of global movement for economic justice.

More frictions that drive the work: economic crisis, disaster capitalism, debt, precarity, propaganda, torture, union busting, magic, collaboration, war, and physical performance.

Responding both to economic and ecological crises, Turbulence is an experiment not only in performance, but also in developing alternative modes of producing performance. Integrating new cast members as generative collaborators for each performance, the work resists fixed or predetermined outcomes. Improvisation is both survival strategy and political tactic. The economies of making dances and being an artist also impacts our research.

Accumulating dances, images, texts, songs and tactics with each cast, the process was tested at venues in San Francisco, Stolzenhagen/Germany, Vienna, Portland, and Pontempeyrat/France from 2010-12.

The US premier of Turbulence will be at PICA’s TBA Festival September 11-14, 2012, followed by performances in Seattle at Velocity Dance Center Sep 20-21, in SF at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Sep 27-29, and at New York Live Arts Oct 4-6, 2012.

2011 residencies include Ponderosa (Stolzenhagen, Jul 18-23), Impulstanz (Vienna, Aug 1-5), and CounterPULSE (San Francisco, Dec 10-18).

Summer 2012 residencies include Regards et Mouvements (Pontempeyrat, France), PICA (Portland), CounterPULSE (SF) and Ponderosa (Stolzenhagen).

Turbulence was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Projet, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the MetLife Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Additional funding includes Zellerbach Family Foundation, the New Stages in Dance grant, and the SF Arts Commission OPG.


Instigated by Keith Hennessy in 2001, Zero Performance and Circo Zero make live performance sparked by current and historic social realities.

The work is interdisciplinary and experimental, operating within the tensions between intimacy and spectacle, rhetoric and ritual, personal and social. Rooted in contemporary dance and performance we also engage circus, theatre, music, visual and conceptual art. Under the influence of queer ideas, aesthetics and histories, Zero Performance evolves performance language and builds community through collaboration, crossing lines of artistic discipline, personal and cultural identity, and social expectations. Zero Performance participates in local and global struggles for justice, functioning as a collective space and public laboratory.