“a critically important catalyst for and contribution to a necessary dialogue around postmodernism and racial identity”
— Carla Peterson, Director, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC)
Not About Race Dance is a collaborative, choreographic response to the unacknowledged racial politics in U.S. postmodern dance — a form developed in the 1960s whose tropes and aesthetics have endured in the dance field. Despite postmodernism’s popularity, its racial dynamics have gone largely unacknowledged. In Not About Race Dance, Gerald Casel and his collaborators occupy a space that has been historically defined by white artists to present a contrasting vision of where Black and Brown bodies belong.
This work premiered in December 2021 at CounterPulse, and will be streamed at geraldcasel.com/race from December 15-31, 2021.
This stream is being made available free of charge. To support future work by GERALDCASELDANCE, click here.
NOT ABOUT RACE DANCE
Concept and Direction: Gerald Casel
Movement Collaborators: Styles Alexander, Audrey Johnson, Karla Quintero, and Cauveri Suresh
Live Sound Design: Tim Russell
Lighting and Media Design: Aron Altmark
Dramaturgy: Rebecca Chaleff
Text: “Coyotes” by Styles Alexander
Script: “La revancha” by Karla Quintero
Costume Consultant: Pamela Rodriguez-Montero
Filmed by: Chani Bockwinkel
Write about Not About Race Dance
A note from GERALDCASELDANCE: “Not About Race Dance deals with an unspoken-ness — it addresses the unwillingness to address. Both within and without the work, we point out silence. Onstage, we explore body-based tropes and aesthetics. Offstage, we’re aware of the vacuum in critical response available for work like this. If you’re a writer, we want to invite you to respond to this work, in the spirit of colleague-criticism. Share your short-form reflections through the “One Good Quote” project. Longer-form writing can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, and will be shared on our website.”
Support for Not About Race Dance
The development of Not About Race Dance was supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, UCSC Arts Research Institute, the National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron, the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University, and The Bogliasco Foundation.
For more information and touring:
Tour Manager Adam Smith | email@example.com
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Styles Alexander (they/them) is an emerging choreographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Styles Graduated from the Boston conservatory, where they graduated with a B.F.A in contemporary performance and choreography. While attending the Boston Conservatory, Styles performed and collaborated in creative processes with choreographers such as Andrea Miller, Robert Moses, Dwight Rhoden, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Doug Varone and more. Styles has also had the honor of performing repertory by Ohad Naharin, Idan Sharabi, Robin Aren, and William Forsythe Styles is currently in collaboration with Kristin Damrow & Company, located in San Francisco.
Styles’ choreographic work is centered in the continuing practice of examining and healing trauma that resides in the body, as a product of survivors of both chattel slavery and the continued genocide of indigenous people on what is now known as The United States. Styles’s work has been featured in Urbanity NeXt Emerging choreographers series, DougVarone’s DEVICES, and most recently Jess Curtis’ Gravity Pop Up Performance project. Their creative practice is moved by the development of emotional and conceptual statehood through a practice focused on corporal ferocity, and improvisation as a tool for physical and spiritual liberation.
Aron Altmark (he/him) is a CalArts Alumnus and first fell in love with light attending fine arts high school and through a camera lens. His first endeavors were in theatre and dance lighting before working in concerts, nightlife, and live entertainment. From 2010-2013, he produced independent light art / creative code works and freelanced as a programmer on various projects before joining SJ Lighting in 2013. Aron worked alongside SJ Lighting owner and principal designer Stephen Lieberman programming and assisting with designs on large-scale EDM festivals as well as working on SJ Lighting’s new nightclub installations all over the country. Since establishing his company Visual Endeavors, Aron has been working on projects across the spectrum of live entertainment — from designing concert experiences for artists including Logic, Tiesto, Dillon Francis, and The Chainsmokers to working on dance performances with Gerald Casel, interactive installations, and developing VR experiences. Visual Endeavors just created a public art installation on the Soquel Bridge in Santa Cruz, CA in May of 2018.
Gerald Casel (he/they/siya) is a Bay Area-based dance artist, equity activator, and antiracist educator. As director of GERALDCASELDANCE, his choreographic work complicates and provokes questions surrounding colonialism, collective cultural amnesia, whiteness and privilege, and the tensions between the invisible/perceived/obvious structures of power. Casel is an Associate Professor of Dance and is the Provost of Porter College at UC Santa Cruz. A graduate of The Juilliard School with an MFA from UW Milwaukee, they received a Bessie award for sustained achievement. Casel founded Dancing Around Race, an ongoing community engaged-participatory process that interrogates systemic racial inequity in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. www.geraldcasel.com
Rebecca Chaleff (she/they) is a dance scholar, performer, and dramaturg. Her research merges critical theory with practice to engage questions around the relationships between embodiment and representation. Her current book project analyzes how reperformance and legacy building projects shape and are shaped by the politics of race and sexuality. In particular, the manuscript engages with the affective attachments of queer and racialized histories to question how choreographic claims to artistic afterlives reinforce sociocultural hierarchies that privilege whiteness and homonationalism. Rebecca’s writing has appeared in numerous scholarly journals and edited volumes, including Dance Research Journal, TDR/The Drama Review, and The Futures of Dance Studies. As a dancer, she has had the pleasure of performing with Pat Catterson, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company Repertory Understudy Group, Douglas Dunn and Dancers, Molissa Fenley and Company, and the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, among others. She has been working with Gerald Casel as a dancer and dramaturg since 2013.
Audrey Johnson (she/her) is a queer Black mixed-race movement artist with roots from Detroit and Plymouth Michigan, currently rooting in Oakland, CA. She is a performer, teacher, writer, and farmer. Audrey’s work is in deep nonlinear relationship to a lineage of queer Black feminist praxis and is committed to creating space for Black healing and liberation. Her performance work has been presented at FRESH Festival (San Francisco), The Arab American National Museum via Daring Dances (Dearborn, MI), Sidewalk Arts Festival (Detroit, MI), FROLIC Queering Dance Festival and 2727 California Street (Berkeley, CA); she has collaborated and performed with artists such as Jennifer Harge (Detroit), Biba Bell (Detroit), Gerald Casel (San Francisco), and Stephanie Hewett (Oakland). She is a co-founding member of Collective Sweat Detroit, an organization holding spaces for dance in Detroit, and holds a BFA in Dance with Honors from Wayne State University.
Karla Quintero (she/her) is a Latin-American, Oakland-based artist whose work explores themes of intimacy, consumption, biculturalism, and defamiliarization. Dance improvisation is her primary tool, but her creative work orients beyond dance. She performs in the works of other artists, most recently works by Gerald Casel, Catherine Galasso, and Hope Mohr. She also co-directs The Bridge Project, an equity-driven presenting platform. | karlajohannaquintero.tumblr.com
Tim Russell (he/him) lives at the confluence of the aural and the visual. He currently serves as Music Director for the University of Wisconsin’s Dance Department. In 2019, Tim was selected as one of the Cowles Visiting Artists at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a first for a Musician in the field of Dance. He has a vast catalogue of works specifically for choreography, most of which exist live, in collaboration with movement. His commitment to the nowness in performance led him to co-create/curate, along with choreographer Maria Gillespie, Hyperlocal MKE, a Music and Dance improvisation series that exists to this day in Milwaukee. His current curatorial project: Common Sage Arts, promotes multidisciplinary artists through carefully curated performances. Along with Tim’s long time collaboration with the Gerald Casel Dance Company, his audio shares the stage with choreographic artists such as: Kate Corby, Abby Crain, Danceworks Maria Gillespie, Holly Johnston, Stephan Sara Shelton Mann, Li Chiao Ping, Liz Sexe, Marlene Skog, Wildspace Dance and Jin Wen Yu, bringing Tim and his music across the world from Dock 11 in Berlin to YBCA in San Francisco. He holds an MFA in Music Improvisation from Mills College in Oakland, California, where he studied improvisation, electronic music and composition with the likes of Fred Frith, Roscoe Mitchell and Zeena Parkins. His 2020 album: “Junct”, a collection of improvisational duets with bassist Ari Smith, was included in Tone Madison’s top 20 records of 2020. www.avoidancepolicy.com
Cauveri Suresh (he/she/they) is an artist from the Bay Area. They graduated cum laude from Barnard College in 2018 with a B.A. in dance, and have studied with Joanna Kotze, Jodi Melnick, David Parker, Okwui Okpokwasili, Christina Robson, and Doug Varone among others. Cauveri has performed with Lauren Simpson Dance at Minnesota Street Project, with Kickbal at ODC, and with Leah Samuels at Movement Research. Currently, they work with Risa Jaroslow, Gerald Casel, Emma Lanier, and Ky Frances. Cauveri is also a childcare worker and visual artist. They work with Vibhuti Arya Amirfar as a consultant on workplace equity practices for organizations across the U.S.
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