Oscillating between the theater and the exhibition space, the dancer-choreographer Trajal Harrell became well known for the “twenty looks or Paris is burning at the Judson Church” series which addressed contemporary dance’s relation to minimalism and conceptualism by re-thinking the parallel histories of early postmodern dance and Voguing. By developing a new critical position with respect to these two aesthetic traditions and proposing a series of imaginary meetings between them —Trajal Harrell rewrites the minimalism and neutrality of postmodern dance with a new set of signs. now, he has turned his attention to early modern dance and butoh.
Harrell attempts to re-imagine historical events and to get audiences, viewers, and performers to re-interpret and imagine impossible heterogeneous moments of the past by wrapping their heads together around the projections, associations, contradictions, and incompatibilities at stake. It is specifically this togetherness that he is after, the link created by bringing together different individuals to examine the outcome of theoretically and experientially re-positioning historically overlapping and separate dance traditions. What results is a generative contemporary dance in the here and now, quixotically questioning its sites, sights, movements, bodies, and seizures.
“Maybe to spectacle” and “maybe to the object”: are two titles which lend shape to the two inquiries grounding the aesthetic periods of Harrell’s choreographic and performative practice. In this seminar-workshop, he will lead participants through the trajectory of his work using video, photographs, and texts to explore these two maybe topics in a lively dialogue driven by the aims and interests of the participants.