Wednesday, November 22, 2006

movement research brings us monson

movement research performance journal #30 magazine merits a good read with its spotlight on 2006-2007 bessie award winner and dance maker jennifer monson. the incisive interview by movement research board of directors president ishmael houston-jones brings to the fore this energizing presence during/veteran of the high tide of queer and anti-interventionist activism during reagan and bush i. monson’s words in mrpj so resonate to the core:

“i would say that one of the most important influences on how i live as an artist has to do with being in nyc in the late ’80s and early ’90s during the aids epidemic.

“i was part of a community that was extremely activist. we were at political meetings or on the streets demonstrating at least once a week with act up or the lesbian avengers or wham [women’s health action mobilization] or queer nation. we lost so many of our colleagues; and our activism made a difference. we changed the government’s aids policies and made ‘queer’ a household word. that kind of urgency invaded the work we were making and heightened our passion.

“i feel that kind of agency is much more difficult to find now. i’m not aware of an anti-war movement in my community. what is happening is on a global scale—not so close to home even though the world trade center explosion happened right here. i feel like coming age in nyc against a certain kind of adversity has really shaped me creatively. i see what is happening now shaping the art of another generation too. it is full of subtlety and irony, a kind of fear of emotion or the personal. but to me it really reflects and is interpreting the scare place we are in our culture at present.”

houston-jones’ interview, along with accompanying articles by andrea liu, roselee goldberg, and abigail levine further delineate the contribution scope of mrpj 30’s cover artist and lover of improvisation, and offer a great timeline of and glimpse into the cultural cauldron of the eighties.

beyond being one of the world's leading laboratories for the investigation of dance and movement-based forms, movement research is a great finger on nyc’s cultural pulse. for more information, check out their website:

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