Try, a rehearsal, Ishmael Houston-Jones
July 1, 2021
Closed captions are available by clicking the “CC” button on the video.
Try, a rehearsal is a new short video work by Ishmael Houston-Jones with collaborators Keith Hennessy, josé e. abad, Kevin O’Connor, and Snowflake Calvert. This film was commissioned and premiered at Danspace Project for Platform 2021: The Dream of the Audience. The digital premiere was followed by a live discussion with Miguel Gutierrez.
On Friday, May 21, 2021, Ishmael Houston-Jones presented a new short video work created while in-residence at Danspace’s historic venue in St. Mark’s Church.
During the pandemic, choreographer, author, curator, and educator, Ishmael Houston-Jones, has been considering the absence of being a witness and being among other witnesses, including the social activity surrounding a performance — the act of discussing a performance with others after a show. Over the past year, he has been in New York City working mostly over Zoom with a cohort of artists based in the Bay Area: Keith Hennessy, josé e. abad, Kevin O’Connor, and Snowflake Calvert. Their collaboration, Try, is an experimental improvised dance that aims to subvert traditional notions of race and masculinity. Across coasts, Ishmael improvises in St. Mark’s Church in New York (Mannahatta) while his collaborators join him from San Francisco (Yelamu) at CounterPulse. Try is filmed by Alex Romania in NYC and Ainsley Tharp in San Francisco. While filming, Houston-Jones was thinking about the future of performance, considering the positive lessons that can be gleaned from a year of isolation, and the possibilities of working together when many of us are still so far apart.
The digital premiere of Try, a rehearsal was followed by a live discussion with Houston-Jones and Miguel Gutierrez, with whom he co-created award-winning Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Themes from a Life and other works by John Bernd (Platform 2016: Lost & Found). Watch the recorded post performance discussion with, Miguel and Ishmael, below.