Ishmael Houston-Jones – Danspace Project
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Ishmael Houston-Jones

Ishmael Houston-Jones at Dias y Flores Community Garden, NYC, April 2021.

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Film premiere: Friday, May 21 at 5pm (ET) via Zoom.
The digital premiere will be followed by a live discussion with Miguel Gutierrez.

REGISTER HERE (A link will be sent approximately 30 minutes prior to the event)

Part of PLATFORM 2021: The Dream of the Audience

Ishmael Houston-Jones presents 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. Houston-Jones will use his time in-residence at Danspace Project to continue, and film this digital collaboration.

While filming, Houston-Jones will be 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. 

Houston-Jones curated Platform 2012: Parallels, which interrogated the intersection of dance makers from the African Diaspora with the aesthetics of postmodern choreography. In 2016, he co-curated, with Will Rawls, Platform 2016: Lost and Found, which queried the effects of the loss of a generation of artists to AIDS on current dance creation.

This film premieres May 21, 2021, and will be available for viewing on our Journal from July 1-Aug 31.


Accessibility: CART live captioning will be provided for all film screenings and conversations. A phone number will be provided so that the Zoom chat may be accessed audibly. Requests, questions, or feedback can be submitted to seta@danspaceproject.org.

Ishmael Houston-Jones is a choreographer, author, curator, and educator. His improvised dance and text work has been performed worldwide. Drawn to collaboration as a way to move beyond boundaries and the known, Houston-Jones celebrates the political aspect of cooperation.

He curated Platform 2012: Parallels, an eight-week series of events at Danspace Project in New York that interrogated the intersection of dance makers from the African Diaspora with the aesthetics of postmodern choreography. In 2016, he co-curated, with Will Rawls, Platform 2016Lost and Found: Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now, which queried the effects of the loss of a generation of artists to AIDS on current dance creation, also at Danspace Project. 

Houston-Jones’ work as a writer has been anthologized in several books, recently in Saturation: Race, Art, and the Circulation of Value (2020) and Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative Writing 1977–1997 (2017). His first book, FAT and Other Stories, was published in 2018.

He is the recipient of four New York Dance and Performance Bessie Awards (1984, 2011, 2017, and 2020) and has received support from United States Artists (2021), the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (2018), the Herb Alpert Awards in the Arts (2016), the Doris Duke Charitable Trust (2015), and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2013). Houston-Jones is currently an adjunct professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Experimental Theatre Wing; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and a master lecturer at the University of the Arts School of Dance in Philadelphia.

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