DraftWork: Ayano Elson + Iris McCloughan – Danspace Project


Ayano Elson + Iris McCloughan

Saturday, February 24 | 3PM

Join us after the performances for food & drinks and a conversation between the artists and DraftWork curator Ishmael Houston-Jones.
Ayano Elson

Ayano Elson in collaboration with Matt Evans, Amelia Heintzelman, and Jade Manns
Iris McCloughan
I Prefer to Die in This Moment

Created and performed by Iris McCloughan

Iris McCloughan is a performance maker and writer. Working between and across disciplines, their work considers the queer trans body, its social and discursive constructions, and its expansive potential. Iris’s performance works have been presented in New York (PAGEANT, BAX, The Poetry Project, Ars Nova, Movement Research at the Judson Church), Philadelphia (The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia Contemporary, FringeArts), Chicago (Links Hall, ACRE Projects), Detroit (Public Pool), Los Angeles (PURE O), and elsewhere. Recent direction includes Joan Jonas and Eiko Otake’s collaborative performance Drawing in Circles WHY? (Danspace Project/Castelli Gallery) and Alex Tatarsky’s Sad Boys in Harpy Land (Playwrights Horizons). Iris is a past winner of the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from American Poetry Review, and was named a finalist in nonfiction for Best of the Net 2020. They are the author of three poetry chapbooks, including Triptych (greying ghost, 2022) and Bones to Peaches (Seven Kitchens Press, 2021). Iris’s writing has appeared in American Poetry Review, Prelude, Tupelo Quarterly, juked, jubilat, Gertrude, Denver Quarterly, and Queen Mob’s Teahouse, among many others. Iris has held residencies through Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Chocolate Factory Theater, JACK Brooklyn, BEAM Center, Ars Nova, The Orchard Project, and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Iris has collaborated with many other artists and writers, including Eiko Otake, Joan Jonas, Mike Lala, Toby Altman, Alex Tatarsky, Jessie Young, Doug LeCours, Beth Gill, and Julie Mayo.
Ayano Elson is an Okinawan-American dancer and choreographer based in New York City. She uses improvisation, imagination, and collaboration to make research-based scores, musical compositions, and site-specific dances. Ayano has performed her work at Abrons Arts Center, 411 Kent, the Chocolate Factory, Gibney Dance, ISSUE Project Room, Movement Research, PAGEANT, and Roulette, among others. She has held artist residencies at Center for Performance Research and Abrons Arts Center (2022), Lower Manhattan Cultural Center and ArtCake (2021), and Movement Research Van Lier Emerging Artist of Color Fellow (2018). Her works-in-process were supported by AUNTS, Seoul Dance Center, Knockdown Center, Movement Research at the Judson Church. She has received funding support from Foundation for Contemporary Arts and Mertz Gilmore Foundation. As a dancer, she’s performed in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago in works by Laurie Berg, Kim Brandt, Jesi Cook, Milka Djordjevich, devynn emory, Simone Forti, Niall Jones, Haegue Yang, and Kyli Kleven at venues including the Chocolate Factory, Dia: Beacon, Danspace Project, Guggenheim Museum, the Kitchen, MoMA, MoMA PS1, New York Live Arts, MCA Chicago, Pioneer Works, Roulette and REDCAT. ayanoelson.com
Ishmael Houston-Jones (DraftWork curator) is an award winning choreographer, author, performer, teacher, and curator. His improvised dance and text work has been performed in New York, across the US, and in Europe, Canada, Australia, and Latin America. Drawn to collaborations as a way to move beyond boundaries and the known, Houston-Jones celebrates the political aspect of cooperation. Houston-Jones and Fred Holland shared a 1984 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award
 for Cowboys, Dreams and Ladders, which reintroduced the erased narrative of the Black cowboy back into the mythology of the American west. He was awarded his second “Bessie” Award for the 2010 revival of THEM, his 1985/86 collaboration with writer Dennis Cooper and composer Chris Cochrane. In 2017 he received a third “Bessie” for Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other Works by John Bernd presented by Danspace Project. In 2020 he received a fourth “Bessie” for Service to the Field of Dance. Houston-Jones is the DraftWork curator for works-in-progress at Danspace Project in New York. He has curated Platform 2012: Parallels which focused on choreographers from the African diaspora and postmodernism and co-curated with Will Rawls Platform 2016: Lost & Found, Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now both at Danspace Project. As an author Houston-Jones’ essays, fiction, interviews, and performance texts have been published in several anthologies and in numerous journals and magazines. His FAT and Other Stories: Some Writing About Sex was published in June 2018 by Yonkers International Press.
Danspace Project pays respect to Lenape peoples. We acknowledge that this work is situated on the Lenape island of Manhattan (Mannahatta) in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland. We pay respect to Lenape land, water, and ancestors past, present and future.

DraftWork is presented, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
Black and White logo with an outline of the state of New York: New York State of Opportunity, Trade Mark. Council on the Arts.
For information on our funders, visit danspaceproject.org/support


Danspace Project presents new work in dance, supports a diverse range of choreographers in developing their work, encourages experimentation, and connects artists to audiences.

For almost 50 years, Danspace Project has supported a vital community of contemporary dance artists in an environment unlike any other in the United States. Located in the historic St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, Danspace shares its facility with the Church, The Poetry Project, and New York Theatre Ballet. Danspace Project’s Commissioning Initiative has commissioned nearly 600 new works since its inception in 1994.

More about our staff, our mission, and values


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