Reflections on Queer Dance

The following is my introductory note in the program for tonight’s 2nd Annual Queer Dance Festival at CSU East Bay, followed by some related videos. This felt like an appropriate exploration to share here:

Reflections on the
Nature of “Queer Dance”
By Queer Dance
Festival Director Eric Kupers
February 17th,
2011
University Theatre, CSU East Bay
I want to attempt a
definition of “Queer Dance,” (even though I believe that these two words are
ultimately impossible to pin down.)
 “Queer” is my favorite way to identify
myself. The word has a lot of complex connotations, as it has been used
historically (and still today sometimes) as a way to put-down, insult, repress
and attack people who seem different. Many people are triggered when they hear
this word—remembering feelings of hurt and anger. However, I love that the
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and affiliated communities have reclaimed
the word as a symbol of our empowerment.
At this point in my
life I have spent equal amounts of time in intimate relationships with men and
women. In this sense I identify as Bisexual. At the same time, I am married to
a man that I have been with for over ten years (and plan to be with for the
rest of my life.) In this sense I identify as Gay. And still at the same time I
am a non-conformist artist at heart, and so feel that any label, identity or
definition of myself is limiting and inaccurate. The closest I can come to
whole-heartedly identifying myself is to just say, “I am.”
For me the word
“Queer” includes all of this—even the non-conforming parts. “Queer” points to
the aspects of us that are beyond labeling, while at the same time acknowledges
the oppression and empowerment of us who live outside of mainstream
heterosexual and dualistically gendered roles. 
“Dance” is a word that
describes movement when viewed from a particular perspective. It includes
choreography, performance, creative movement, what we do at parties and clubs,
as well as the interactions of the cells, fluids and organs in our bodies, the
relationship of the planets and solar systems, the combined movement of all the
people in an urban area at any one moment, the flight of birds and bugs, and so
much more. 
I think of Dance as a
point of view rather than a phenomenon itself. It is rather a way of
experiencing any phenomena from a slightly larger frame of
reference—acknowledging its flow, exchange, and interdependence.
What you see tonight
onstage is “dance” just as much as what you are doing right now with your body
as you read this is “dance.” From this understanding, there’s absolutely no way
anyone could truthfully say, “I am not a dancer.” Dance is impermanence made
visible.
“Queer Dance” is
therefore immensely open, inclusive, fluid, ambiguous, and omnipresent.  It takes great courage to live in this
universe that is at its core uncertain, ever-changing, mysterious and
impossible to pin down with any definition or concept. When I am able to
embrace this sense of cosmic insecurity, and perhaps even celebrate it, I am
practicing the basics of Queer Dance.
Tonight we have
gathered together a concentrated burst of Queer Dance for you. I encourage you
to not take any of it too literally and instead to listen with your whole being
like you might listen to poetry, or like you might remember images and feelings
from a dream.
AND A VIDEO OF EXCERPTS FROM THE FIRST QUEER DANCE FESTIVAL AT CSUEB:


( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3_QhRCj-s4 )

AND A VIDEO OF THIS YEAR’S FEATURED ARTIST JESSELITO BIE, WHO WILL BE RECEIVING THE 360 AWARD:


( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqU98G2_wIM )

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