Gerald Casel

Gerald Casel is a Bessie award winning dance artist, performance maker, cultural activator, and educator. His choreographic research and social practice converge to complicate and provoke questions surrounding colonialism, collective cultural amnesia, whiteness and privilege, and the tensions between the invisible/perceived/obvious structures of power – all framed through his lived experience as a queer, immigrant, artist of color. His current project, Not About Race Dance, has been in development since 2017 as part of a trilogy of works about racial identity that includes Splinters in Our Ankles (2015) and Cover Your Mouth When You Smile (2018). By utilizing idiosyncratic compositions that affirm the possibility of difference, these choreographies move beyond a reading of bodies of color as racialized subjects. Casel and his collaborators imagine alternative futures beyond the ones that are being determined by current economic and social structures of inequity. Dancing Around Race, a community engagement process that interrogates racial inequity in the Bay Area and beyond, continues to grow under his leadership.

His work has been presented by Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, Dance Theater Workshop, The Yard, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, ODC Theater, YBCA (Freedom Fellow), Dancebase Edinburgh, KuanDu Arts Festival Taiwan, and has been developed in residencies at The Bogliasco Foundation, The National Center for Choreography-Akron, ODC Theater, and CHIME. Casel has received support from New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, San Francisco Arts Commission, CA$H, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s NEW program, Zellerbach Family Foundation, The Hellman Fellowship, Arts Council Santa Cruz County, and as a Cowles Land Grant Visiting Artist at the University of Minnesota. He is a member of the Racial Equity Working Group established by the Human Rights Commission of San Francisco and the Anti-racism, Economic, and Social Justice Commission of Santa Cruz. Casel is an associate professor in the Department of Theater Arts and serves as the Provost of Porter College at University of California, Santa Cruz.

Visiting Artist | November 14 - 23, 2021

Not About Race Dance

Santa Cruz, California-based artist Gerald Casel came to MANCC for the first time to further his project Not About Race Dance, which is a collaborative choreographic response to the predominance of whiteness in U.S. postmodern dance. The title cites Neil Greenberg’s iconic Not About AIDS Dance from 1994 and its tactics to call attention to the unacknowledged racial politics in dance – particularly how whiteness has historically formed the structures and privileges of postmodern dance. Whiteness is the “not race” that Casel’s work exposes as the dominant social structure in dance.

While at MANCC, Casel worked with an ensemble of dancers and his technical director, composer/musician, and dramaturg to continue to hone both the movement material and production elements of the work. Casel and their collaborators also facilitated a long table discussion about race in dance and performance entitled Dancing Around Race. This discussion is part of a series led by Casel since 2018 that is meant to be in conversation with the choreographic work, Not About Race Dance. This facilitated discussion preceded a showing of Not About Race Dance in which participants were invited to return to watch the work.  

This residency is supported, in part, by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project Production Residency in Dance Grant and the NDP Community Engagement Fund. 

Not About Race Dance premiered at CounterPulse in San Francisco, CA  Dec. 2021.

  • Karla Quintero, Gerald Casel, and Styles Alexander in residence for <em>Not About Race Dance</em>
  • Styles Alexander, Cauveri Suresh, Audrey Johnson, Gerald Casel, and Karla Quintero,
  • Audrey Johnson, Styles Alexander, Cauveri Suresh, and Karla Quintero
  • Audrey Johnson, Styles Alexander, Karla Quintero, Cauveri Suresh
  • Gerald Casel, Audrey Johnson, Karla Quintero, Cauveri Suresh, Styles Alexander
  • Suresh, Quintero, Casel, Johnson, and Alexander
  • Casel, Quintero, Suresh, Johnson, and Alexander
  • Tim Russell, Aron Altmark, Casel, and Suresh
  • Suresh, Casel, and Johnson
  • Alexander and Quintero
  • Styles Alexander
  • Johnson, Alexander, Suresh, and Casel
  • Casel and collaborators facilitating <em>Dancing Around Race</em> long table discussion
  • Gerald Casel and others during <em>Dancing Around Race</em> discussion
  • Cauveri Suresh and Gerald Casel
  • Suresh and Casel
  • Casel and Suresh
  • Suresh and Casel
  • Audrey Johnson
  • Casel, Karla Quintero, and Suresh
  • Casel, Styles Alexander, Suresh, and Quintero
  • Casel and collaborators during showing
  • Casel and collaborators during post-showing talk
  • Casel, Rebecca Chalef, and Aron Altmark
  • Audience members during post-showing discussion
Collaborators in Residence: Styles Alexander, Audrey Johnson, Karla Quintero, Cauveri Suresh [Dance Collaborators], Rebecca Chaleff [Dramaturg], Tim Russell [Sound Designer], Aron Altmark [Lighting & Media Designer]

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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