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 | 2021

Not About Race Dance

Santa Cruz, California-based artist Gerald Casel will come 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 Not About AIDS Dance 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 plans to work with a large ensemble of dancers to continue to hone both the movement material and production elements of the work. 

This residency is supported, in part, by the New England Foundation for the Arts's National Dance Project Production Residency in Dance Grant.

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Archive Residency
2020 - 21

Emily Johnson

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