Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church takes a new critical position on postmodern dance aesthetics emanating from the Judson Church period. By developing his own work as an imaginary meeting between the aesthetics of Judson and those of a parallel historical tradition, that of Voguing, Trajal Harrell re-writes the minimalism and neutrality of postmodern dance with a new set of signs.

“What would have happened in 1963 if someone from the voguing ball scene in Harlem had come downtown to perform alongside the early postmoderns at Judson Church?” is the central question in this new piece by the choreographer. Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning… comes in five sizes, from extra small (XS) to extra large (XL). Rather than illustrating a historical fiction, these new works transplant this proposition into a contemporary context, here and now. What we experience was neither possible at The Balls nor at Judson. In the construction of an imagined audience — that of a 1963 Judson Church Dance Theater audience — in the minds of a real audience today, OR, in the distance between who we imagine a work is being performed for and its actual performance for those present, what kind of new relations can be created, adapted, and reassigned between performer(s) and audience?

Trajal Harrell became well-known for the Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church series of works which theoretically juxtaposed the voguing dance tradition with the early postmodern dance tradition. He is now considered as one of the most important choreographers of the new generation.

His work Judson Church is Ringing in Harlem (Made-to-Measure)/Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (M2M), has the distinction of being the first dance commission of MoMA PS1. He has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship; The Doris Duke Impact Award; as well as fellowships from The Foundation for Contemporary Art, Art Matters, and the Saison Foundation, among others.

Most recently he completed a two-year Annenberg Residency at MoMA, where he is turned his attention to the work of the Japanese founder of butoh dance, Tatsumi Hijikata. By looking at butoh through voguing’s theoretical lens of “realness” and modern dance through the theoretical lens of butoh, Harrell is creating a number of works which combine a speculative view of history and the archive with contemporary dance practice and composition. He has created Used Abused and Hung Out to Dry, premiered and commissioned by MoMA in February 2013; The Ghost of Montpellier Meets the Samurai premiered in Montpellier Danse Festival in July 2015; The Return of La Argentina premiered in Paris’ Centre National de la Danse and commissioned by MoMA; In the Mood for Frankie premiered in May 2016 at MoMA; and most recently Caen Amour premiered at Festival Avignon 2016.

Choreography and Dancer: Trajal Harrell
Dramaturg: Gérard Mayen
Dramaturgical Assistance: Moriah Evans
Soundtrack Design: Trajal Harrell
Music: various, including “for Alan Turning” by Robin Meier and “Again Free” by Imani Uzuri
Costumes: Michael Ventolo and Trajal Harrell
Set: Trajal Harrell
Visual Art (set): Franklin Evans



Tickets will be available using the website of Mercat de les Flors.