Scott Wells & Dancers, Men Want To Dance

What Men Want
Scott Wells & Dancers
May 31, 2009
Part of the 2009 SF International Arts Festival
ounterPULSE, SF

Scott Wells makes wonderful dances for men and women and sometimes he makes wonderful dances for men. Wells treats modern dance like a sport in a postmodern fusion of relaxed lyrical dancing, physical comedy, and surprisingly tender partner acrobatics. The leaps, catches, cat like landings and spiraling falls to the floor reveal the company’s roots in the dance known as contact improvisation...

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Joah Lowe, my first SF dance teacher

In 2004 David Gere asked me to write a short piece about a dancer who had died of AIDS for his book release celebration.

Gere, who came of age as a dance critic at the height of the AIDS epidemic, wrote How To Make Dances in an Epidemic: Tracking Choreography in the Age of AIDS, the first book to examine the interplay of AIDS and choreography in the United States, specifically in relation to gay men.

I can't brag too much about the book because I'm lucky to be featured in it, but the writing is lovely and the research is generous and precise.

I decided to write about my first teacher in San Francisco, Joah Lowe...

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How To Die, 2006

In 2005 and 2006, I was invited to create new works at Les Subsistances in Lyon and Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers in Paris. These residencies resulted in the 2 part performance How To Die, featuring musician-dancer extraordinaire Jules Beckman (Contraband, Cahin-caha) and the amazing butoh-drag-ritualist Seth Eisen (Circo Zero's Sol niger)...

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How To Die, 2006, Photos

Top photo:

A guy sleeping on the stairs of my house. At the beginning of How to Die I give everyone in the audience a photograph of a homeless or drunk sleeping guy, documented within a block of my place.

Middle photo:

Hennessy in Homeless USA, Photo by Andy Mogg. What you can't see is the 30 foot length of fish line going through the piercing hole in my septum, holding me in place.

Bottom Photo:

Hennessy & Beckman in American Tweaker. Photo by Mark I. Chester. This is the polite photo from the dance of insatiable crystal meth. What you can't see is Eisen, as Sylvester, lipsynching Do Ya Wanna Funk?

Check out Loren Robertson's promo video of How To Die
(below). This link get you to my Vimeo site where both performances (Homeless & Tweaker) are available for online streaming.

Rita Felciano's review of How To Die:

Dada Fest, Davis CA

Performer, producer and UC Davis grad student Hope Mirlis organized a sprawling day & night of Dada performances, May 16, 2009, in central Davis.

Riffing off Joseph Beuys explaining his work to a dead rabbit, I whispered, grunted, and ranted for 30 minutes in the 99 F degree heat.

Here are a couple pics snapped by Hilary Bryan and the improv text that I wrote as a kind of rehearsal. Clearly I'm drowning and somehow delighting in the academic texts I'm reading. Fortunately, I finally realized that the critique of


is hideously spectacular...

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Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Small Dances About Big Ideas

Modern dance, beginning with Isadora Duncan’s bare legs, uncorseted breasts and critical rants about women, socialist Russia, dancing children and free bodies, has always been political. Acknowledging the influence of formalism, minimalism, and various styles of abstraction, contemporary dance continues to engage social issues or pose socially resonant questions. But a dance about genocide and international law? Would it be doomed to disappoint or just depress? Despite Liz Lerman’s national reputation, I wasn’t surprised that they were giving tickets away in last minute email blasts to the local dance community. Who wants to see a dance about targeted mass murder? How can a dance meaningfully address horrors of this scale? With four free tickets, I could only convince one friend to accompany me...

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