TASTE is a site-specific performance and installation created for O, Miami 2013 by choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Reiner, poet/critic Claudia La Rocco, and designer Davison Scandrett, with costumes by James Kidd.
Seating is extremely limited (only 50 reservations per performance), with two performances: 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. No refunds will be given.
TASTE started from a conversation between Mitchell, Reiner and La Rocco about bad and good taste, and the racial, cultural and class issues that inform this thorny discussion. Why do we continually seek objective refuge as we debate subjective aesthetics? In keeping with the way we work, the piece is also about a response to space, and in this case, a specific location that represents the cultural infusion and complexity of Miami, a city we come to, on some level, as artistic tourists; we're invested in this place, and yet it isn’t our native territory. Taste does not exist in a conceptual vacuum; nor is our work a linear or didactic explication of themes; rather its identity is formed by a fluid exploration with and within the layers of context contained in the space it inhabits. More broadly, “Taste” concerns the two of us as objectified performers; dancers, and really any performing bodies, cannot escape fetishization. What happens when we embrace it? What does it mean for us to be looked at together—to be held together (or held apart) within the gaze of strangers, intimates, collaborators, critics? To this end, we are working with a series of texts created by Claudia La Rocco. These interlocking works act variously as interventions, commentaries and critical descriptions, offering comparisons and contrasts of our bodies and movements as they relate to taste and the duet form. As a cultural critic and a poet, La Rocco is ideally—at times awkwardly—situated to interact with us and the audience from within the piece itself; by making her a part of it, we have implicated her own subjectivity as well. In addition to these relationships, our ideas will snake through the sounds of 17th Century baroque music, silence, wind, urban chatter, and the human voice amplified through a megaphone. We will occupy a moveable feast of visual riches, designed in collaboration with Davison Scandrett, and strong costume aesthetics: utilitarian and gaudy, jewels, lace, worksuits and robes, and the reveal of skin, created in collaboration with James Kidd Studio.
RASHAUN MITCHELL started dancing at Concord Academy in Massachusetts and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2000. Shortly after, he moved to New York to pursue dance projects with an array of artists, including Chantal Yzermans, Donna Uchizono, Pam Tanowitz, Risa Jaroslow, Sara Rudner, Jonah Bokaer, Richard Colton, Deborah Hay, Rebecca Lazier and Silas Riener. In 2007 he was the recipient of a Princess Grace Award: Dance Fellowship, and in 2011, he received a New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award for sustained achievement in the work of Merce Cunningham (2004-2012). He is a 2012 Merce Cunningham Trust Fellow, and is active in staging the work of Merce Cunningham. His own work has been presented by Danspace Project, La Mama Moves Festival, Mount Tremper Arts in New York; and with writer Anne Carson at the Skirball Center at NYU, Summer Stages/ The Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston, the O Miami Festival, College of St. Elizabeth, Wellesley College, University of Minnesota, and Princeton University. In 2012 he was awarded a Bessie for “Outstanding Emerging Choreographer” and is also a recipient of the 2013 Foundation for Contemporary Art Grants. He is currently on faculty at Tisch School of the Arts and premiere Interface, a collaboration with visual artist Fraser Taylor and musician Thomas Arsenault, on March 14th and 15th at Baryshnikov Arts Center.
SILAS RIENER grew up in Washington DC. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Comparative Literature and certificates in Creative Writing and Dance, with a focus on linguistics. As a dancer he has worked with Chantal Yzermans, Takehiro Ueyama, Christopher Williams, Jonah Bokaer, and Rebecca Lazier, and is currently dancing for Tere O'Connor. He became the movement designer for Harrison Atelier in 2012 after choreographing the 2011 site-specific performance Pharmacophore: Architectural Placebo at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. He was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from November 2007 until its closure at the end of 2011, and received a 2012 New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his performance in Cunningham's Split Sides. While performing with MCDC, Riener completed his MFA in Dance at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (2008). He has taught workshops and technique classes at Concord Academy SummerStages and throughout Turkey at several universities, and is currently teaching dance technique at NYU's Playwrights Horizons, Princeton University, and Gallim Dance's Clinton Hill Arts Center. Since 2010 he has collaborated with poet Anne Carson and choreographer Rashaun Mitchell.
CLAUDIA LA ROCCO is the founder and artistic director of thePerformanceClub.org, which focuses on criticism as a literary art (with particular emphasis on the poet-critic tradition) and won a 2011 Creative Capitol/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. She is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts’ graduate program in Art Criticism and Writing, and has taught and lectured at a variety of universities, festivals and institutes. She is a founding editor of Hyperallergic Weekend, a contributing editor at Emergency INDEX and a member of the Off The Park poetry press, where she has just finished editing I Don’t Poem: An Anthology of Painters. Her poetry has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, failbetter.com, A Prior and Viva la Difference: Poetry Inspired by the Painting of Peter Saul, among others, and she has read at such places as Wellesley University, David Nolan Gallery, Mount Tremper Arts Festival and Boog City’s Small Press Series. Her interdisciplinary collaborations include recent and ongoing projects with the visual artist Thomas Micchelli and the choreographer Karen Sherman. She has had residencies at Mount Tremper Arts, Arizona State University and, this summer, Headlands Center for the Arts.
DAVISON SCANDRETT is a Brooklyn-based lighting designer and logistician for time-based art. Since graduating from the North Carolina School of the Arts in 2002 he has supervised lighting and technical production for more than 1000 performances in 46 states and 23 countries. Credits include the World Tour of Rent, the First National Tour of The Drowsy Chaperone, Super Bowl XXXIX, three tours for the Tony-honored Acting Company, and dances by Sarah Michelson, Miguel Gutierrez, Rashaun Mitchell, Joanna Haigood, Silas Riener, Jennifer Monson, and Pam Tanowitz. As Director of Production for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 2008 until the Company's closure in 2012 he was instrumental in the planning and execution of the Company's precedent-setting Legacy Plan as well as numerous landmark collaborations with prominent visual artists, musicians, and filmmakers. Davison designed the lighting for Paris Opera Ballet's 2012 revival of Cunningham's Un Jour ou Deux and was the recipient of a 2007 Bessie Award for his collaboration with Sarah Michelson and Parker Lutz on the visual design of DOGS.
O, Miami is a Knight-funded non-profit organization dedeciated to exanding and advancing literary culture in Miami, FL. O, Miami produces the annual O, Miami Poetry Festival, Jai-Alai Books, Jai Alai magazine, and other programs which bring the best literature to the greatest number of people. For more, visit omiami.org.