In 2009 Trajal Harrell created Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (S) at the New Museum in New York. What, he wondered, would have happened if in 1963 someone from the New York voguing scene in Harlem had come down to the Judson Church in Greenwich Village to perform alongside the early postmodernists? He sought an answer to his question in a series of five choreographic works in five sizes ranging from XS to XL.
‘Voguing’ originated in Harlem in the early sixties and was practised mainly by African-American and Latino gays, lesbians and transvestites. The sensual dance style – a pastiche on the chic of the fashion world – only became mainstream much later on, for example through Madonna’s Vogue and the documentary Paris is Burning. The Judson Church was the place where the pioneers of postmodern dance – such as Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs and Steve Paxton – worked from 1962 to 1964.
(M)IMOSA is the medium-sized episode in the series and is the work of the choreographers Cecilia Bengolea, François Chaignaud, Marlene Monteiro Freitas and Harrell himself. The initial question here is focused on the meeting between the four choreographers. (M)IMOSA is about the desire to be someone else and the impossibility of this, and focuses on the differences between the four dancers.
(M)IMOSA effortlessly combines contemporary dance, transvestism, glamour and humour. The performance was staged at the 2011 Avignon Festival.
‘Over-the-top theatricality and matter-of-fact banality collide as the four performers offer a succession of personalities’ – The New York Times
‘Harrell is exceptionally smart in his approach to (M) a.k.a (M)imosa, investigating what constitutes contemporary dance with glamour, humor, and wit. (…)Themes of gender, sexuality, and race are played out on the stage in a theatrical but unpretentious matter.’ – www.brooklynrail.org
choreographed and performed by Cecilia Bengolea, François Chaignaud, Trajal Harrell, Marlene Monteiro Freitas | lighting design Yannick Fouassier | shoes La Bourette | light manager Sylvain Rausa | sound manager Enora Le Gall | special thanks to Matthieu Banvillet, Sarah Michelson, DD Dorvillier, Ben Pryor, Lasseindra Ninja, Alex Mugler, Rumi Missabu, Pascal Queneau, Archie Burnett, Javier Madrid, Matthieu Bajolet, Donatien Veismann, Miguel Bengolea, Marianne Chargois, Joao Figueira, Rio Rutzinger, Emmanuelle Huynh, Jessica Trossman. Frédéric Perouchine | production VLOVAJOB PRU with Le Quartz – Scène nationale de Brest | co-production Le Quartz - Scène nationale de Brest, Théâtre National de Chaillot, Centre de Développement Chorégraphique – Toulouse, The Kitchen – New York, Bomba Suicida, FUSED – French US Exchange in Dance | support la Ménagerie de Verre – Paris et des Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers | Cecilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud are associated to Ménagerie de Verre – Paris | VLOVAJOB PRU is supported by DRAC Poitou-Charentes and is supported by Institut Français for its foreign projects