DIGITAL: Talk it Out: MICHIYAYA
Feb. 1, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EST
Artist-Curators: Anya & Mitsuko Clarke-Verdery
Panelists: Abdu Ali, Tsohil Bhatia, Jasmine Hearn, Jason Rodriguez
Moderated by Gilbert T Small II
All things performance. What have your experiences been being a performer, and curating/creating performances? What do you feel is the magic in performance? What is the messiness? Where do success and failure tie into performance? Where does the future of performance/performance-making for you lie?
About Anya & Mitsuko Clarke-Verdery, Artist-Curators
Co-founded in 2015 by Anya and Mitsuko Clarke-Verdery, MICHIYAYA Dance is a queer-led dance company that pushes boundaries and centers the divine feminine by creating space for multidisciplinary performances and programming. Artistic Directors Anya and Mitsuko created MICHIYAYA as a way to combine their voices as artists—Anya, a Black queer choreographer/dance artist from Brooklyn, and Mitsuko, a white & Japanese queer visual/performance artist from Manhattan. Now in their fifth year, MICHIYAYA is an evolving company of five core dance artists.
Their performance work has spread nationally at venues and institutions such as Yale University, Brooklyn Museum, Andy Warhol Museum, Gelsey Kirkland Theater, La MaMa Galleria, Dixon Place, among others. Described as “revolutionary and physically virtuosic,” the powerful group of femme voices has been featured in Art Forum, Thinx, Vice i-D, Medium, and more. MICHIYAYA’s educational and community initiatives have reached the American College Dance Association, University of Santa Barbara, Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program, Purchase College Conservatory of Dance, and more. Anya & Mitsuko’s vision has been supported by Microsoft, CVS Health, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Opportunity Fund, and Dance/NYC.
About Abdu Ali, Panelist
Abdu Ali is a Baltimore based electronic musician, writer, cultural worker and multidisciplinary artist who works in sound, collaboration, video and performance. Their work often interrogates ideas of race, gender, and sexuality that manifests as poetic inquiries of identity, promoting liberation from oppressive ideologies and encouraging self marginalized peoples to be self determined. Their work also centers promoting authentic Black queer legacies and narratives as our histories are often subjected to distortion and erasure.
Performing across the United States and Europe, through their energetic visceral live shows, spiritualizing audiences, they have been anointed as a cosmic, punk, and soulful tempest on stage. Ali has performed at MoMa Ps1, The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Kennedy Center and their work has been highlighted by the New York Times, The Fader, Elephant Magazine and Tracks Arte TV. Ali has been a recipient of a 2018 Ruby Artist Grant and have held residencies at 2018 Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp and 2018 Pioneer Works. In 2019, Ali founded as they lay, a curatorial platform that claims space for critical dialogue, collaboration and radical envisioning for Black creative futures.
About Tsohil Bhatia, Panelist
Tsohil Bhatia (b.1992 New Delhi, IN) is an artist and homemaker currently based in Lenapehoking now known as New York City. They received their MFA at the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University (2020). Tsohil’s practice emerges from contemplations about the latencies of mundane objects, rituals, and images – bringing together the complexities of human existence and the body’s relationship with time and the space it inhabits. Through their performance practice, Tsohil explores and addresses paradoxes as well as represents unresolvable concepts and emotions. Their work has been shown at the University of British Columbia, Orecomm Festival, Queer Arts Festival, Franconia Sculpture Park, Hair+Nails, Fowler Kellogg Art Center and the Warhol. They’re represented by Blueprint12 Gallery (India) and are a resident at the Center for Book Arts.
About Jasmine Hearn, Panelist
Jasmine Hearn was born and raised on occupied lands now known as Houston, TX. They are an interdisciplinary artist, director, choreographer, organizer, teaching artist, and a 2017 and 2021 Bessies awarded performer. Jasmine’s commitment to dance is an expansive practice that includes performance, collaboration, and memory-keeping.
About Jason Rodriguez, Panelist
Jason Anthony Rodriguez is a Dominican-American actor/dancer. He is born and raised in Washington Heights in New York City. He went to SUNY Purchase where he received a BA in Arts Management while also studying ballet and modern. He also found vogue at Purchase through Benny Ninja and began his training under him. He was also mentored by Dorit Koppel and Kevin Wynn. He recently began training at Susan Batson Studio. He co-stars in Ryan Murphy’s Emmy® and Golden Globe®-nominated series Pose as “Lamar”. He was the Movement Coach for all three seasons of Pose. He has guest-starred on the Season Finale of The Deuce on HBO as “Enrico”. He has been featured in the New York Times five times by writers such as Siobhan Burke, Gia Kourlas and Illise S. Carter.
“Mr. Rodriguez is a subtle scene stealer as Lamar on the FX show “Pose,” about the birth of the vogue scene in New York City.” – Gia Kourlas from the NY Times
He has taught vogue in various institutions throughout the states. He has also taught internationally in Dominican Republic, Vienna and Japan. He recently co-founded Arraygency which supports BIPOC Queer & Trans folks and brings them to the forefront of all industries.
About Gilbert T Small II, Moderator
Gilbert T Small II is a dancer, choreographer, dramaturg, and rehearsal director. He started his formal training at the Baltimore School for the Arts and holds a BFA from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Upon finishing his education, he was invited to join Ballet British Columbia as a collaborator and movement artist. Over the ten years, he worked with some of the leading choreographers of today. He has also worked with Sidra Bell, Zoe Scofield, and Kyle Abraham. Gilbert is currently the Curatorial Director of Training and Rehearsal Director of the Gibney Company.
Talk It Out!, Gibney’s lively digital talk show, features celebrated moderators and curated guests from the best of the arts.
Gibney encourages people with disabilities to attend online offerings, and we welcome the opportunity to make this event more accessible. This event features live ASL interpreters and live captioning. If you have any questions or additional access needs, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 212-677-8560 (voice only) at least 24 hours in advance of the event you plan to attend.
From left to right, top to bottom: Anya Clarke + Mitsuko Verdery by Stephanie Crousillat, Abdu Ali by Elliott Jerome Brown Jr, Tsohil Bhatia courtesy of the artist, Jasmine Hearn by Hayim Heron, Jason Rodriguez by Miguel Herrera, Gilbert T Small II by Marcus Eriksson.