By Tara Sheena of Dance Informa.
Dante Brown formed Warehouse Dance in 2010 in order to, as he puts it, “work collaboratively in hyper-physical creative processes to produce dynamically rich environments on stage.” His interest in highly physical movement meets a commitment to exploring popular tropes and teasing out their absurdity, including a recent dance work dissecting the term “bromance” and a new work on celebrity culture and how our society responds. His company has a busy performance schedule this winter, including presentations at Triskelion Arts and a tour throughout Florida. In his interview with Dance Informa, Brown touches on early influences, current challenges, and future excitement.
What originally drew you to choreography? Do you have any early influences you can recall?
“I like building communities. I enjoy the process of gathering people from different experiences in a room to create something that an audience can witness, be entertained, and leave with questions that relate not only to the work but to how we view ourselves on the day to day. David Dorfman and the lovely creators at The Dance Exchange really showed me the importance of community and the value of uplifting the voice of the individual within that community.”
How would you describe your aesthetic and style to someone who has never seen your work?
“I work in collaborative, hyper-physical creative processes to produce dynamically rich environments on stage. With every work I enjoy social commentary and pushing the physical limits of a moving body. Most of the time, the context comes from recognizing a thematic pattern in popular culture that I find compelling, such as bromance or American Apparel ads, and then framing those themes in a different light.”
What, in your mind, is the biggest challenge for emerging choreographers right now? What are the strategies you’ve employed to navigate that challenge?
“Money. I’ve encountered so many talented young artists who make exquisite work but unfortunately cannot support it out of pocket. Fundraising strategies and crowd funding can only take you so far because you’re depleting your community. As of now we are looking towards grants and funded residencies to provide some financial stability for my company but, in reality, I personally had to make a shift in terms of how I view this field.
Where does one hold value within this field? For me, it’s the satisfaction of building community, seeing people finding joy in movement and the work. As optimistic as it sounds, it makes it worth the financial sacrifice at times.”
What are the next steps for you and your company?
“We have several upcoming performances in NYC as well as a tour of Florida in January. Below are some dates for our upcoming performances:
Social Plaque December 11 at Holstee Art Studios, 7:30pm
Social Plaque January 11 at the Alchemical Theatre Laboratory, 2:00pm
Social Plaque & Package Florida Tour January 15th-19th
Soapbox February 28 & March 1 at Triskelion Arts 7:30pm
You can find out more about Dante Brown/Warehouse Dance at www.warehousedance.org.”
Photo (top): Dante Brown. Photo by Corey Melton.