The Portal

voix de ville

Javier Ninja and Archie Burnett, Elements of Vogue (2011). Photograph by Ian Douglas.

Bill Irwin, Morph/Era Portrait (2011). Photograph by Ian Douglas.

Kota Yamazaki, Itsuko san (2011). Photograph by Ian Douglas.

“There is a structural madness, just when you are convinced it’s all falling apart, it suddenly comes together.” Judy Hussie-Taylor

voix de ville was created as a dialogue between different dance cultures, a re-imagining of Vaudeville in which artists working in improvisational dance forms explore the many approaches to transformation and shapeshifting, and express their unique voix de ville, or “voices of the city."

House of Ninja voguers Archie Burnett and Javier Ninja create a freestyle performance exploring transformation through the art of vogue. Burnett, grandfather of the House of Ninja, has been a legendary force in the underground dance world for the past 45 years, and is featured in Dr. Sally R. Sommer's documentary Check Your Body At The Door. Javier Ninja, New Way vogue legend, is known for his rhythmic arm and hand precision.

Theatrical clown and actor Bill Irwin performs Morph/Era Portrait, a comedic solo marked by his rubbery physicality and impeccable rhythmic syntax. As Ronald Scott Jenkins writes, "Watching Irwin’s limbs move in dozens of directions simultaneously is like seeing Fred Astaire’s body possessed by all four Marx Brothers at once.”

Choreographer Kota Yamazaki combines wildness and restraint in his solo Itsuko San. Born in Niigata, Japan, Yamazaki was first introduced to butoh under the teaching of Akira Kasai at the age of 18. Innovating a somatic philosophy of a 'vaporizing body,' Yamazaki talks about the ways the body can become anything: paper, economy, woman, child, animal.