Performance

Benji Hart performs poetry and spoken word, exploring the themes of Blackness, queerness, femmeness, and the histories of resistance that link them. They are a longtime street dancer, with a background in a range of improvisational styles, including vogue, hip hop, and bomba.

In addition to individual poetry and movement works, they are the author of several short one-person performance pieces. More detailed information about their on-stage work is listed below:

 

Dancer As Insurgent
An excerpt of “Dancer As Insurgent” performed at the Chicago Home Theater Festival in Rogers Park. Photo credit: 이다함, 2016

In this one-person piece, Benji Hart explores the art form of vogue as a tool for radical social transformation. Through improvised movement and original spoken word, they trace the form’s roots back to its inception in Riker’s Island prison, grounding it in a history of queer struggle, and insisting that vogue is not only a source of individual empowerment, but a portal for revolutionary social and political reimaginings.

Voguing is a defiantly queer dance form whose roots go deep into the history of the Black diaspora, drawing on survival strategies and popular forms of celebration developed during slavery. In Hart’s performance, the queer body reveals itself as a source of revolutionary movement, while the artist’s gestures appear as an embodiment of the community’s history.

Sabel Gavaldón, curator for CA2M

Movement & spoken word

25 minutes

 

Header photo: Gerard H. Gaskin