American Realness

Miguel Gutierrez

This Bridge Called My Ass

Presented by The Chocolate Factory Theater

WORLD PREMIERE

Wednesday, January 9, 8:00pm
Thursday, January 10, 8:00pm
Friday, January 11, 8:00pm
Saturday, January 12, 8:00pm
Tuesday, January 15, 8:00pm
Wednesday, January 16, 8:00pm
Thursday, January 17, 8:00pm
Friday, January 18, 8:00pm
Saturday, January 19, 8:00pm

70 minutes

The Chocolate Factory Theater
5-49 49th Ave
Long Island City

Buy Tickets!

In This Bridge Called My Ass six Latinx performers – Alvaro Gonzalez, John Gutierrez, Miguel Gutierrez, Xandra Ibarra, Nibia Pastrana Santiago, and Evelyn Sanchez Narvaez – map an elusive choreography of obsessive and perverse action within an unstable terrain of bodies, materials and sound. A formal logic binds the group propelling them to create a constantly transforming world where their togetherness retains autonomy to complicate the idea of identity. Clichéd Latin-American songs and the form of the telenovela are exploited to show how familiar structures contain absurdity that reveal and celebrate difference. With Stephanie Acosta as dramaturg/assistant director, Tuçe Yasak as lighting designer and Matt Shalzi on set construction.

This Bridge Called My Ass is co-commissioned by the Chocolate Factory, Centre National du Danse in Pantin and Montpellier Danse. This Bridge Called My Ass is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by PICA/TBA in partnership with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, Bates Dance Festival in Maine, Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh, PA and NPN The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: npnweb.org. Additional support comes from the Ken and Judith Joy Family Foundation and from individual donors. The piece has been developed through Gibney’s Dance in Process (DiP) Residency program with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Freehand Fellowship x Bard Residency, and residencies at The Chocolate Factory and the Centre National de la Danse, Pantin.

Photo by Ian Douglas


Created by Miguel Gutierrez in collaboration with the performers
Performed by Alvaro Gonzalez, John Gutierrez, Miguel Gutierrez, Xandra Ibarra, Nibia Pastrana Santiago, Evelyn Sanchez Narvaez
Dramaturgy/Assistant Directing by Stephanie Acosta
Lighting Design by Tuçe Yasak
Set assistance/construction by Matthew Shalzi
Original music by Miguel Gutierrez
Text by Miguel Gutierrez, traditional tongue twisters, with selections from telenovelas including Maria la del Barrio, El extraño retorno de Diana Salazar, Marimar, and several others.


Miguel Gutierrez (choreographer, writer, composer, performer) is a Brooklyn based artist working in dance, performance, music and poetry. He has been called “one of our most provocative and necessary artistic voices” by Eva Yaa Asantewaa at Dance Magazine. His work addresses urgency and contingency, the weight of mortality and desire for meaning, how identity expresses content and form, and how the mundane commingles with the sublime. His work joins a legacy of process-focused experimental forms while drawing on influences such as endurance-based performance art, noise music, ecstatic experience in social and religious rituals, the study of mind-body somatic systems, and various histories of spectacle including Broadway and queer club performance.

His most recent work is Cela nous concerne tous (This concerns all of us), a 2017 commission for Ballet de Lorraine inspired by the social unrest movements of May 1968. From 2013 to 2015 creating Age & Beauty, a trilogy that places a queer lens on mortality, the representation of the dancer, the intersection of administration with art-making, and an ambivalence toward futurity.

Gutierrez is one of the few dance artists to have been selected for a Whitney Biennial (2014). His work has been presented in over fifty cities in the U.S. and around the world in venues such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York Live Arts, The Kitchen, Danspace Project, AMERICAN REALNESS, Live Arts Bard, Walker Art Center, Flynn Center for Performing Arts, PICA’s TBA Festival, CounterPulse, Diverseworks, Fringe Arts, Centre National de Danse and Centre Pompidou in Paris, Les Subsistances in Lyon, L’Opera National de Lorraine, ImPulsTanz in Vienna, Kampnagel in Hamburg, BiPod Festival in Beirut, Festival Universitario in Colombia and many others.

He is a 2016 Doris Duke Artist. In 2010 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography. That same year he also received a United States Artist Award and a Foundation for Contemporary Art Award. In addition he has received a Lambent Fellowship from the Tides Foundation (2006-2008), and Fellowships in Choreography from New York Foundation for the Arts in 2004 and 2008. He is the recipient of the 2016 Franky Award from Prelude Festival, and he has received four New York Dance and Performance Bessie Awards: one in 2001 for his work as a dancer with John Jasperse Company, two for his choreographic work (in 2006 for Retrospective Exhibitionist and Difficult Bodies and in 2010 for Last Meadow), and one in 2017 for Outstanding Revived Work with Ishmael Houston-Jones, Nick Hallett and Jennifer Monson for Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes From a Life and Other Works by John Bernd.

His work has been supported by New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, the NPN Commissioning Fund, MAP Fund, Jerome Foundation, Creative Capital, the Josephine Foundation and the NEA. He has been an artist in residence at Maggie Allessee National Center for Choreography, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Centre Choréographique National de Montpellier, Centre National du Danse Pantin, Baryshnikov Art Center, Gibney Dance and several universities.

He has choreographed and performed in music videos for Diane Cluck, Holcombe Waller and Le Tigre, has performed as a singer with Anohni, Nick Hallett, My Robot Friend, Justin Vivian Bond, Holcombe Waller, Vincent Segal and Kid Millions. He has created music for several of his works, for choreographer Antonio Ramos, and in collaboration with Colin Self for Jen Rosenblit and Simone Aughterlony’s Everything Fits in the Room. He has released two albums under the moniker The Belleville. Currently he performs a music project called SADONNA, where he takes upbeat Madonna songs and draws out the existential melancholy embedded in the lyrics.

His writing has appeared in handjob the zine, the Movement Research Journal, Emily Roysdon’s Uncounted, Shannon Jackson and Paula Marincola’s book In Terms of Performance, Rebecca Stenn’s book A Life In Dance,. His short essay “The Perfect Dance Critic” has been featured in several international publications. His book of performance texts WHEN YOU RISE UP is available from 53rd State Press and he is at work on a second book called THE THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE. His work is discussed in Jenn Joy’s book The Choreographic, published by MIT Press.

He is the program director of LANDING, a new education initiative at Gibney Dance. He leads workshops in his approach to creative practice all over the world and has taught at ImPuls Tanz in Vienna, CND in Paris, CNDC/Angers, American Dance Festival, Hollins University (BFA and MFA programs), School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA), Princeton University, Yale University (MFA program), Brown University, RISD, CalArts, Bennington College and in New York at New School/Eugene Lang, Hunter College, and Movement Research, among many other places. From 2007-2017 he led DEEP AEROBICS, an absurdist workout for the radical in all of us, in a variety of festivals and venues, including the Palais de Tokyo. It was also used as the warmup for The Knife’s “Shaking the Habitual” tour. He is a guild certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method®.

Stephanie Acosta (dramaturg/assistant director) is a multidisciplinary artist focused on the exploration of the experiential, incorporating concrete objects, created environments, solo and ensemble performances, along with experimental and documentary filmmaking as modes of inquiry. By placing the materiality of the ephemeral at the root of her practice, Acosta questions the making of immovable meanings in our manufactured limitations.

Based in NYC​, she works extensively with unseen histories, performance, experimental radio, and dance films. Recently: presenting I AM A POTTED PALM, an evolving solo, from her series Is This What You Wanted, issues of self tokenizing and the sanctity of sincerity in identity work, (IN>TIME2016, Miami Performance Fest ‘17) and the exhibition Aqui y Alla at Vox Populi in collaboration with J Soto. Joining forces with Miguel Gutierrez for the world premiere of Cela nous concerne tous (This concerns all of us) at the Ballet de Lorraine, in Nancy, France Fall ‘17, they now embark on a new work to premiere in NY January ‘19. Her first feature film (producer/art director), The Ladies Almanack, premiered at MCA Chicago October ’16 and is currently on tour throughout the world, based on the writing of Djuna Barnes. Continuing in it’s 3rd season, Acosta is Co-Founder and Programmer of Sunday Service, monthly performance/discourse series and joined American Realness as curator of the readings/writings in 2018. Acosta debuted the first volume of GOOD DAY GOD DAMN, an expansive scale performance, film, and installation in March ‘18, delving into cosmic pressure, sentient landscapes, domestic terror, and landlocked limitations at the Museum of Art and Design as an inaugural choreographer-in-residence.

Tuçe Yasak (lighting designer) graduated from the Department of Industrial Design at Middle East Technical University in Turkey in 2004. She worked for XXI Architecture and Design Magazine for five years as the Editor of Industrial Design. Following the magic of light, she moved from Istanbul to New York in November 2009. She designs for dance, theater and concerts. She is interested in site-specific performances and light installations. She has been to NOLA Fringe Festival with Enthusiast Theater Company’s site-specific piece ‘the Decay of the Cities” in November 2013. She has been involved with Lumensentient Projections since 2011 and has performed in “LAMP”, the urban light festival in New Haven in October 2013 and at MassBliss Festival in July, 2015. Also, she was a contributing participant in Gutai Card Box exhibited at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, NYC as a part of Gutai: Playground retrospective exhibition in February/March 2013. In August 2013, she was a resident at MANA Contemporary Art Center, NJ with choreographer Nikki Holck. She worked as a contributor writer ofPLSN Magazine and made interviews with lighting designers. She has been collaborating with choreographer Korhan Basaran since 2011 in both NYC and Istanbul (Gatherings, Untitled, RAU, DRT, RAU2, Unfold, Unsettled). She has also collaborated with Vicky Araico, actress and playwright from Mexico City, on her solo show “Juana in a Million” including the performance at the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco as a part of MEX I AM festival, in July 2014. The same year in August, she was a resident at the Bates Dance Festival with Korhan Basaran,where she got the opportunity to light “Unsettled”, a collaborative work by Korhan Basaran Dance Company and the David Dorfman Dance that was commissioned and produced by DanceMotionUS and BAM performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music, NYC in August, 2014. She has been a creative collaborator to choreographer Raja Feather Kelly of the Feather Theory in his recent works including Color Me Warhol in April,2015 and “37 Other Reasons to Cry” in October, 2015. She has been dancing tango since 2000 and she loves listening to jazz.

Alvaro Gonzalez Dupuy/EstadoFlotante (performer) is a Movement/Dance artist originally from Santiago de Chile where he studied Dance at UAHC (Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano) based in Ledeer/Laban technique, worked as a performer and as a teaching artist, and started to produce his own work. By interacting with sound and visual elements he explores the moving body from its internal and sensorial awareness in an attempt to unfold a vocabulary of the present that integrates and re structures the space and its narrative.

He moved to NYC in 2012 where he studied at Dance New Amsterdam. More recently he has had the pleasure to perform with Elizabeth Motley, Alex Romania, Miguel Gutierrez, Ishmael Houston, Antonio Ramos, Commons Choir/Daria Fain. His work has been performed at Dance New Amsterdam, Danny Studios, Bridge for Dance, Sample Festival, Green Space, Launch Pad, The Brick Theatre, House Fest, Freeman Space, Alvin Ailey City Group Theatre, open performance at Movement Research, Showdown at Gibney Dance Center, BAAD!Bronx, Binary Series, Center for Performance Research, and Movement Research at the Judson Church.

John Gutierrez (performer) is a multidisciplinary artist, creator, and performer originally from Washington Heights, a neighborhood in a densely populated small island known as Manhattan/New York City. Since finishing his BFA (in theater/drama) at NYU Tisch’s Experimental Theater Wing, John has ventured into various worlds of performance – working with directors and choreographers from around the world such as Big Dance Theater, Full Circle Souljahs, The Ridiculous Theater Company, MOTUS of Italy, Ivica Buljan of Croatia, Jesse Phillips-Fein, Culture Hub NYC, and many more, performing in venues all over the East Coast and Europe such as BAM, The Kennedy Center, La Mama, Dixon Place, Danspace, Dance Place DC, BAX, and many more. John’s personal work combines theater, movement, and original music ranging from artistic expressions based in everything from hip hop to postmodern and has been presented at The Rubin Museum, Gibney, Theater for The New City, HERE Arts, and TADA Theater to name a few. His work, typically collaborative based, often deals with current and historical interpersonal and systemic sociopolitical issues. John is currently finishing his training at The Terry Knickerbocker Studio which offers a two year acting conservatory in the Meisner technique/method. He is a proud member of the feath3r theory, BAIRA Movement Philosophy, and the Great Jones Rep Company of La Mama. He is excited to be currently working with Miguel Gutierrez, Parijat Desai, and touring internationally with the GJR and MOTUS.

Xandra Ibarra (performer) is an Oakland-based performance artist that integrates performance, sex acts, and burlesque with video, photography, and objects. Her practice uses hyperbolized modes of racialization and sexualization to test the boundaries between her own body and coloniality, compulsory whiteness, and Mexicanidad.

Ibarra’s work has been featured at El Museo de Arte Contemporañeo (Bogotá), The Broad Museum (LA), CITRU-Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (D.F.), Joe’s Pub (NYC) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF) to name a few. She has been awarded the Art Matters Grant, NALAC Fund for the Arts, ReGen Artist Fund, and the Franklin Furnace Performance and Variable Media Award. Currently, Ibarra is co-curating a yearlong feminist performance art series entitled EN CUATRO PATAS with Nao Bustamante at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles.

Ibarra’s work has also been featured in several recent and forthcoming books. Juana Maria Rodriguez’s Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings features her performance “I am your Puppet” (2007) while Amber Jamilla Musser’s Brown Jouissance: Feminine Imaginings includes a chapter about Ibarra’s collaboration with performance artist Amber Hawk Swanson, “Untitled Fucking” (2013). Leticia Alvarado’s Abject Performances: Aesthetic Strategies in Latino Cultural Production features Ibarra’s “Skins” (2015) performance work on the cover.

nibia pastrana santiago (performer) Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico (1987). nibia obtained a BA in Dance / Women’s Studies from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, where she was a member of the dance company Hincapié, directed by Petra Bravo. She holds an MFA in Dance with a Minor in Latina/o Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US, and a Postmaster from a.pass, Brussels. During her time at Illinois she was awarded the Vannie Sheiry Memorial Dance Scholarship for Outstanding Performance, and the Wanda Nettl Prize for Choreography. nibia was awarded the 2011 Tinker Fellowship Summer Research in Latin America for The Border-Body: History of Panamanian Women as Choreography. She was part of the danceWEB Scholarship Program, ImPulsTanz #28 in Vienna, & was a fellow artist at La Práctica (2015-2016) Beta Local PR, where she published her first zine maniobra, bahía o el evento coreográfico. Based in Santurce, she co-directs LA ESPECTACULAR—Artists Residency with Gisela Rosario Ramos. nibia has performed in works by DD Dorvillier/Human Future Dance Corps, Nickels Sunshine, & Jennifer Monson/iLAND. Currently, she serves as the Academic Coordinator, Dance Program, Universidad del Sagrado Corazón & Escuela de Danza 21, the first of its kind on the island. During the past years, nibia has collaborated with David Bergé, Eduardo Rosario, Susan Homar, sculptor Elizabeth Robles, and curators Nelson Rivera and Sharmyn Cruz. Her work has been presented in PR, BXL, NYC, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Evelyn Sanchez Narvaez (performer) Raised on the west coast and now cultivating her artistry on the east, she/her/they/them is a Mexican American sun moon water child energetically queering the space around her. She is currently dancing with Abby Zbikowski’s Abby Z and the New Utility and Jill Sigman’s thinkdance while also working on her own projects separately with Elena Light and Caitlin Thurgood.
Evelyn is a 2018 Gibney Work Up 4.0 artist. Through this performance opportunity, they premiered, “okay, I’m gunna start now…” a solo collaged with humor, vulnerability, rigor, and ritual that creates a world within which they rewrite her lived narrative. Now she works with Elder Share The Arts (E.S.T.A) as a creative aging teaching artist at Hope Gardens, Brooklyn. They also had the privilege of being a 2017-2018 fall/winter teaching artist for Urban Art Beat, a hip hop pedagogy organization that created a program, Beats Beyond Bars, that teaches different mediums of art (music engineering, dance, journalism) to incarcerated youth at Rikers.