I SHOT DENZEL
“i shot denzel” is the sixth incarnation of a three-year series of “denzels” that I have been creating since 2010. Throughout the “denzel” series it’s become clear there is a non-linear progression happening inside and outside of the body of work. The evolution is not married to a narrative but rather to the maturity of the work through time. Denzel has represented black masculine identity in performance as seen from my perspective as a queer trans-masculine identified young black person. I’m working with many ideas that continue to interest me, such as death, grieving through sound experiences, original philosophical text, voguing and fear. Exploring these avenues in my work has been educational for me in terms of answering larger questions for myself: how do I navigate being transgender in dance? Identifying as black in dance? Identifying as queer in dance? And not always being defiant or “challenging”? I am interested in creating space and visibility for myself and others who identify similarly. The topics that remain challenged in “i shot denzel” are normativity, complacency and impossibility.
For “i shot denzel,” I’ve created a monologue in the first-person as the voice of denzel (played by myself), accompanied by a piece from Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre Du Printemps.” In this work I am asking the question “How am I like denzel in performance?” while simultaneously attempting to “end” the life of denzel via an abstract “virgin sacrifice.” In past denzels, I have worked with my friends, lovers and family to create a self-portrait. The idea for this new work is to strip the work of other presences and create a “physically challenging” solo on my own body, exploring the performance of “blackness” within the context of contemporary or classical movement. Creating this solo could be somewhat of a breakthrough for the vocabulary, questions and ideas that I’ve been developing throughout the entire series of work, representing simultaneously the “end” of one era and the re-birth of a new one within the denzel lineage.