No Boundaries: An Introduction

By No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

Over 15 years in the making, No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers existed as an evolving repertoire of solos choreographed by the nation’s leading contemporary African American choreographers that Gesel Mason performed in one evening. The performance project featured works by Kyle Abraham, Robert Battle, Rennie Harris, Dianne McIntyre, Bebe Miller, Donald McKayle, Reggie Wilson, Andrea E. Woods Valdéz, David Roussève, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. 

No Boundaries promotional video (2018) by Daniel BeahmNo Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

Photo of Gesel Mason in Dianne McIntyre's "Where You Come From" jumping (2015) by Daniel BeahmNo Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

The beginning...

Gesel Mason created the No Boundaries project in part because she felt the contributions of Black artists was quickly categorized and limited in ways that diminished the range of work by, for, and about African Americans. She also wanted to dance with choreographers whose work she admired and to share their stories with audiences who may have been unfamiliar with them. However, as the project evolved, her body became a living archive of over seven decades of choreographic history, “I ended up immersing myself in dance history…an evolving and living dance history. There are pieces from 1940s, and there's work from right now….”

Photo of Gesel Mason in Donald McKayle's "Saturday's Child" balanced on one leg (2006) by Enoch ChanNo Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

No Boundaries - Introduction by Gesel MasonNo Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

Photo of Gesel Mason and David Roussève reviewing choreography footage (2018) by NWB Imaging, LLCNo Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

One last time...

Presented by 651 Arts and RestorationART, Mason performed the (mostly) solo version of No Boundaries "one last time" April 6 & 7, 2018 at the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn.  The performance was captured by a multi-camera shoot in effort to transform the project into a digital humanities archive to celebrate the legacies and further the reach of African American and African diasporic choreographers. 

Photo of Gesel Mason in David Roussève's "Jumping the Broom" reaching to the side (2006) by Enoch ChanNo Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

More than a documentation of choreography, the dance is a point of entry to understanding a distinctly African American theme of resilience in spite of a history of silencing and erasure of African American cultural contributions.

Photo of Rennie Harris' "You Are Why!" (2015) by James ForsbergNo Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

By expanding the genre of Black dance and interrupting the systematic erasure of names lost to the archive, No Boundaries reveals the tenacity of resilience and the diversity of Black performance.

No Boundaries - Introduction by Gesel MasonNo Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

No Boundaries - Introduction by Gesel MasonNo Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

Bebe Miller interview 2018 interview

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Gesel Mason Performance Projects

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