Inside the Pillow Lab: Gesel Mason


Inside the Pillow Lab is an intimate new film series that captures works in process and behind-the-scenes moments of what it’s like for artists to live, work, and rehearse together again in COVID-compliant residencies on the Pillow’s retreat-like campus. Gesel Mason is artistic director for Gesel Mason Performance Projects and associate professor of dance and choreography at the University of Texas at Austin. She was a member of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Ralph Lemon/Cross Performance Projects. Her company, Gesel Mason Performance Projects (GMPP), serves as a medium for her creative work. GMPP is a project-based dance company that seeks to create meaningful, relevant, and compelling art events as a way to encourage compassion and inquiry. In her work, Mason utilizes dance, theater, humor, and storytelling to bring visibility to voices unheard, situations neglected, or perspectives considered taboo. Mason will be using her time in the Pillow Lab to work on Yes, And, a collection of performance events that center an expansive vision of Black womanhood as the operating force in the creative process. An iterative approach informed by the expertise and lived experiences of self-identified Black women and femmes, Yes, And asks: “Who would you be and what would you do if, as a Black woman, you had nothing to worry about? What would you create and how might you be in community with others?” The questions frame a methodology of undoing and re-imagining that offers participants and witnesses the freedom “to find” and to “be found” from this recalibrated place. The project is supported by National Performance Network and New England Foundation for the Arts. RESIDENCY DATES: March 3–14, 2022 APPEARING IN FILM: Gesel Mason Yunina Barbour-Payne Love Muwwakkil Khorii Tinson Roxanne Young Eliot Fisher MK Abadoo Rita Burns MUSIC: Jovan Landry FILMING: Erica Spizz Film produced by Nel Shelby Productions: Nel Shelby, Producer Caroline Haidet, Editor Benjamin Richards, Graphic Animation LEAD SUPPORT FOR THE 2021-2022 PILLOW LAB IS PROVIDED BY: The Mellon Foundation WITH ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM: Deborah & Charles Adelman Arison Arts Foundation The Barr Foundation Harkness Foundation for Dance Barbara and Amos Hostetter Christopher Jones & Deb McAlister Mertz Gilmore Foundation National Endowment for the Arts © 2022 Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Inc.

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