Arthur Avilés Compilation (1991-2000)

This video features footage from various solo and group performances of Arthur Avilés and/or the Arthur Avilés Typical Theater Company from 1991-2000. The footage includes the following performances:

Intoxicating Calm (1992), a solo by Arthur Avilés in which he performs quick, rigorous, athletic phrases that form movement and character sketches reflective of his internal feelings.

Untitled #1: After Martha Graham (1994) is a piece where Arthur inspires himself in the movement vocabulary of choreographer Martha Graham, reimagining her Diversion of Angels, and of course, dancing all three of them. "If I see something I like, why shouldn't I use it, especially if it inspired me? Originality is dead, but inspiration is alive. I put myself into that artwork and see what it does for me," said Avilés in an interview with Lawrence M. LaFountain-Stokes.

Ritual Dance (2000) features a group of dancers wearing white costumes that emphasize upper body gestures as they clap and move across the floor with stomping leg movements.

Arturella (1996) is a queer interpretation of the fairy tale Cinderella. Avilés uses his “autobiographical fantasy” method to recast the classic tale as a gay romance set in the South Bronx’s Latino community. He integrates Spanish and Spanglish into the narrative and assigns Latino names to all the characters in the fairy tale. Most of the movement in the dance is copied from the cartoon characters featured in Walt Disney’s motion picture Cinderella. It also features traditional Puerto Rican danza steps, as well as movement taken from West Side Story. The dance’s soundtrack is a collage of music and sounds taken from Disney’s Cinderella.

This Great and Pleasant Asylum (1999) is a duet with Arthur's partner and collaborator Charles Rice-González. As the fabric moves and unravels, their own love and intimacy comes up, disguised as choreography, to create a fissure in the narratives of loneliness, grief and death and in the racist and homophobic discourse of the 80s and early 90s through the gorgeous strength of racialized male partnership. Nude and joined by their mouths, they come out and fly away together.

Maéva: A New York Rican's Ensalada (1991) features a group of dancers who combine traditional Puerto Rican dance with Western forms, followed by the character Maéva who performs a monologue about her mother, in which she inquires on the "ensalada" that is to exist in between two distinct worlds and cultures - and how disidentification shapes that body.

Narcissus (1998) features Arthur and company performing a series of movement and contact phrases at varying speeds and levels to dramatic classical music.

5 Star Dance (1997) centers classical and contemporary movement techniques which are explicated across the dance floor to classical music.

Elysian Fields (1999) is a 15-dancer piece with choreography inspired by the dynamics of the visuals and editing from Michael Auder's video BROODING ANGELS: MADE FOR R.L.

A Puerto Rican Faggot From America (Danspace, 1996) is a dance piece where Aviles forgoes the use of text, music, and costume, leaving the audience to interpret the movement through the dance’s title. Throughout the performance, Aviles continuously moves in time and space while asserting his racial, sexual, and national identity. He dances nude as a political gesture to critique contemporary dance aesthetics and to expose his gay, Puerto Rican body amid the AIDS crisis. Aviles also expresses tension surrounding his self-proclaimed identity as a "New York-Rican"—a Puerto Rican born in New York that is estranged from island language and culture. Ultimately, Avilés conjures a body politic that challenges stereotypes and phobias about gay men during the AIDS pandemic, especially in the Latino community.

Super Maéva de Oz (2000) is a revised restaging of the original Maéva de Oz, in which company encircles Elizabeth Marrero's character, Maéva, while Maéva simultaneously unfolds a monologue exploring many of the characters in the Wizard of Oz, telling the story of a Latina coming out of the closet.

Ritual Dance (2000), in this version, features a smaller group of dancers swearing white costumes that emphasize upper body gestures as they clap and move across the floor while also performing stomping leg movements.

How to Stay Alive (2000) is a solo dance of Arthur Avilés moving in a red dress to classical music, queering both gender roles and ballet form.


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Additional Info

  • Title: Arthur Avilés Compilation
  • Holdings: video (HIDVL)
  • Duration: 04:10:46
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Date: 1991-2000
  • Type-Format: performance, dance
  • Cast: Arthur Avilés, performer. Elizabeth Marrero, performer, Untitled #1: After Martha Graham ; Arturella ; Maéva: A New York Rican's Ensalada ; Super Maéva de Oz. Charles Rice-González, performer, This Great and Pleasant Asylum ; Elysian Fields. Chikako Yamuchi, Morgan Keller, performer, Untitled #1: After Martha Graham. Benn Quiñones, Jeorge B. Merced, Mildred Ruiz, Steven Sapp, Ricardo Bennett, Stephen Choiniere, Maria Torres, Paul Lipson, Layla Childs, Angel Rodríguez, performer, Arturella. Keila Cordova, performer, Arturella ; Elysian Fields. Melina Mackall, performer, Arturella ; Elysian Fields. Bruno Apocalypse, Majora J. Carter, Darren Chase, Jennifer Chin, Amelia Cuevas, Marian Dybsjord, Renee Jimenez Orona, performer, Elysian Fields. Chris Luciani, Jule Ramírez, Sarah Waymann, Michael Yasin York, performer, Elysian Fields.
  • Credits: Gluck, musician, Elysian Fields. Orpheus, musician, Elysian Fields. Liz Prince, costume designer, Arturella ; Untitled #: After Martha Graham. Lou Shapiro, musician, Arturella.