My interview with Sean Dorsey in the Chronicle:
“You might expect Sean Dorsey’s dances to be aesthetically transgressive or politically provocative. Dorsey – born female but now preferring the pronoun “he” – is the founder and director of Fresh Meat Productions, which he says is the nation’s first year-round presenter of transgender arts.
Sometimes the most progressive thing an artist can do with a marginalized experience is to present it in a familiar, easily relatable form. Weaving movement with story, the 36-year-old Dorsey tells finely crafted, poignant tales of transgender life. In “Uncovered: The Diary Project,” premiering this weekend at Dance Mission Theater, Dorsey turns his attention to the life of Lou Sullivan.
A female-to-male transsexual gay man, Sullivan lived in San Francisco from 1975 until his death in 1991, founding groundbreaking peer-support groups and publishing newsletters and informational booklets. The voluminous journals, medical records and letters he bequeathed to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society form the source material for “Lou,” Dorsey’s new suite of dances.
Q: You didn’t know anything about Lou Sullivan when you undertook this project.
A: A lot of transgendered people haven’t even heard of Lou Sullivan. That revealed to me the need to bring his story forward. I researched several people in letters and memoirs, knowing I wanted to work on a single life story. Lou’s actual writing is gorgeous and articulate and sensual and so clear and beautiful. As soon as I read it, I knew he was the one.
Q: Three other excellent dancers star in this show with you. How do you, as a quartet, bring Lou Sullivan’s story to life?
A: I’m not trying to physically embody Lou onstage or impersonate him.
I open the piece with my own writing as a witness narrator. All the rest of the text is taken from his journals and grouped into thematic episodes like love, transition, loss. They follow the arc of his life and journey, but some are in a more storytelling voice, some are more abstract and poetic. ”
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