My process makes messes.
My process does not ask for permission, nor does it seek forgiveness –
My process is a clean slate, anew like fresh dew, time and time and time again.
My process is a play date with my inner child god.
They speak. I listen. We create. We evolve.
We return. We return. We return.
DANCER | CHOREOGRAPHER
"I am keenly aware that moving through the world requires a consistent negotiation of the labels, manners, should nots, and could never prescribed on my body — art is my sanctuary, offering respite and recourse. It is through my artistic practice that I cross out, edit, rewrite, and redesign my body for me. My process is inherently unapologetic shadow work– a movement meditation, unearthing the bowels of the soul to unlearn and rehumanize my carnal form. With each iteration, I then draft blueprints of a world that molds around this form, offering this matter space to occupy. This process is both individual and collective work and its ripples hold the capacity to enact positive social change. I have the unique charge of conjuring ephemeral realms through which audiences reflect on their reality. Within this context, I hold immense power – it is through my artistry that I heal myself, others, and the spaces we dare inhabit."
Jeremy Guyton is an alchemist, performer, dreamer, choreographer, educator, and new world conjurer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he spent most childhood summers in his great-grandparents’ backcountry home in Millport, Alabama; during this time, his imagination incubated as he whipped up mudpies and fantasized characters for friends. He’d return to the West with a slight twang and nature’s imprint on his spine. While back in L.A., his dance training ignited in his living room as he spent countless hours studying music videos and learning repertory from choreographers like Jeffrey Daniel, Wade Robson, and Laurie Ann Gibson. The vibrations of the city in which he was raised tickled flesh and sinew and set the foundation for his movement vocabulary.
"Through my artistry, I also engage in legacy work. I was adopted by a single father in 1990 who would transition to the ancestral realm in 1992 due to complications from AIDS. I Guyton chase his voice in the rehearsal room; he improvises with me and together we find liberation as Black, bisexual men. When we rehearse together, we spend time constructing memory space - living in the in between for hours, slipping deeper into the edges of our consciousness. I am reminded, through my father’s journey, of the consequences and harsh realities of this world and am held accountable to his legacy to pursue liberatory spaces for my communities."
Upon graduation from high school, his curiosity led him to the Mid-Atlantic, where he studied theatre at Georgetown University, joined a local dance crew, and absorbed the movement languages of Baltimore club and go-go music. He layered this vocabulary on top of that of his birth language, listening intently to the ways in which they spoke to another. In 2012, he landed in New Orleans and immersed in the vocabulary of second-line footwork and bounce. He traced lines from jerking to buckjumping to wu-tanging and emerged as a tri-linguist of sorts. His work is designed in the boardroom where these worlds converge and collide, producing an unnamed, yet recognizable technical prowess that interrogates the liminal space between earth and sky, dusk and dawn. Over time, his home studio evolved to the club dance floor, a rich site where he continues to investigate and experiment and transcribe conversations between the DJ and the dance floor.
"In doing this work, I often create from personal lived experience, employing character- driven narratives, to evoke familiarity and connection as I invite audiences in as citizens of a collective fantasy. Relying mostly on vocabulary absorbed through my adolescence, from witnessing commercial dance on the television to devising physical theatre, my work is designed in the boardroom where these worlds converge and collide, producing an unnamed, yet recognizable technical prowess that interrogates the liminal space between earth and sky, dusk and dawn. My art is a call to action. It demands accountability for the ways in which I move through space. It nudges my imagination to think within and around existing structures to create safe, fantastical spaces for every spirit in our community. This movement interrogates the body and seeks the upheaval of power and supremacist thought patterns. My art assumes discomfort as a necessary condition for growth and evolution."
He is currently furthering this research as he pursues an MFA in Choreography and Performance at Florida State University. Prior pursuits include: dreaming alongside artists aged 6-19 as Youth Programs Director at New Orleans dance non-profit, Dancing Grounds; manifesting creative worlds with artists and companies like Solange Knowles, Maya Taylor, Aluna, Chris Emile, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Kristin Sudeikis, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Kesha McKey, Leyla McCallah and Kiyoko McCrae, KM Dance Project, Junebug Productions, B.U.K.U. Dance Krewe, and Goat in the Road Productions.
Cara Beth Heath
Born and raised just south of Nashville, Tennessee, Cara Beth has an MFA in Playwriting from Western Michigan University and a BA in Creative Writing from the College of Charleston. She's studied with Beth Lincks, Arlene Hutton, Steve Feffer, Paula Vogel, Heather Helinsky, Mark Bly, and Gary Garrison. She's also been invited to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for dramaturgy, directing and playwriting. Her work has been read and produced in several festivals and workshops across the midwest. She's been in Chicago since the summer of 2016, developing her own plays and advocating for local playwrights as a founding member of the Ritual Writers Group. Cara Beth looks forward to producing more work in Chicago and elsewhere.
Hannah ii Epstein
WRITING TEAM | PANELIST
Hannah Ii-Epstein (she/her/hers), born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, recently received her MFA in Writing for the Screen + Stage at Northwestern University. She is a writer of fiction, poetry, screenplays, plays, and musicals. She is a Co-Artistic Director, Board Member, and a Founding Member of Nothing Without a Company (NWaC). Since 2007, over ten of her plays and musicals have been produced by NWaC, About Face Theatre’s Babes on Stage, Fury Theatre's SAST, Mary-Arrchie's Abbie Fest, and Nothing Special Production's Fight Night. She was awarded 30 under 30 in Windy City Times in 2014. In 2016 Hannah and her play, Not One Batu, was honored by Hawai'i State Theatre Council Po'okela Awards in the categories of Non-Resident Guest Artist and Overall Play.
Preston Max Allen
Preston Max Allen is a playwright, composer, and lyricist whose work has been featured at the New Amsterdam Theatre, Lincoln Center, New York Musical Festival, Signature Theatre, Musical Theatre Factory, Feinstein's/54 Below, Joe's Pub, Laurie Beechman Theatre, York Theatre ("Tune In Time" winner), Gallery Players, Lululemon (it’s a long story), and Second City Chicago. Preston conceived and wrote book, music, and lyrics for WE ARE THE TIGERS (Theatre 80, Hudson Backstage Theatre, L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation winner for Best Lyrics/Composition, nominee for Best Production), NEVER BETTER (NYMF Developmental Reading Series), and THE RAGE: CARRIE 2, AN UNAUTHORIZED MUSICAL PARODY (Jeff Nominee, Best Musical/Underscore Theatre). His play MODERN GENTLEMAN was featured as part of the 2020 PRIDE PLAYS Festival (dir. Blayze Teicher).
PANEL DISCUSSION HOST
Nik Whitcomb is a host, artist, content creator, and emerging thought leader born and raised in Omaha, NE. The bulk of Nik's work has been in the world of entertainment and he was recently named a "Theatre Worker You Should Know" by American Theatre Magazine.
Nik has had a successful career as an actor, director, educator, and administrator at a number of major theatrical institutions around the country and has been able to mix and mingle with the best and brightest. He now uses his natural gift of gab and philosophical worldview to engage in authentic conversations and investigate solutions to issues plaguing our society. Nik's natural charisma, honest approach, and willingness to ask the tough questions with a smile has made him a leader and rising voice for positive change.