Ishmael Houston-Jones is a choreographer, author, performer, teacher, and curator. His improvised dance and text work has been performed in New York City, across the US, and in Europe, Canada, Australia, and Latin America. Houston-Jones and Fred Holland shared a Bessie Award for their piece Cowboys, Dreams and Ladders.
He also revived THEM, his 1985 collaboration with writer Dennis Cooper and composer Chris Cochrane for which he was awarded his second Bessie Award. He has curated Platform 2012: Parallels and Platform 2016: Lost and Found, both at Danspace Project. He is a recipient of the 2016 Herb Alpert, a 2015 Doris Duke Impact and a 2013 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Artists Awards.
Choreographing Improvisation / Improvising Choreography
It is my belief that all dance that is made to be performed in front of a live audience is choreographed. There is a common mistaken notion that there is a dichotomy between “choreographed” dances and “improvised” ones. I believe that there is only a difference in temporality – all dance performances have the same compositional concerns – some choreography is set and is meant to be repeated nearly exactly and others are choreographed in the moment.