My mission is to entertain, enlighten, and engage you in new and exciting ways and there are three things specific to performance that absolutely fascinate me. First is feminist performance art and the telling of women’s stories (both fictional and real) on and through the body. Second is performance embodiment and the ways in which the human condition is physically expressed. Third is the rethinking of the performer/spectator relationship. Often, these three intertwine and weave themselves in and out of my work.
My feminist leanings began by being born into a world surrounded by independently minded women (who ironically didn’t think themselves feminists) and growing up in a generation where professional glass ceilings were slowly being shattered (think 9-5 and Working Girl). It was most definitively solidified post college while onstage dressed up like a giant glamorous chicken in huge golden feathers as a “Hot Box Girl” in Guys and Dolls. Did I spend my college years studying Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, and Hannah Arendt to sing “doodle, oddle, oddle” for a living? I think not.
Those college years also had a profound impact on the kind of physical artist I would become. It was the perfect liberal arts storm of political theory, aesthetic philosophy, modern dance, theatre, Labannotation, and kinesiology. Its pinnacle was watching just a single rare video at the time of Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater of Wuppertal where I witnessed the powerful intersection of dance, theatre, and environment for the very first time. I also discovered the new world of female bodybuilding and became a competitive collegiate bodybuilding champion and an actual living feminist, aesthetic, and anatomical embodiment of all that I was studying.
Any notions of being a traditional artist were shattered in graduate school in the UK along with the theatrical fourth wall. I found a deep connection to new and humanistic forms of experimental British theatre that fed my American curiosity from the ingenious storytelling of Bobby Baker to the haunting site specific performances of Goat Island. Most of all I learned to become co-conspirators and with my audience. Once I was given permission to shatter that wall, there was no going back. My feminism also deepened when I was formally exposed to feminist theatre and theory. It was solidified while researching my dissertation when I had to smuggle performance videos of Karen Finley and Annie Sprinkle into England due to the country's obscenity laws at the time. The irony was not lost on me.
All of this culminated in the creation of Ladypants nearly 20 years ago. Ladypants is simply my homage to the “insolent woman” in command of her own body and her own narrative. Welcome to my world.