Aug 9th 2019

“Explode! sets out to tackle inextricable challenges of strengthening ties among queer dance artists and dismantling racism, sexism, classism, transphobia and white supremacy. A tall order, but why aim for less?” –New York Times (

EXPLODE! queer dance re-imagines the potential of queer dance today. Queerness, in activism and art making, has always pivoted on the promise of coalition. Lesbian, trans, bi, gay, two spirit, and queer people can come together and make something with their sweat and their bodies. Yet sexism, racism, classism, colonialism, and transphobia have kept that promise from being fully realized in practice…EXPLODE! takes on this challenge.

In Chicago, EXPLODE! focuses on queer dance of the Midwest across four sites–three on Northwestern’s campus and one at Chicago dance center Links Hall. The Links Hall performance repeats on Friday, August 9; and Saturday, August 10; and is a ticketed performance featuring work by Ayodele Dance & Drum, J’Sun Howard, Murda Mommy, Jennifer Monson & Nibia Pastrana Santiago, Lee Na Moo, and Joel Valentin-Martinez–all hosted by everyone’s favorite desi drag queen, LaWhore Vagistan.

There are three additional EXPLODE! performance–all free and open to the public on a first come/first serve basis. Nic Gareiss’s Solo Square Dance (8:30 pm, Thursday August 8, Evanston History Center); Marcela Torres’s Agentic Mode (12:30 pm, Friday, August 9, Northwestern University’s Marjorie Ward Dance Wing, Ballroom Studio, Ballroom Studio); and Jennifer Harge’s FLY/DROWN (2:30 pm, Saturday, August 10, and Sunday August 11, Hotel Orrington, Evanston).

EXPLODE! queer dance festival is organized by founding curator Clare Croft, and EXPLODE! queer dance: Midwest is co-curated with Chicago-based artist Anna Martine Whitehead.

EXPLODE! is made possible through the support of the Mellon Foundation, Links Hall, and the University of Michigan’s Center for World Performance and the ADVANCE programs.

Many thanks to Links Hall, Susan Manning, and Lizzie Leopold for their support for EXPLODE.

Official Website

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