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Trajal Harrell rules the Kitchen with Twenty Looks or Paris Is Burning at the Judson Church

By Gia Kourlas
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In his ambitious multi-year project, Twenty Looks or Paris Is Burning at the Judson Church, choreographer Trajal Harrell poses an intriguing question: “What would have happened in 1963 if someone from the voguing ballroom scene in Harlem had come downtown to perform alongside the early postmoderns at Judson Church?” For Harrell, an American choreographer who splits his time between New York and Europe, the project focuses on ideas about spectacle in performance, race, gender and identity. The entire series is currently up at the Kitchen through September 20 in conjunction with the Crossing the Line Festival. Over the years, Time Out New York has focused on the project through a series of interviews. "I've been working on these ideas since 2001, and this project is a culmination, so of course I built up a certain relationship to the material," Harrell explains in one. "I've never tried to represent the voguing community. I've never tried to represent myself as a voguer, I've never taken voguing classes. For me, it's been about imaginative possibilities. I am a contemporary choreographer." Read more about Twenty Looks in our exclusive collection of interviews.

Here, Harrell talks about presenting (S), his first in the series, at the New Museum.

The choreographer discusses the process of creating XS, Medium and Large.

View this slide show featuring Harrell's Bessie-award winning Antigone Sr.

Thibault Lac, an important dancer in the series, talks about the transformative experience of performing in Twenty Looks.

Finally, Harrell discusses what he's working on next and the challenge of bringing Butoh to MoMA.

 

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