power//PLAY is the collaboration between dance partners and performance artists Claire Johannes and Jordan Jamil Ahmed. Together, their performances investigate a dynamic range of opposites: the “power” to be bold and to take risks along with their commitment to “play” and levity in the face of adversity. As power//PLAY, they confront the status quo with their belief that art and politics are inseparable. They are compelled to speak up in a political climate intent on silencing the voices of the marginalized, a population they both belong to, Claire as a queer woman and Jordan as a queer, multiracial Muslim man. Claire and Jordan color their performances with their diverse histories, rooted in both humor and trauma.
Through power//PLAY, Claire and Jordan explore the intersection of two distinct bodies, subverting expectations of the male-female duet form by examining the power dynamics implicit in gender and sexual identities. By using seemingly dissonant physical vocabularies from concert dance, performance art, and political demonstrations, power//PLAY forges its own experimental landscape. These vocabularies are built from their shared skillsets in modern and contemporary dance techniques, improvisation, writing, and acting. Many of these skillsets are inspired by mentorship from experimental performance and dance theater artists including Juliana May and Tim Miller. power//PLAY uses these practices to connect to audiences in a lasting, thought-provoking and often unsettling way.
In creating new work, Claire and Jordan return to the question, “What is in the room?” finding time and again their answer: “We are in the room.” This simple sentence is an acknowledgment of the value of their nuanced, complex, and intersectional human presence. Keeping their work intensely personal allows for an authenticity needed to explore states of vulnerability. As Claire and Jordan become the subject of their performances, the audience gains a foundation from which to explore difficult thematic content related to their personal and political identities. In humanizing controversial issues and difficult thematic content, power//PLAY asks audiences to consider ideas outside themselves about the nature of discrimination, judgment, and identity.
Instagram: @power__play (two underscores)
Claire Johannes is a Boston born dance and performance artist. After receiving her primary training in Boston, Claire continued to earn her BA in Dance and Performance Studies from Eugene Lang College: The New School for Liberal Arts in New York City in 2013 where she developed a love for somatic bodywork and improvisational practices. Throughout her time in New York, Claire had the pleasure of working with and studying under Neil Greenberg, Juliana May, Beth Gill, Juliette Mapp, luciana achugar, Yvonne Meier, John Jasperse, Michelle Boulé and Stacy Grossfield. In addition to her performance work, Claire featured her own choreography at Abrons Art Center, Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, Gibney Dance Center, and AUNTS. Since returning to Boston Claire has danced for Jimena Bermejo Black and Paul Laurey in addition to performing as a regular company member in Ruckus Dance Company since Spring 2015. Claire also co-founded the collaborative dance project power//PLAY with Jordan Jamil Ahmed in October 2015 and has performed their work at The Dance Complex, Outside the Box Festival, NUPAPS, Third Life Studio, and the Arts at the Armory. As power//PLAY Claire and Jordan have recently received residencies at Green Street Studios and Denmark Arts Center.
Jordan Jamil Ahmed is a dance and performance artist, writer, and educator from Marion, Ohio living in Cambridge, MA. After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University with a diverse training in creative writing, English literature, and dance under the mentorship of David Caplan and Marin Leggat, he performed with Tim Miller in residence at the New Museum in NYC and co-founded Equal Footing with Kathleen Dalton. Following his move to Massachusetts he began dancing and choreographing in the Greater Boston Area and has performed at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston Center for the Arts, Outside the Box, Mobius, the Arts at the Armory, Third Life Studio, the Dance Complex, Green Street Studios, and NUPAPS. Currently, Jordan choreographs collaboratively with Claire Johannes as power//PLAY in addition to dancing for Michael Figueroa, Peter DiMuro, Brian Feigenbaum, and Jimena Bermejo-Black. Jordanjamil.com