Concept, Music, & Performance
Christina J Massad
Anna Bracewell Crowder
Gilles Deleuze from Sarah Ahmed’s Queer Phenomonology
Deactivation of Hal 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey
Sean respectfully acknowledges that this performance is taking place on the traditional land of the Mvskoke (Muscogee/Creek) People.
The performance is 75 minutes with no intermission
The majority of the performance contains live and recorded text, as well as music compositions
The performance does not include any fog or haze
Though there are no strobe lights in the performance, there is a scene approximately 40 minutes into the work that utilizes rapid light changes. The same light changes occur again approximately 70 minutes into the work.
There is brief nudity approximately half way through the performance
There will be a facilitated conversation with a guest artist and Sean Nguyen-Hilton each night following the performance. The conversation will take place in the white box studio next to the lobby. Audience members are encouraged to stay for the conversation, but have the opportunity to exit after the performance if desired.
Sean Nguyen-Hilton’s this room is a body is a 75 minute solo performance ritual which premiers days before his 40th birthday. Composed of his writing, music composition, and intuitive movement practices, the work weaves together personal narrative with theoretical and philosophical concepts. Nguyen-Hilton explores themes of queerness as it pertains to his current body, his past body as a professional dancer, and his future body that is yet to come. Through this exploration, he holds space for potential and meaning while navigating the ever occurring present moment.
this workshop is a body
September 24th - 25th | 10am - 4pm @ The Windmill Arts Center | $100
Using the writing, sound recording, and intuitive movement practices that built his solo performance, this room is a body. Sean Nguyen-Hilton guides participants through a 2 day workshop focused on the development of the personal narrative of the individual and its place within the multitude.
The workshop is for any artist who is making work, or wants to make work, in solo dance/performance. It is necessary to have an intermediate understanding of body coordination, functional movement, and spatial awareness to benefit from this experience.
*This workshop is limited to 12 spots only. Registration secures your spot. To register, please click "register" above.
Two years ago, right before COVID gripped the world, I decided I needed to grow my hair out and create a solo. I wasn’t sure why…
The time and space afforded to me during my homebound period of the pandemic triggered the processing of deep body trauma experienced during my nearly two decade “professional” dance career. During those first months of the pandemic I was writing, making music, discovering a new drawing practice, and swimming through How Do You Make Yourself A Body Without Organs by French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. I was using Paulo Virno’s Virtuosity and Revolution to help me formulate the idea of the death of virtuosity. This had obvious implications to me in regards to the commodification of my body and labor as a professional concert dancer for nearly two decades. They say that dancers have two deaths; one at the end of their careers and one at the end of their life. I was feeling this “first death” in major ways that echoed out through my body and compelled me to make. This gave way to more research around labor, work, and action, as defined by French theorist Hannah Arendt, and how these modes affect bodies in spaces.I was equating this idea of the death of virtuosity to the zeitgeist of late stage capitalism, to the cracking of colonialism and whiteness, and locating this cracking in me as well.I was revitalized at imagining new futures for my body, and moving with it as a site of possibility. I desired to make new forms, both in my body and in spaces. I experimented with equating my body to rooms, as a way to broaden my consciousness and challenge my perception. I played with recorded text from the aforementioned Body Without Organs, manipulated it in varying ways, and danced with it. I drew bodies with morphing shapes and lines, and used them as improvisational scores to generate movement. I pondered my future body, the one that comes after the death of virtuosity, the body on the horizon of the not-yet-here queerness from Muñoz’s Cruising Utopia. I moved with thought models outlined in A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari, particularly the Rhizome as “an image of thought” and “mode of knowledge.” I operationalized a queer reach in my body, after reading about bodily orientation in Sarah Ahmed’s Queer Phenomonology.
These experiences and practices have now synthesized into a crescendo of expression that has returned, once again, to my body. It is simultaneously a death and a rebirth, a compression and a contraction, and a swim in the vast ocean of in betweenness.
SEAN NGUYEN-HILTON (he/him)
Sean is a Virgo Sun, Pisces Moon, Leo Ascendant, Leo Venus, Scorpio Mars, Scorpio Jupiter, Libra Mercury, Libra Saturn, Libra Pluto, Sagittarius Uranus, Sagittarius Neptune, and Cancer North Node. Sean danced “professionally” for about two decades, and worked in higher ed for about four and a half years.* Sean is a tarot reader of 27 years and is currently studying Hellenistic astrology. In Atlanta, Sean is a Co-Founder and Team Member of Fly on a Wall, an artist led platform that presents and supports process and performance. Sean invests in care, awareness, sensation, and love, all of which he practices through the lens of queer
stamina, movement, and evolution.
*Sean danced with River North Dance Chicago Company performing works by Robert Battle, Lauri Stallings, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Kevin Iaega Jeff, Julia Rhodes and Harrison McEldowney, among others. He danced with the NYC-based Armitage Gone! Dance and toured throughout the U.S. and Europe, and performed at the Joyce theater NYC and Jacob's Pillow. He has also danced with the Bay Area Houston Ballet and Theatre, Columbia Classical Ballet, gloATL, and staibdance. Sean has been on faculty at The University of South Carolina, The Northwest Florida Ballet, Ballet Tennessee, The Lou Conte Dance Studio, River North Dance Chicago, Thodos Dance Chicago, Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education, Kennesaw State University, and ImmerseATL.
Sean would like to thank Fly on a Wall, The Windmill Arts Center, The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, Nicole Johnson, Jimmy Joyner, Theo Carroll, Scott Wheet, Christina Massad, Orfeas Skutelis, Annosha Biggins, Anna Bracewell Crowder, Nicholas Goodly, Jimmy Joyner, Laith Stevenson, Sabastian Wilson, Cynthia Bond Perry, his family, Leo and Lola, and his ever supportive husband, Brandon Nguyen-Hilton.
Photos by Christina J Massad and Orfeas Skutelis
Graphics by Christina J Massad