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Jennie MaryTai Liu

first performed on October 7, 2013
Pieter PASD, Los Angeles, CA
performed twice in 2013


Bri Skellie, Elizabeth McSurdy

Oakland, CA


“ALL DADS ARE BASTARDS. ADAB.” is a witch dance. We are interested in: rituals, asceticism, ladies of the night, groove moves, the elements, vagina vortexes, sex work/dance work, gravity and levity, what is good to tear apart what is good to burn what is good to eat what is good to wash off. The dance had eight sections, which each had a title: 1. A no-name no-exit bar, 2. Thy Wild Eyes, 3. Are you sad or are you just happy?, 4. Blood, Milk and Oil, 5. Wages for Tenderness and nothing else, 6. Whose fuck ups? Our fuck ups!, 7. Shields to the front! and 8. The Fires in California.

We offered mugwort-infused gin to the audience, an herb that produces vivid dreams. We stood before the audience, looking at them and them looking at us. Then we removed our pants and undergarments and sat with our legs open in a straddle. Our vaginas looked at them and they looked at us. We danced: passing across the space, moving in and out of the floor, gathering and casting energy with our hands, revealing and concealing our bodies. We each took an audience member and laid on top of them, letting our skeletons sink into theirs. We performed a spell in the dark with blood, milk and oil. We poured water and dirt over our bare backs. We put on the attire that we wear to work in a strip club. We took the audience on a procession through the building. We set things on fire outside.

In the past, I have been interested in making what I understood to be conceptual dances, dances that were about their own circumstances: the audience, the chairs, the stage, the frame that surrounds the dance. Recently, however, I have been wanting to make dances that have a healing function for me and others. After many years of dance training, I have a wounded relationship to dancing; it often reminds me of my own shortcomings. I’ve also been reading books by Marxist feminists on the theme of witches. Both Silvia Federici and Maria Mies have discussed the persecution of witches and the exploitation of women’s bodies as intimately tied up with the emergence of capitalism. I have wondered if I could make a witch dance that resonated with the remembrance of subjugated witches and women’s control over social reproduction.