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Microscope Gallery

first performed on October 18, 2019
Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
performed once in 2019


Brooklyn, NY


“Dancing In The Oval Office” is a durational performance within a recreation and personal reinterpretation of the White House Oval Office in which I danced continuously during each day of the six-week-long exhibit (161 hours in total). I used dance as a way to transform my daily anxieties regarding the 2016 election and the current presidency into a cathartic and liberating act through which I sought to reclaim my right to joy as an individual and an American, and offer a more open, inclusive, and peaceful model for society. Visitors to the gallery were invited to dance with me and / or each other within the installation, and to select and play their own music.

The installation space was created with a gold Oval Office carpet, with a custom-printed executive seal, a multi-colored, rotating disco ball, and a twelve-color-rainbow-spectrum, sheer, oval-shaped curtain. The space contained a handsewn red “My Herstory American Dream Flag” and blue “My Presidential Seal Flag” hung from flagposts behind an executive desk, an executive chair, vividly hand-painted red and blue velvet sofas, and two golden armchairs with phrases written on them “Let’s Dance For a New America!,” “Where We Really Have Liberty And Justice For All!.” Music for the performance was played from a giant boombox sitting atop the desk using a selection of cassette mix-tapes from my youth and digital playlists selected by my son Ajax, among others.

Since I was a baby, dance has been a central part of my personal and family life… And as an adult I have found that when life feels overwhelming, sometimes the only thing to do is dance. A saying in my family has always been: “The purpose of the game is not to win; the purpose of the game is to learn how to dance.”

During the exhibit, I danced every moment during gallery hours and found my anxieties increasingly transforming into long periods of happiness. Audience members, including those who were skeptical, spoke of how the performance had left them less anxious and more hopeful about what many perceive as a crisis moment for America. Interestingly, although the show was planned months in advance, impeachment proceedings for President Trump began and the House hearings were held during the exhibition. The official impeachment vote took place just two weeks after the show ended.