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No Boundaries:

Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers

NO BOUNDARIES: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers is a living, breathing history project that has evolved to become a multifaceted platform to meet the growing need of an archive of prominent African American choreographers. From 2001-2018, No Boundaries took shape as a series of solos by prominent African American choreographers, curated by Mason, and performed by her in one evening. Through both her curation and performance, Mason explored ways dance can care for, preserve, and transmit the choreographies and the legacies of Black artists whose work is often silenced, erased, and appropriated. By expanding the genre of Black dance and interrupting the systematic erasure of names lost to the archive, No Boundaries reveals the tenacity of resilience and the diversity of Black contemporary performance.

“Ms. Mason is doing her own essential work of building an archive, whether onstage or online. Whatever its future form, “No Boundaries” already has helped to ensure that African-American voices and the dialogues they’ve prompted don’t vanish from the canon of contemporary American dance.”

-- Siobhan Burke. “Review: A Living Archive of Contemporary Black Dance.” The New York Times (9 April 2018).

“Two of the best performances of the weekend—Songs at the End of the World, by Dutch collective Wunderbaum and NO BOUNDARIES: The Journey to Embody and Archive the Visions of Black Choreographers by Gesel Mason Performance Projects...These professionally shot and edited videos might not have looked out of place on PBS.”

-- Michael Agresta. “Boxed in by Social Distancing, and Endlessly Inventive Theatre Festival Powers on Online.” Texas Monthly. (28 April 2020).

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See Gesel Mason's "No Less Black", performed #AtHome by dance students from the University of Texas at Austin

Thank you

for participating in the online

world premiere of

"NO BOUNDARIES: 
Dancing the Visions of Contemporary 

Black Choreographers"

LIVE DISCUSSION: Gesel Mason and Making of NO BOUNDARIES,

and joining the 

Background

The original NO BOUNDARIES project was created in 2001 to celebrate the depth and diversity of style and vision of Black Dance. The performance project featured several of the nation’s leading contemporary African American choreographers, including Dianne McIntyre, Robert Battle, Bebe Miller, Donald McKayle, Reggie Wilson, Andrea Woods, David Roussève, Rennie Harris, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, who choreographed original and historic works for the solo performance. With documentary footage of interviews with the choreographers interspersed between dances that span from the 1940’s to the present, NO BOUNDARIES delivered snapshots of, and created discussion around, the idea of Black dance over seven decades.

 

The solo performance project received a National Dance Project Tour Only Grant in 2008/09 from New England Foundation for the Arts, two Metro DC Dance Awards in 2007, and was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and National Performance Network. No Boundaries has been presented by 651 Arts (NY), Dance Place (DC), Joyce SoHo (NY), Links Hall (IL), Long Island University (NY), South Dallas Cultural Center (TX), SUNY Potsdam (NY), Painted Bride (PA), ProArts Collective (TX), University of Minnesota (MN), and West Virginia University (VA).

“Gesel Mason’s one-woman show [No Boundaries] was the sort of performance that in any other realm would enshrine her among a select few standouts...an ambitious, riveting and impressively executed program.”

-- Sarah Kaufman. “Gesel Mason Alone: Memorably Moving.” Washington Post (23 October 2006).

“Ms. Mason has put together a show that should be required viewing for students of dance history, not so much for the facts it touches upon but for the personalities and points of view revealed in excerpts from video interviews that accompany the dances.”

-- Jennifer Dunning. “Examining the Many Hues That Create Black and White.” The New York Times (19 November 2007).

The No Boundaries Archive Project

In 2018, after collecting more than seven decades of choreographic vision in her body, GMPP began transforming NO BOUNDARIES into an innovative online resource to fit the growing need for an archive of prominent African American choreographers. Part archival database and part community engagement, the No Boundaries Archive Project seeks to preserve these artists’ legacies, choreography, and stories and pave the way for a more equitable, just, and democratic digital dance landscape. Mason began collaborating with Rebecca Salzer (Professor of Dance at University of Alabama and Director of Dancing Digital) in 2020 to create a sustainable and accessible digital home for NO BOUNDARIES. With Mason and Salzer as co-directors, the project was awarded NEH Digital Humanities Advancement grants in both 2020 and 2024. A beta version of the No Boundaries Digital Archive (noboundariesarchive.com) will be available in 2024.

Funding Credits

No Boundaries received significant support from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, University of Colorado Boulder. and University of Texas at Austin. Additional funding has been provided by National Performance Network, The Whiting Foundation, NEA Arts Work, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

No Boundaries Donors: Darren Anthony, Joanna Ashleigh, Sally Ed Augden in honor of Erica Augden, Holly Bass, Emily Beattie, John Morris and Laura Benedict Benedict, Ching-I Bigelow, Lisa Biggs, Elsa Barkley Brown, Rebecca Butler, Cherie Cain, Sarah Council, Bonnie Cox, Sage Crump, Colin Danville, Peter DiMuro, Fiona Eakin, Marissa Elliott, Thoyd Ellis, Bill Evans, Adriane Fang, Firebird Productions LLC, Wendy Franz, Ondine Geary, Melanie George, Cristina Goletti, Lisa Goodrich, Katherine Graf, Heather Gray, Nancy Grimes, Kayla Hamilton, Emily K. Harrison, Angela Herron, Heather Himes, CJ Holm, Gerri Houlihan, Tauna Hunter, Elizabeth Johnson, Hadley Kamminga-Peck, Mary Caulkins and Karl Kister, Jennifer Knievel, Nick Krekeler, Shanna Lim, Heather Maloney, Laura Malpass Malpass, Susan Manning, Andrea Mason, Nicole McClain, Zap Mcconnell, Christie Nelson, Lynn Nichols, Omagbitse Omagbemi, Allison Orr, Thomas Parlon, Ann Pattan, Ursula Payne, Natasha Pcholkina, Jessica Pearson, Carla Peterson, Miriam Phillips, Richard Pilkinton, Linda PiperPrice, Nicole Pouliot, Regina Quillens, Otto Ramstad, Julie Rothschild, Joanna Rotkin, Kelly Rouzan, Laura Ann Samuelson, Emma Scholz, Jamila Scott, Sharon Carter Sheridan, Amy Smith, Julia Smith, Ruth Waalkes, Shay Wafer, Edisa Weeks, Jennifer Welty, Josephine Withers, Chris Witherspoon, Lauren Withhart, Netta Yerushalmy, Mary Helen Young, & Jeramy Zimmerman.
 

You can ensure the completion of the archive by donating below.

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