MICHAEL J. LOVE
INTERDISCIPLINARY TAP DANCE ARTIST
Select mentions and words of praise.
DANCE MAGAZINE (August 2022 issue, pg. 42) "Accepting the Unexpected: How Dancers Can Cope with Ongoing Pandemic Disruptions" // "When the pandemic hit, tap dance artist and educator Michael J. Love was finishing up his MFA in Performance as Public Practice at the University of Texas at Austin. He was also living in a second-floor apartment with a downstairs neighbor. “I left a note on his door explaining that I was a tap dancer and needed to work from home, and he was pretty understanding, but I knew it couldn’t be a long-term situation,” he says. So he rented the front office of a warehouse space, built his own dance floor, and started teaching classes and producing monthly performances there. This meant learning a host of new skills. For example, because the sounds are so important in tap, Zoom classes simply did not work if students were unable to hear properly, or if the video and audio weren’t synced..."
SIGHTLINES MAGAZINE (December 2021) "Ariel René Jackson and Michael J. Love imagine a Black futurist family archive" // "It’s a clue to this exhibition’s topsy-turvy quality. Wormholes? Naturally, it’s easy to feel uprooted amidst the artist’s time-traveling method and their speculative lingo. But perhaps uprooted is where we are supposed to be. The 'in between stasis' that Jackson and Love present is where their challenge lies; again, what does an archive of generational love, loss, and strength look like? Their answer emerges from the drum of tap shoes on wood, the cacophony of words on the page, and the clashing of patterns and chords and fabrics and family photographs and people. 'We are the [Hackers], Baby, [Hackers] are we' is an ensemble that is authored by multiple generations but rendered here by Jackson and Love."
ARTS AND CULTURE TEXAS (October 2021) "An Archive of Black Joy: Tito's Prize Winners Michael J. Love and Ariel René Jackson at Big Medium" // "'We share similar ancestral grounds,' Ariel says. 'We have made a habit of using studio visits and visualizing what we’ve been researching,' they explain. The project involves recordings of interviews with the grandmothers of both artists, who happened to have attended Hampton University within a few years of one another. One went on to become a nurse, and the other an educator. 'They were in school during the time of segregation,' says Ariel. 'Hampton University is a pretty important HBCU, it’s well recognized,' Michael elaborates. He says, 'We’ve known each other for at least five years, [and] we interviewed our grandmothers separately.' Ariel says, 'I lived in New York for seven years, and I was right next to the hospital' where their grandmother did her internship. Thus far, the project has been full of small echoes like this one, helping the artists shape the project as they go."
ART IN AMERICA (April 2021) "Review: Justice Delated: 'Make America What America Must Become' At The CAC New Orleans" // "...Ariel René Jackson’s video The Future Is a Constant Wake (2019) is a standout in a show whose sheer volume of provocative work made individual prominence difficult. Audible throughout the galleries, Jackson’s voiceover accompanies looping footage of two Black feet working dry soil back and forth, inscribing cryptic patterns: 'Gestures become technology, pushing back against the Age of Enlightenment that we insist on preserving.'..."
AUSTIN CHRONICLE (April 2021) "Local Artist Duo Selected for Prestigious Tito’s Prize" // "...While remaining largely elusive about the upcoming exhibition, the duo shared a few intriguing details. The installation will include a three-channel video piece where the artists, as their alter-egos Confuserella and Babé, will illustrate “a futuristic location where Black America's history of agriculture and tap dance merges to create a transformative landscape.” The videos will later appear in the second and third iterations of the series, which will eventually include elements of live performance."
"Princeton Arts Fellows for 2021-23 Announced // Interdisciplinary tap dance artist Michael J. Love, filmmaker and visual artist Tiona Nekkia McClodden, and comedian, actress and disability advocate Maysoon Zayid have been named Princeton University Arts Fellows for 2021-23 by the Lewis Center for the Arts and will begin two years of teaching and community collaboration in September."
(Read more at Lewis Center for the Arts.)
SIGHTLINES MAGAZINE (April 2021) "Ariel René Jackson and Michael J. Love awarded $15,000 Tito’s Prize" // "'We are two Black queer individuals who navigate space and time by going backwards. We pay homage to past eras in order to generate Black joy,' said Jackson in a recent phone call. 'We come from different studio practices, but together our work is about creating space for each other. I create a stage for Michael to perform in and Michael transforms that space and the material in it through his performances.'"
SIGHTLINES MAGAZINE (January 2021) "Creating a studio – and livestream — of his own, dance artist Michael J. Love taps through the pandemic" // "'Still to this day, when people (think of) tap dance, they expect certain things, and I’m interested in not meeting those expectations, and in fact, taking people other places. A lot of my work is about identity, race, gender, queerness. So, placing some of the onus on audience members to think about their own positionality to some of these issues.' With that intention, Love sometimes chooses to face away from the audience when he dances, a practice of subversion that harkens back to Miles Davis, who would turn his back to the white audience as he played. 'It becomes more of a witnessing of something,' Love says, 'which calls for deeper introspection, both from me as the person who’s presenting the work and also the audience members.'"
BIG MEDIUM (December 2020) "Artist Feature: Michael J. Love" // "Tell us something unique about your process: 'A lot of my process involves embodying ideas or larger questions, not just through movement but also through sound and rhythm. Sometimes, my movement is driven by rhythm / corporeal sound (i.e., the rhythms I want to make / create require specific postures or a specific sequence of actions, etc.) and vice versa. So, creating work means thinking simultaneously about look and sound. Additionally, a lot of my work involves live improvisation. In these instances, my process becomes much more about sort of curating specific moments or moods with music, projections, text, voice, etc.'"
FUSEBOX FESTIVAL BLOG (April 2019) "Michael Love's 'Gon' Head And Put Your Records On': A Conversation" // "Phillip: I saw some clips of Michael J. Love’s rehearsals on Instagram in preparation for this performance, but his artistry blew my mind in person. Especially with the music that is so familiar to me–well, it’s of my sister’s generation, but it’s music that I grew up listening to. Hearing that music and seeing tap dance set to it was incredible for me. I grew up watching Savion Glover in the 90s, and prior to his work tap had always been set to like this like, jazzy, vaudeville type music, but this felt very fresh. The performance struck me and I was confronted with the dynamism of tap. I was reminded that tap is an evolutionary genre of dance, moving from minstrelsy, to vaudeville, and to jazz. Savion Glover brought it so hard with rise of R&B and Hip-Hop. But now, we’ve got something new, with Beyoncé, and pop music, and all these other contemporary references that came up during his performance..." (This article has been archived here.)
AUSTIN CHRONICLE (April 2019) "UT's Cohen New Works Festival Brings Experimentation to the Stage" // "For pieces like DOPE FIT!, the second in a three-piece series, this feedback fosters growth and adaptation. 'This is just a point in the show’s life, and it’ll simply continue to grow from here,' says Michael Love..."
AUSTIN CHRONICLE (April 2017) Arts and Dance Listings // Love & Rhythm: An Evening of Tap Dance: "Michael J. Love presents his full-length tap dance work, Gon’ Head and Put Your Records On!, exploring race, orientation, and gender. Actors Delanté Keys and Rama Tchuente are featured, and this kinetic spectacle is partnered with Five 4 Five, the debut of the Austin Rhythm Tap Society – with Brenna Kuhn, Tony Merriwether, and Matthew Shields. Directed by that same Love, with some fine assistance by Rebecca Whitehurst. April 21-22. Fri.-Sat., 7:30pm (2017). $19."
AUSTIN CHRONICLE (May 2016) "Star Turns The nominees for the 2015-16 Austin Critics Table Awards"