MICHAEL J. LOVE

INTERDISCIPLINARY TAP DANCE ARTIST

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WORK & RESEARCH

Details on some of Michael's current and past projects.

Descendance (2021)
Collaboration with film-based artist Ariel René Jackson

January 2021, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, 
U of Washington (Seattle, WA)

"Set inside an empty swimming pool at the George Washington Carver Center, Descendance explores ideas of lineage and generational change by transforming an American flag stenciled with soil... 'The piece was influenced by dance and movement, by history that lives in the body,' Jackson says. Over the course of Descendance, Jackson and Love organically change the flag as they move through it... The piece builds on Carver's Message in Blue, an earlier project in which Jackson and Love altered a soil-made American flag in the Carver Center pool to a recording of George Washington Carver reciting his favorite poem, 'Equipment.'" (Read more here.)

Descendance features an original score by jazz musician Joseph C. Dyson Jr. and videography work by Eliot Gray Fisher. The video is set in the "sunken stage" behind the George Washington Carver, Museum, Cultural, and Genealogy Center (Austin, TX), an empty pool which has been redesigned and repainted by artist Eto Otitigbe.

 

Length of work: 7 minutes

Photo © 2021 by Hiram Mojica

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Carver's Message In Blue (2020)
Collaboration with film-based artist Ariel René Jackson

February 2020, George Washington
Carver Museum (Austin, TX)

In ​Carver’s Message In Blue​ (2020), Jackson and Love transform a replica of the United States flag stenciled in soil as they wrestle with the sentiments of upward mobility and perseverance echoing from a found recording of George Washington Carver reciting his favorite poem, “Equipment” (circa 1900). Ultimately, the work joins installation and time-based performance in a meditation on identity and possibility. ​Carver’s Message In Blue​ was developed as part of the Works In Progress Series at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural, and Genealogy Center in East Austin, TX and presented in the Museum’s abandoned pool, aptly referred to as “the sunken stage.”

 

Approximate length of work: 15 minutes

Watch an excerpt of the piece here

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Photo © 2019 by Sarah Annie Navarrete

The AURALVISUAL MIXTAPE Collection, Part II:

DOPE FIT! (2019)
Collaboration with dance artist Kaitlyn B. Jones 

September 2019, ARCOS Presents Michael J. Love (Austin, TX)
April 2019, The Cohen New Works Festival in  (Austin, TX)

Fall 2018 - Spring 2019, Initial Development (Austin, TX)

August 2018, Exploratory Workshop (Austin, TX)

 

Love, Jones, and an ensemble of Black artists, thinkers, and collaborators pair movement, rhythm, music, text, and voice with a distinct millennial hip-hop sensibility to create and live in their own metaphysical Black utopia. The piece, driven by rhythm tap and contemporary dance, reclaims the Black cultural archive and enlivens spirited visions of futurity through a queer and feminist lens. DOPE FIT! is performed entirely to live-mixed and looped tap dance, body percussion, and triggered drum sample compositions. 

 

The development of DOPE FIT! began during a week-long workshop in August 2018, made possible by The Cohen New Works Festival Go! Grant.

Approximate length of work: 70 minutes

Cast: 8 dancers, 5 actors

Learn more here.

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Video still, courtesy Ariel René Jackson.

The Future is a Constant Wake (2019)
Collaboration with film-based artist Ariel René Jackson

September 2019, Screen Series: Ariel René Jackson

at New Museum (New York, NY)

April 2019, premieres as part of The AURALVISUAL MIXTAPE Collection, Part II: DOPE FIT!!

The Future Is A Constant Wake centers soil as a conduit for sustained engagement with previous generations. Developed as a collaboration between Ariel René Jackson and Michael J. Love, the video proposes a somatic way of forging connection with the past through touch and movement.

 

Length of work: 6 minutes and 12 seconds

Watch an excerpt of the piece here

All I See Is Blue (2018)
Collaboration with film-based artist Ariel René Jackson

September 2018, CUE Art Foundation (New York, NY)

Winter 2017, Premiere (Austin, TX)
Winter 2017, Initial Development (Austin, TX)

“All I See Is Blue,” is a performance by Ariel René Jackson and Michael J. Love, in which the artists activate Jackson's sculptural installation, All I See is Blue, to translate Langston Hughes' 1935 poem “Let America Be America Again.” Layering the piece with sound and dance, the performers simultaneously pay homage to Hughes while pointing to similarities between American identity politics of the 1930s and now.

 

Approximate length of work: 10-12 minutes

Watch an excerpt of the piece here. 

Photo © 2018 by Chauncey Velasco

Photo © 2017 by Cindy Elizabeth

The AURALVISUAL MIXTAPE Collection, Part I:

GON' HEAD AND PUT YOUR RECORDS ON! (2017)

 

April 2019, Fusebox Festival (Austin, TX)

February 2018, Workshop Presentation (Austin, TX)

April 2017, Premiere (Austin, TX)

Winter 2016 - Spring 2017, Initial Development (Austin, TX)

 

GON' HEAD AND PUT YOUR RECORDS ON!, is an exploration and jubilant celebration of Blackness. Love curates a vibrant amalgamation of moments from pop culture and his personal history to examine the various portions of his identity while actualizing self-love and self-care. RECORDS! is anchored by tap improvography and spans a number of performance mediums as it nods to traditions as varied as the Black queer ballroom scene and the Black church, demanding the necessary space for #blackboyjoy.

Approximate length of work: 70 minutes

Cast: 1 dancer, 3 actors

Learn more here.

Photo © 2016 by Roger Ho

SELF (2016)

 

Premiered in July 2016 (Austin, TX)

Developed Spring 2016 - Summer 2016

 

SELF is a curated moment of active resistance. Inspired by recent acts of protest, it's a respite from hopelessness: #selflove, #selfcare, and the celebration of one's intersectional identity in the face of oppression and/ or the oppressor. 

 

The audio component of the piece is a combination of the artist's personal influences—tunes by Kaytranada, moments from the film Paris Is Burning, and other iconic cultural sprinklings that chronicle a unique Black, queer experience. The movement is tap choreography with moments of improvisation and nods to ballroom culture.

SELF was premiered as a work in progress at Sling Dance Project presents 'Boundless' in July 2016 in Austin, TX.

 

Approximate length of piece: 10 minutes

Cast: 1 dancer

Watch an excerpt of the piece here.