Dean Moss

Dean Moss

Fellow: Awarded 2014
Field of Study: Choreography

Competition: US & Canada

Dean Moss is a dance-based multidisciplinary theater and media artist, curator, and lecturer. His current research investigates perceptions of self and other, often incorporating transcultural performance collaborations and audience participation.  He is the recipient of a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Artists Grant Award; New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships; Asian Cultural Council Fellowships; a Brooklyn Arts Exchange Artist Award, and a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for his work Spooky action at a distance. He also recently received an American Academy in Jerusalem Fellowship..

Moss came to New York from Tacoma, Washington, on a Dance Theater of Harlem scholarship in 1979. He danced ten years with David Gordon and has had a long relationship with The Kitchen, serving as its Curator of Dance and Performance from 1999 to 2004, then as a Curatorial Advisor through 2009.  As a curator he conceived and organized programs such as Talking Dance, which was hosted by Lucy Sexton and Anne Iobst and featured performances by Bill T. Jones, Ann Carlson, Foofwa d’Imobilité, and works by Yvonne Rainer, David Gordon, and Elevator Repair Service. Additionally he showcased a number of rigorously innovative artists very early in their careers, including Miranda July, Sarah Michelson, Xavier LeRoy, Miguel Gutierrez, Trajal Harrell, Yasmeen Godder, and Akram Khan. In 2012 Moss curated Black Dance with Pedro Jiménez, Young Jean Lee, and Ann Liv Young as part of the Parallels 2012 event at the Danspace Project.

Deeply committed to facilitating artists, Moss has worked collaboratively on a number of projects with Young Jean Lee and Yasuko Yokoshi. In 2002 he conceived an emerging choreographers composition workshop, which was presented at The Kitchen where it was facilitated in conjunction with Levi Gonzalez under the title Form & Practice. Additionally Moss taught for a year as a Guest Professor at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and two years as a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, for which he received a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Moss is currently founding The Award, an annual nonmonetary mentoring initiative for experimental dance/performance makers in New York City.

Created at the crossroads of theater, dance, and visual art, Moss’ own works are difficult to categorize. His most recent premiere, Nameless forest (2011), was a collaboration with Korean sculptor and installation artist Sungmyung Chun. Referencing Chun’s imagery, the performance investigated existential narratives, while engaging onstage participants in experiential rites of passage. Other recent concoctions include Kisaeng becomes you (2009), with Korean traditional and modern dance choreographer Yoon Jin Kim, where audience members were invited to embody the poetry and the discipline of kisaeng, a practice of artist-courtesans of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty; and figures on a field (2005) with the visual artist Laylah Ali, which incorporated a docent-led tour of the work during the performance.

Over the course of his fellowship period, Moss will premiere johnbrown, a work that uses its presentation and pre-performance production to reflect not only on the controversial legacy of the white abolitionist but also the transracial generational processes at play in the inquiry.  A segment of the work was commissioned and presented in-progress under the title Voluntaries by the New York Museum of Modern Art. johnbrown, in its entirety, will open at The Kitchen on October 16, 2014—the 155th anniversary of the radical activist’s raid on Harper’s Ferry.


Profile photograph by Tim Trumble / ASU

Follow this link to view Dean Moss’s videos on Vimeo

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