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Code~dIsSoNaNcE~REVERIE is “a choreographic movement essay” envisioned and developed by Andre Tyson, former principal dancer for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, with a libretto written and performed by the poet Douglas Kearney. It premiered at the California Institute of Arts in the spring of 2017. The piece emerged as a response to the 2016 presidential election and the shock it provoked for its creators. The effect of it in performance is electric, beginning with Kearney reciting his libretto and continuing over the course of 27 minutes through a series of movements that are by turns frantic and highly calibrated. With another presidential election looming, it feels essential to revisit Tyson and Kearney’s urgent work.

The recording below is from a 2017 performance of Code~dIsSoNaNcE~REVERIE at the California Institute of the Arts in Santa Clarita. The recording is hosted by YouTube.

We’re also excited to present Douglas Kearney’s libretto, “Malbolge,” and a conversation between Tyson and Kearney hosted by Air/Light editor David L. Ulin.

Andre Tyson was Principal Dancer and Company Teacher with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 1985-1994. He is a former Assistant Dean of the Dance School at the California Institute of the Arts.

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Douglas Kearney has published six books, including the award-winning poetry collection "Buck Studies" (Fence Books); libretti, "Someone Took They Tongues" (Subito); and criticism, "Mess and Mess and" (Noemi Press). His newest collection, "Sho" (Wave), is forthcoming next spring. A Whiting Foundation and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly awardee with residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others, Kearney teaches creative writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.

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More from Issue 1: Fall 2020


My Father’s Badge and Gun

by Natashia Deón

streetlight and security camera against a clear blue sky

Crystal Palace

by Carribean Fragoza

painting of a distressed naked woman