Sean Dorsey's show, BOYS BITE BACK, hits the stage May 12-13

By GLAAD |
May 10, 2017

Award-winning choreographer and acclaimed transgender contemporary dancer, Sean Dorsey presents BOYS BITE BACK--an evening of new short dances that respond and bite back to the culture, which is especially timely under the current administration. Performed at the Z Space in San Francisco from Friday, May 12 to Saturday, May 13, BOYS BITE BACK will also give audiences a sneak peek into Sean Dorsey Dance’s upcoming full-evening show BOYS IN TROUBLE, which premieres in San Francisco April 2018 before touring the US. Tickets available here.

Featuring new works from Sean Dorsey Dance with guest artists The Singing Bois, a brilliant queer retro quartet of masculine-of-center singers of color, and Amir Rabiyah, an exquisitely talented queer, trans, mixed-race, disabled poet-storyteller, BOYS BITE BACK will be an evening of powerful performance that navigates queer and masculine trans identities. 

GLAAD interviewed Sean Dorsey about the inspiration behind BOYS BITE BACK, his introduction to choreography and dance, what he's learned refining the craft and art as activism, and advice to trans people about pursuing their passions.

GLAAD: What can audiences expect to see?

Sean Dorsey: Full-throttle dance, luscious queer partnering, highly-physical theater and powerful storytelling about navigating queer and trans masculinities, conformity and resistance. Sean Dorsey Dance is known for our signature fusion of athleticism and accessibility. These are dances rooted in story, so they are accessible, relevant and moving. And humor – there’s a lot of sass and humor because what revolution works without those?

GLAAD: Tell us a little about the ensemble and cast.

SD: I’m blessed to work with an award-winning multi-generational ensemble of 5 dancers (including myself). We move constantly between highly-technical dancing, live speaking, partnering, lifts and theater. BOYS BITE BACK is performed by myself, Brian Fisher, ArVejon Jones, Nol Simonse and Will Woodward. The show also features gorgeous music composed by Alex Kelly, Ben Kessler and Grey Reverend. 

GLAAD: Why should people go out and see this show?

SD: There’s a lot of gorgeous, moving, important and incredibly-crafted work in this show – by all the artists. And right now our communities are so hungry to gather together in safe spaces, to celebrate our queer/trans selves AND to elevate art/voices of resistance. You get ALL of this at BOYS BITE BACK! Plus Saturday night we’re having a Gala reception to celebrate our new work. I'm proud of this new work and love that we're exploring masculinities, conformity, resistance, being "butch enough."

GLAAD: How did you first get into choreography and dance?

SD: I suppose it all started with dancing around my living room to my “Sesame Street Fever” and “Fame” records … I jest here (sort of), but I’m serious when I say that I had to create my own path as a transgender dancer and dance-maker. There was literally nobody else like me in the entire modern dance field, in dance classes, schools or onstage. So I had to be really creative. Growing up, I threw myself into community activism while doing dance training and tons of theater and music on the side until finally in my 20s I realized that creating dance-theater could BE my activism. The rest is history! 

GLAAD: Dance is so much about discipline and dedication, what else have you learned from your profession--whether about yourself or other people?

SD: Working in a field that has so much intense scrutiny on the body, that is so fiercely binary-gendered, and that has almost no trans representation, I’ve learned a lot around risk-taking and self-care. I absolutely love teaching these things in classes and workshops I offer for trans, non-binary and queer folks! This is one of my favorite things to do – readers should reach out to me through my website if they’d like me to come teach (or perform)!

GLAAD: What advice would you give to trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people about pursuing what they’re passionate about?

SD: I would say: “Do it! You are beautiful! You are unique and there is literally no one else on the planet like you … which means you have something unique, important and powerful to share. Being trans, gender non-conforming or non-binary is an enormous GIFT. We are blessed – the rest of the world might not appreciate that yet, but I promise you: you are gifted and special. Do what you love. It’s your birthright.”

GLAAD: Is there anything else you’d like to share about the show, about your craft, or who you are?

SD: People can learn more about the show, my work and our current 20-city tour at www.seandorseydance.com