Ishmael Houston-Jones

Ishmael Houston-Jones was born in 1951 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and currently lives and works in New York City, New York. In his work the artist explores the political implications of working collectively and drawing from improvisational explorations he choreographs pieces for solo dancers and groups. In his work, Houston-Jones choreographs, dances, writes, curates, and frequently the boundaries between these practices are made porous. Alongside exploring improvisational strategies, the artist reflects the realities of life as a Black American in his choreographies. One example is his collaboration with Keith Hennessy and Patrick Scully, Unsafe / Unsuited (A High Risk Meditation) (1995), where Houston-Jones attempts to pass between Hennessy and Scully, two white dancers, and is held back in a series of escalating attempts. He also works to recover lost narratives from American history, as in his collaboration with Fred Holland titled Cowboys, Dreams, and Ladders (1984), where the artists explored the history of the Black cowboy.