Face to Face: Joe Goode

Joe Goode Performance Group in his Wonderboy

In some ways, choreographer Joe Goode has his little sister to thank for his career. “I always seem to be following her,” he says, laughing. He first followed her to dance class: “She had a battery pack under her tutu, and when the lights went out and she sparkled like a star, I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do.’” Decades later, disillusioned with the New York dance scene, he followed her to San Francisco, where he soon made a name for himself as a crafter of dance theater, skillfully layering his highly physical choreography with spoken text and song.

This month, Goode brings his Resilience Project to the American Dance Institute in Maryland. For this residency series, he and his company interview specific populations about dealing with trauma and finding strength in adversity. Their responses and stories become the verbatim text for a culminating dance theater performance. At ADI, Goode will work with local military veterans.

On getting people to talk for the Resilience Project “They’ve come forward. Most of them are almost missionary about wanting more awareness for what they’ve gone through. In a way, it’s like coming out of the closet. There’s a secrecy about PTSD. But when you actually talk about it and put it in the context of a life, it’s not so mysterious. When you talk about how the family is dealing with it and the ways they’re looking for solutions to those problems, it’s a very human story.”

Pairing language with movement “Sometimes we don’t try to illustrate the language. Sometimes what happens with the body is the opposite of what’s happening with the language. The language might be very angry—denial, “I can’t get better; everything’s wrong”—but what’s happening physically is very sweet or tender. That breaks open new meanings in the language and new feelings.”

His best advice for students “I actually advise my students not to think of dance as a career. I think that’s a depressing and self-defeating way of going about it. If it’s something that you’re passionate about and gets you curious about the world, then it’s something you should pursue. Whether or not someone wants to pay you to kick your leg high is kind of irrelevant. You’re going to find a way to get involved with it if it’s the thing that feeds you. Approach it with curiosity and appetite, and see where it takes you.” DT

Joe Goode

Training: BA in theater from Virginia Commonwealth University

Performance: Merce Cunningham Dance Company; Margaret Jenkins Dance Company

Choreography: founded the Joe Goode Performance Group in 1986; Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007

Teaching: professor at University of California, Berkeley

Photos from top: by Margo Mortiz; by RJ Muna; both courtesy of Goode

Don’t miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

News
Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading... Show less
Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

Keep reading... Show less
News
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.