School for the Movement of the Technicolo(u)r People


School for the Movement of the Technicolo(u)r People

taisha paggett and WXPT in collaboration with Ashley Hunt and Kim Zumpfe

WXPT Toronto company: Ella Cooper, Rodney Diverlus, Bishara Elmi, Aisha Sasha John, Ashley “Colours” Perez, and Danielle Smith

Gallery TPW
September 12—October 26, 2019

Opening Reception and Performance:
Thursday, September 12, 6:00—9:00pm

Free Saturday School:
Saturdays, September 14 through October 26, 12:00—5:00pm

Gallery TPW is thrilled to present the School for the Movement of the Technicolo(u)r People, a large-scale artist exchange, exhibition, and public school platform. The project was created through the artistic direction of Los Angeles-based dance artist taisha paggett in collaboration with visual artists Ashley Hunt (LA), Kim Zumpfe (LA) and WXPT Toronto, with curatorial and dramaturgical support from artist/scholar Seika Boye (TO). Convened in memory of the segregation-era CB Dansby High School for Black youth in East Texas, the School builds a site/home and experimental curriculum that responds to the limited positioning of Black and queer movers in the worlds of dance, visual art, and beyond. The School in Toronto follows previous iterations in Los Angeles, Austin, and Houston.

Transformed through architectural interventions, video, and photo-choreographic scores, Gallery TPW is envisioned as a dance studio and school whose typical elements are reimagined, providing a tactile space suspended in a cycle of construction, collapse, unearthing, tunneling, lifting, and balance. As a cross-border exchange, the work lives within a shared legacy of US/Canadian forced and voluntary migrations, the mining of both land and bodies, and memories of erased Black histories, to bring forth new possibilities of collective movement and embodiment within the everyday practices and grammars of social struggle.

Through a free curriculum of movement-based classes, workshops, and conversations—some open to all, others open to participants with specific experiences—the School seeks to address a guiding conceptual question: “What is a Black. Dance. Curriculum. Today?” Here “Black dance” is intended not just to point to the canon of African diasporic dance but to the perpetually unstable condition and resiliency of Black life in Canada and the United States. The curriculum will investigate ideas of kinship, intimacy, and care; succumbing and resistance to gravity; body printing and the metaphor of dye/dying; collective recitations and trance; strategies of capturing movement for the camera; and the multiple possibilities of support inside collective improvisational dancing.

The curriculum will also feature workshops and talks by US and Canadian guest artists, thinkers, and organizers whose creative research sits in critical dialogue with fundamental ideas of the project. Created by the temporary dance company, WXPT (we are the paper, we are the trees), Toronto artists Ella Cooper, Rodney Diverlus, Bishara Elmi, Aisha Sasha John, Ashley “Colours” Perez, and Danielle Smith will lead and facilitate the Saturday school activities for its duration.

The Saturday school will take place September 14 through October 26, 2019.

Stay tuned to for upcoming details about classes and free School registration.

Click here for more information.

taisha paggett is a dance artist whose individual and
 collaborative interdisciplinary works re-articulate and collide specific western choreographic practices with the politics of daily life in order to interrupt fixed notions of queer Black embodiment, desire and survival. Such works include the dance company project, WXPT (we are the paper, we are the trees) and the collaborative School for the Movement of the Technicolo(u)r People, both of which seek to reframe and radicalize concepts held within contemporary dance by way of an intersection with social practice; experimental pedagogy; somatic and contemplative investigations; queer, feminist and Black studies; performance and visual art studies; and the political and philosophical meshes of personal history.

paggett’s work has been presented at the Hammer Museum as part of Made in LA; Commonwealth & Council (LA); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LA); Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia); DiverseWorks (Houston); the Whitney Biennial; Studio Museum in Harlem; Danspace at St Mark’s Church (New York); and Simon Fraser University and the Audain Gallery (Vancouver), amongst other venues. Project support has come via the MAP Fund (in partnership with LACE), the National Performance Network, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, Clockshop and the California Community Foundation; Show Box LA; Toronto Arts Council (with Gallery TPW), and residencies at the Headlands (Sausalito, CA), Light Box (Detroit); and University of British Columbia, Okinagan, Summer Indigenous Studies program. paggett is the 2019 recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Merce Cunningham Award.

paggett has had that honor to work with many artists and projects over the years including Every House Has a Door, David Roussève/REALITY, Victoria Marks, Kelly Nipper, Meg Wolfe; Yael Davids; Ashley Hunt, and Anya Cloud and Rebeca Salzar’s latest video “the window kind of opens by itself.” From 2005-13 paggett co-instigated, with Wolfe, the LA-based dance project zine, itch. paggett received a BA in Art History from UC Santa Cruz, an MFA from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and is an associate professor of dance at UC Riverside.

For biographies of all participants, click here.

Gallery TPW acknowledges our 2018-19 season sponsor TD The Ready Commitment, project support through Toronto Arts Council Strategic Funding and production support from Toronto Image Works in the development of the School for the Movement of the Technicolo(u)r People.


For more information, contact:

Daniella Sanader
Program and Publications Coordinator

Image: Ashley Hunt, taisha paggett, and Kim Zumpfe with WXPT, Demonstration Score #49 (ensemble), 2019. Image courtesy of the artists.

Gallery TPW
170 St Helens Ave., Toronto, ON M6H 4A1
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 12pm–5pm

Gallery TPW is an accessible venue with ramp access, an accessible ground-floor washroom, and clear, unobstructed pathways within the gallery. Please note that there are no automatic doors at the entrance and no designated accessible parking nearby.