JESSE FACTOR creates multidisciplinary dance projects inhabiting divas, queer nostalgia, and longing. Using the body to re-think and to re-imagine performance and gender, the work endeavors to “remember into the future”. Factor’s growing performance repertory is informed by traditions of theater, dance modernism, and drag. Jesse employs the aesthetics of camp and genderfuck through diligent creative research. The performance work pushes a hyper-theatrical body into innovative theatrical scenarios. Jesse’s solo performance reckons with the past and future of queer aesthetics, legends, and desires, often through the medium of femiconicity. Factor’s studied channeling of diva icons in exile--from time and bodies--hauntingly reflects the impressions they’ve left behind.
Jesse Factor’s work is consistently recognized for physical virtuosity, dramaturgical rigor, and creative audacity. Factor’s ongoing Marthagany series has been enthusiastically received at OUTsider Fest in Austin, TX, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, City Center Studios in New York City, Flyover Festival in Iowa City, IA, the Midwest RADfest in Kalamazoo, MI and the upcoming Fierce! Queer Burlesque Festival in Toronto, ON. Jesse’s additional dance work, including Mommie Queerest, and Kween Kong have been selected for presentation at the Chicago Harvest Contemporary Dance Festival, Suite Summer Festival NYC, Greenspace NYC, and the Tank NYC. Factor received the Iowa Arts Fellowship (2015-2016) and an Obermann Graduate Institute Fellowship (2017) at the University of Iowa. Jesse danced professionally with the Martha Graham Dance Company and Graham II, received a BFA in Drama with honors from Tisch/NYU, and an MFA in Dance from the University of Iowa.
I endeavor to mine the body as a cultural archive and to question the distance between beautiful and the grotesque. I’m often interested in the performance of the diva as a collective signifier holding interlocking systems of power, love, celebrity, and sacrifice. I take delight in exploiting the intricate physicality of archival Graham material, which I cross-reference with contemporary popular culture. I’m interested in working at the intersection of various performance traditions, including dance modernism, clowning, vaudeville, drag, and mime in order to render a unique hybrid performance. I seek to blur and repurpose fixed binary notions of humor/terror, male/female, glamour/abjection, and real/fake through my body, with a sense of risk and abandon. I locate and push the excessive, hyper-theatrical body frequently employed in the aesthetics of Camp into new and uncharted scenarios. In what ways does the body allow us to re-think and re-imagine historical possibilities and to “remember into the future”? I value the queer, the magical, the transgressive, and the inherent strangeness of dance. As such, I access archival material only to disrupt it in some way making space for something new and fabulous. In other words, actively queering the archive produces new aesthetic possibilities.