Unpacking [un]WRAP: A Q&A with Anya Cloud
Every year, the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Dance Department opens its season with [un]WRAP, a weeklong symposium that includes workshops, discussions and performances. We asked Assistant Professor Anya Cloud a few questions about this year’s [un]WRAP event.
Can you tell us about the significance of this year’s topic, “Queer Love in Times of Crisis?”
“Queer Love in Times of Crisis” comes from the embodied experience of being a queer experimental dance artist at the juncture of the many crises of our time and from falling in love with my dear friend and collaborator Makisig Akin in 2021. Makisig and I started researching two questions: What can we do together that we cannot do alone? What becomes possible when love is stronger than fear? This became a queer love-centered survival practice — an artist-activist response to the extreme anti-trans and anti-queer legislation that is happening.
We orient this as an inclusive practice, through both research and performance, that can activate the wildest dreams of our queer ancestors in ways that honor the past and imagine the future. From this place many seemingly impossible things can become more possible.
What is new and exciting at this year’s [un]WRAP event?
Several aspects are new this year including the focus on experimental dance in relationship with this complex and urgent time for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“We Are (nothing) Everything” is a 70-minute fiercely physical and tender choreographic work by Berlin based artist Makisig Akin and me that will be performed Sept. 29 through Oct. 1. “We Are (nothing) Everything” premiered in Berlin in February 2023, and [un]WRAP will be the US premiere.
Following the performance on Friday renowned NYC experimental dance artist mayfield brooks will facilitate a post-performance conversation.
After the performance on Saturday there will be a free queer-centered dance party with Denver based DJ s.t3v.
San Diego based artist Eric Geiger will be offering Morning Physical Practice classes Sept. 25, 26 and 27 from 10:10 to 11:40 a.m. each day in The Charlotte York Irey Theatre. These are free and open to the public to participate. These experimental technique classes will include Feldenkrais, improvisation, and phrasework that prioritizes wildness, magnificence, complexity, simplicity. queering, sensation, risk taking and more.
mayfield brooks, whose work is Improvising While Black, will be offering a film of their new work “Whale Fall” followed by a conversation on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 10:10 to 11:40 a.m. in the Charlotte York Irey Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.
I’m also currently in conversation with several centers on campus about co-sponsoring the [un]WRAP guest artists and I’m excited about making more queer artistic connections between dance and the rest of the campus through un[WRAP.
How long has been CU Dance presenting [un]WRAP?
It was started in 2013 by an MFA student named Cristina Goletti. Trajal Harrell and André Lepecki were among the first artists.
Is the name [un]WRAP an acronym? What does it mean?
[un]WRAP stands for “undoing writing research and performance.”
The CU Boulder Department of Theatre & Dance presents [un]WRAP performances in the Charlotte York Irey Theatre Sept. 29 through Oct. 1, 2023.