“Re:Configurations” was an evening-length performance focusing on issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationship and partnership that premiered in Tucson, Nov. 2006. I co-directed the show with Jennifer Hoefle. The performance featured the participation of ten LGBT community members between the ages of 18 and 68, recruited with the help of Wingspan, Tucson’s LGBT resource center. During eight weekend workshops (facilitated by Hoefle and I), participants developed movement and writing material that was used to shape the performance. Community sections wove together seven dances by Tucson choreographers from who created new work or “reconfigured” existing repertory as same sex duets.
The project was, in part, a response to Proposition 107, the November 2006 ballot initiative seeking an Arizona state constitutional amendment limiting benefits of domestic partners. (Prop 107 failed the week after the show premiered. Two years later, in 2008, Arizonans voted to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.)
Plans to restage “Re:Configurations” are currently under consideration.
It was the most moving and intimate educational display of LGBT reality I’ve ever seen. Awesome. Awestruck. – Anonymous audience member (from survey)
Thank you for putting this amazing show together. Often LGBT people are portrayed in media (and in art) as being either comedic relief or victims. It feels really important, and like a blessing, to have pieces of my queer life reflected back to me as neither funny nor victimized. It felt so good to see LGBT people reflected as beautiful for a little while. –TC Tolbert, audience member
Thank you to the directors of Re:Configurations for creating a new way to help us understand love. Thank you to the community members who participated in Re:Configurations. Your stories were deeply courageous, touching, and unforgettable. Thank you to all the dancers and choreographers. It was startling and gorgeous to see same-sex dancers moving together in ways I’ve previously only seen danced by male-female couples. I left feeling awake to the beauty and tenderness of love in all of its diversity. –Laura Markowitz, 42, writer and former publisher of In the Family magazine
I didn’t want to go … I thought it was going to be another flamboyant gay pride event. I was wrong. It was poignant, artful and ultimately inspirational about being true to yourself no matter how raw the experience might be. –Bob Demers, 47
When I took my seat waiting for the show to start I was a little uncomfortable. Through the show I became more and more open-minded. By the end of the show I viewed the LGBT community completely differently. I got an understanding of their feelings and what they have to go through. It was an amazing performance. –Amanda Frear, 10th grader
I was inspired by the community participants’ openness and ability to share such raw stories. I learned that intimacy can be a public thing and still maintain integrity. The project far exceeded my expectations. I felt enriched by the project, as I got to be a part of something so socially important. – April Greengard, NEW ART dancer & choreographer
I was never before interested in performing in any way. Dance seemed especially terrifying. But I realized through the workshops that there was potential to express things through movement that were difficult to put into words. I could see that even small gestures could communicate feelings and experiences that people could relate to. I didn’t have to find the right words, I didn’t have to do what I thought of as “dance”, I could create a movement that felt natural to me. This was not only beneficial for telling my story, but surprisingly helped me to connect with my body in a way I hadn’t before. I really began to feel like I have a voice. The feedback was incredible, people relating similar stories back to me and others letting me know that they had absolutely no previous awareness about things I had talked about. So, I realized that not only was I not alone in my experiences, but that speaking up about them could be helpful and actually matter. -Anne Iverson, Community cast member