RELATIONS

ISHMAEL HOUSTON-JONES, RALPH LEMON, & BEBE MILLER

"What was really interesting was finding out... if I didn't do the routine, what

would I make?"        -Bebe Miller

Ishmael Houston-Jones, Ralph Lemon, and Bebe Miller are all celebrated choreographers and performers in the post-modern dance scene. Their history as contemporaries can be traced back to Parallels, an event produced by Houston-Jones at Danspace Project in New York in 1982. The performed as a trio for the first time ever in Relations, premiering at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in 2018.

November 03, 2018: Ishmael Houston-Jones, Ralph Lemon, and Bebe Miller were interviewed as a group before the second performance of their trio, Relations, at the MCA. They discussed their relationships to each other and to Chicago and the Midwest. They recall performing in various productions and venues throughout the years and and reflect on the process and performance of Relations, in which they share the stage together for the very first time. A conversation developed around the term "Black dance" and all three offered thoughts on how that designation has shifted since the 1980s.

black dancers

"If you were black, a certain Ailey trajectory, lineage was expected." 

-Ishmael Houston-Jones

"To get pulled into a kind of racial container for that seemed really interesting."

-Ralph Lemon

"I thought that one of the successes of the '82 Parallels was... the work was very diverse."             -Ishmael Houston-Jones

"It's so different now for dance makers of color than it was for us."

-Ralph Lemon

All images and video on this site are the property of Chicago Dance History Project. To request permission to use these materials, please contact CDHP.

Full interview videos and transcripts also available upon request.

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