Thin Man Dance, Inc./John Jasperse Projects is a non-profit production structure supporting the artistic work of choreographer John Jasperse in collaboration with artists of various disciplines. The organization’s primary focus is the presentation of live performances of contemporary dance; surrounding this, JJP engages in a broad range of residency activities in the U.S. and abroad. Jasperse sees the primary responsibility of the artist in society as that of inciting awakening, both in the artistic team through the process of creation and, in turn, in the audience, through their experience of performance. The core values of the work are centered in experimentation and the expansion of the field of dance as a performance form.
The engagement of the public implied in the use of the word “awakening” might at first seem to be opposed to the difficulty that many associate with experimental work. JJP’s work is typified by a refined balance of the values of experimentation and accessibility. In seeking to make work which is accessible to audiences, the tendency is often to skirt around the fact that dance is a profoundly abstract and poetic form. Within the work of JJP, meaning and understanding more often emerge as delicate web-like constructions of association that remain fluid and resist ossification into singularity. JJP is committed to the committed to the tenet that the unfamiliar need not be alienating; the work seeks to engage the public on visceral, aesthetic and intellectual levels alike.
Jasperse has created numerous shorter works and seventeen evening-length works: Remains (2016), Within between (2014), Fort Blossom revisited (2000/2012), Canyon (2011), Truth, Revised Histories, Wishful Thinking, and Flat Out Lies (2009), Misuse liable to prosecution (2007), Becky, Jodi, and John (2007), Prone (2005), CALIFORNIA (2003), just two dancers (2003), Giant Empty (2001), Madison as I imagine it (1999), Waving to you from here (1997), Excessories (1995), furnished/unfurnished (1993), Eyes Half Closed (1991), and Rickety Perch (1989), as well as various projects in collaboration with other artists.
Jasperse’s work has been presented by festivals and venues internationally by presenting partners including:
- In the United States: The American Dance Festival, Durham, NC; Diverseworks, Houston, TX; The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT; Museum of Contemporary Arts, Chicago, IL; On the Boards, Seattle, WA; Philadelphia Live Arts, PA; Summer Stages, Concord, MA; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.
- In New York City: The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Joyce Theater, New York Live Arts, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, The Kitchen and Performance Space 122.
- throughout Europe: La Biennale di Venezia; Cannes International Dance Festival; Dance Umbrella, London; EuroKaz, Zagreb; Kampnagel, Hamburg; Montpellier Danse, Tanz im August, Berlin; TanzQuartier Wein, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt; and the VEO Festival, Valencia.
- additional international touring engagements in Brazil, Chile, Israel, Japan and Panama.
Under the auspices of John Jasperse Projects, Jasperse has created several works for other companies: See Through Knot, commissioned by the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation for White Oak’s Dance Project (2000); The Rest, commissioned by the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel (2000); à double face for the Lyon Opéra Ballet, France (March 2002); missed FIT for The Irish Modern Dance Theater, Dublin, Ireland (October 2002); Highline, as part of the Montana Suite Project for Headwaters Dance Company, Missoula, MT (2007), and most recently Spurts of Activity Before the Emptiness of Late Afternoon for Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Salt Lake City, UT (2010).
Jasperse was the 2011 US Artist Brooks Hopkins Fellow and has been awarded many prestigious prizes and fellowships including a Doris Duke Artist Award (2014), the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts (2003), the Tides Foundation’s Lambent Fellowship in the Arts (2004), John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1998), the National Endowment for the Arts (1992, 1994, 1995-96) and the New York Foundation for the Arts (1988, 1994, 2000, 2010). Jasperse received a 2014 New York Dance and Performance a.k.a. Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for Within between and dancer Stuart Singer received a Bessie for his performance in the work. Jasperse received a 2001 Bessie Award for the body of his work, and John Jasperse company dancers received a collective Bessie in 2002 for sustained achievement as an ensemble.
In addition to numerous commissions for new works, Jasperse’s work and Thin Man Dance, Inc. have been supported by grants from Altria Group, Inc., American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Arts International, Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation, Creative Capital Foundation, Dance Magazine Foundation, Fonds d’Aide à la Production Chorégraphique du Conseil Général de Seine-Saint-Denis (France), Emma A. Sheafer Charitable Trust, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Greenwall Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, Heathcote Art Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, James E. Robison Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Meet the Composer, the Multi-Arts Production Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts BUILD program, New York State Council on the Arts, the Lila Acheson Wallace Theater Fund, established in The New York Community Trust by the founders of The Reader’s Digest Association, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding.