Addressing the Unspeakable, SF Bay Guardian interviews Justin Morrison on WEAPON

Last updated on February 28, 2017
-by Robert Avila

Morrison, a graceful and intelligent force on stage, has been a member of Hope Mohr Dance Company, and continues to work with Sara Shelton Mann as well. In fact, it was his first work with Mann (in 2009) that introduced him to San Francisco, which he adopted the following year following three years in Amsterdam as part of Katie Duck’s improvisation-driven Magpie Music Dance Company.

Morrison, by contrast, eschews narrative altogether, in terms that imply a reluctance to imbue dance with the limiting horizon such narrative tropes can form.

“There seems to be a proliferation of works that are, or seek to be, ‘about’ something,” notes Morrison. “Perhaps [that’s] a byproduct of the grant writing process.”

Morrison says he finds this problematic, since “it forces artists to contrive a narrative, often steeped in cliché.” More often than not, this means for Morrison familiar platitudes around identity and politics.

“Work,” he contends, “becomes overtly a narrative about self, about the performers, about the economy, for example; at times, [this means] ignoring the phenomenological, the abstract, or that which cannot otherwise be described, only experienced.”