Jess Curtis/Gravity

2000-Present

Gravity was founded by choreographer-director Jess Curtis, whose distinctive body of work ranges from the underground extremes of San Francisco warehouse performances with such iconic companies as Contraband and CORE in the 1980s, to the exuberance of French circus tents with Compagnie Cahin-Caha and the formal refinement of European state theaters in Berlin, London, Glasgow, and other major cultural centers.

Curtis’ choreography has been widely recognized for its excellence, originality, and inclusiveness; in 2011, he was honored with the Alpert Award for Choreography and the Homer Avila Award for innovation in physically inclusive dance. Additionally, Gravity has been recognized with six Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and a ‘Fringe First’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

These works consistently engage with issues of embodied diversity including gender, sexuality and disability, making compelling cases for the value that different bodies contribute to society, and include Dances for Non/Fictional Bodies (2011), The Generation Project: Jess Meets Angus (2010), The Symmetry Project (2006-2014), Under the Radar (2007), Fallen (2001), and The Way You Look (at me) Tonight (2016), a duet created and performed by Curtis and self-identified disabled artist Claire Cunningham in collaboration with philosopher Alva Noë.

Jess Curtis/Gravity: creates, produces, and tours original body-based art; educates young professionals, students, and members of the public with physically accessible workshops in cities throughout the US and Europe; nurtures emerging artists through artistic mentorship, professional guidance, and fiscal sponsorship; fosters international exchange through co-productions that mobilize our international network to bring international artists to San Francisco and help San Francisco artists present work abroad; and supports emerging choreographers through our Pop Up Performance Project, which commissions site-specific work for presentation on city streets.

 
Jess Curtis wears a black tee shirt and silver earrings. He has a shock of white hair and looks into the camera. (photo: Sven Hagolani)

jess curtis

Jess Curtis is an award-winning choreographer and performer committed to an art-making practice informed by experimentation, innovation, critical discourse and social relevance at the intersections of fine art and popular culture. Curtis has created and performed multidisciplinary dance theater throughout the U.S. and Europe with the seminal group Contraband, the radical performance collective CORE and the experimental French Circus company Cahin-Caha, Cirque Batard. From 1991 to 1998 he co-directed the ground-breaking San Francisco performance venue 848 Community Space with Keith Hennessy and Michael Whitson. In 2000, Curtis founded his own trans-continental performance company, Jess Curtis/Gravity, based in Berlin and San Francisco. In 2011 he was presented the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts for choreography and the Homer Avila Award for innovation in physically inclusive dance. He holds an MFA in Choreography and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California at Davis.

 

Alley Wilde

Alley Wilde is a low-income genderfluid arts and culture worker engaged in a practice fusing art-administration, art-making, and radical activism. Their aim is to advance equity and build community through the production and progeneration of queer culture. They have worked for more than ten years managing artists and cultural events; some past and present collaborators include Youth Speaks, ODC, Rainbow Theater, CounterPulse, Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Eye Zen Presents and Keith Hennessy/Circo Zero. Since 2014 they have served as the Program Director for Jess Curtis/Gravity.

Alley wears a wide brimmed black hat and sunglasses over pink and blue triangle face paint, a leather collar and black jumpsuit.
 
Chibueze in black sleeveless shirt and short cropped hair looks at the camera.

C. Chibueze Crouch

C. Chibueze Crouch is a queer Black/Nigerian-American femme actor, writer and teaching artist. She has over 5 years experience in development as well as arts administration for numerous non-profits in the US and abroad, including: Commonweal, Trinidad Theater Workshop, International Festival of Arts & Ideas and Young Jean Lee Theater Company, among others. She performs around the Bay Area, teaches drama to Oakland youth at Destiny Arts Center and is a freelance grant writer. Chibueze joined Gravity as an Administrative Associate in June 2018.

 

Julia Danila

Julia Danila is a producer, cultural manager and curator based in Berlin. She works in contemporary dance and performance in close collaboration with Jess Curtis/ Gravity and Bara Kolenc. In addition to producing the new work of Jess Curtis/ Gravity, she will take up the position as artistic production manager for the contemporary dance company tanzmainz at state theatre Mainz (GERMANY) as of Dec 2018. After graduating from UCL with an MA in European Cultures, she was awarded a scholarship with Robert Bosch Foundation working in the context of Slovenia and the region of South Eastern Europe. In 2014, she was granted a scholarship with Goethe Institute Beijing for a cultural exchange partnership with producer and curator Zhang Yuan (Paper Tiger Theatre, Ming Contemporary Art Museum).

Julia smiles at the camera. She is pictured in black and white, wearing a dark blazer with long, loose hair. (photo: CTheissen)
 
Justin, slightly bearded with short black hair, smiles at the camera. He is wearing a navy blue button-up shirt and stands in front of greenery.

Justin Lopez

Justin Lopez is a Bay Area singer, actor, and proud member of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus family.  He is thrilled to have expanded his career from the biosciences - where he pursued doctoral research in orthopedic bioengineering at UCSF - into the arts. A lover of musical theatre and performance art, Justin is incredibly excited to take part in making art more accessible for all.

 

Board Members

Sophia Green (President)

Dress Wedding (Treasurer)

John Link, PhD. (Secretary)

Alice Sheppard, PhD

Jess Curtis, PhD.

Jack Davis

Sampada Aranke, PhD.