Jess Curtis

In conversation with Jess Curtis and Jerron Herman


“I somehow imagine the central question to be something about how disabled and non-disabled people can work together to increase cultural access and awareness for people with diverse physicalities, sensory and neurological modalities. How can non-disabled allies avoid reiterating able-ist practices that position them as experts and work to center the experience and agency of disabled people in the structuring of diverse cultural experiences?”Jess Curtis.

In this conversation, Jess Curtis an Jerron Herman will be invited to unpack thoughts on the role of allyship in actively promoting the advancement of inclusion in dance. What kind of intentions and actions can reimagine a cultural field based on trust, consistency, and accountability working with marginalized individuals or groups of people? What actions need to be encouraged and developed in creating artistic opportunities to include people with disabilities? What choices can we make as artists to invite people to feel safe enough to join and be involved?  What do responsibility and accountability look like in understanding positions of privilege in the art field? How does allyship allow mutual reciprocity to unfold new narratives or artistic thinking?

WHEN: Friday October 8th @ 19:00-20:00

WHERE: Via Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 881 2919 3578

Passcode: 726669

PLEASE NOTE: The meeting will be recorded

LANGUAGE: English with ASL and automated closed captioning in English.

This event is supported by the Goethe-Institut Finland


Jess Curtis is an award-winning choreographer, performer and scholar 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 performances throughout the U.S., Europe with 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 diverse performance Curtis is active as a writer, advocate and community organizer in the fields of contemporary dance and performance, and teaches Dance, Contact Improvisation and Interdisciplinary Performance for individuals of all abilities throughout the US and Europe. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of the Arts in Berlin. He holds an MFA in Choreography and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California at Davis.

Jerron Herman is a disabled dancer and writer who creates works to facilitate welcoming. Jerron began his training as a company member with Heidi Latsky Dance from 2011-2019, performing widely, and now collaborates with disability arts collective Kinetic Light. In addition, Jerron regularly writes on art and culture and currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Dance/USA as Vice Chair. His awards include a 2020 Disability Futures Fellowship by the Ford and Mellon Foundations respectively, as well as the Grants to Artists Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship from the Jerome Foundation, both in 2021