Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People
And lose the name of action


Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People, And lose the name of action, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida Photo: Chris Cameron


An ambitious, engrossing rendering of the choreographer’s investigations…dazzling.

—The New Yorker


Presented as part of the IN>TIME Festival

Mathematical beauty and psychological complexity…potent and evocative images.
Dance Magazine

Miguel Gutierrez, the Brooklyn-based dance artist, makes his Chicago debut with a new work inspired by the elusive logic of dance improvisation, studies of human consciousness, and the 19th century spiritualist movement. He is joined onstage by an all-star cast of six distinctive artists who have been brought together by Gutierrez to form an artistically and physically diverse ensemble: Michelle Boulé, Hilary Clark, Luke George, Miguel Gutierrez, K. J. Holmes, and Ishmael Houston-Jones.

The performers use dance, dialogue, music, improvisation, and recorded sounds to draw connections between the analytical and the unexplainable, grappling with the limits of language and the ever present specter of death. Probing complex theoretical issues, taking on relationships between perception and reality, mind and body, Gutierrez spares nothing in this dazzling work that crackles with wit and immediacy.

The project’s genesis has its roots in the neurological problems afflicting Gutierrez’s father—and his subsequent research into neurological perspectives on the relationship of the body and its interactions to perception and reality. The piece is also inspired by Jorgen Leth’s film The Perfect Human, which depicts a man and woman moving and dancing in an empty white room. The performance’s title comes from the final lines of the “To be or not to be” soliloquy in Hamlet.

To expose the audience viscerally to a specific aura, tone, and sensibility, the performance space is designed by Gutierez for an small audience of 125 people, seated on stage. Also contributing to the sense of vulnerability and intimacy is ethereal lighting by Lenore Doxsee, hallucinatory sounds and music by Neal Medlyn, and film and dialogue by Boru O’Brien O’Connell.

Running time: 85 minutes
Recommended for mature audiences: some nudity

MCA Stage at the Edlis Neeson Theater is proudly participating in IN>TIME, a winter long, city wide, multivenue performance festival for Chicago, Jan 11–Mar 2, 2013. Learn more at


Generous support for And lose the name of action is provided by And lose the name of action is supported by a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project cocommissioned by the MCA Chicago in partnership with Flynn Center for the Arts, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and NPN. Additional support comes from the NPN Forth Fund and Residency Program. Additional generous support is provided in part by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, and David Herro and Jay Franke.

National Performance Network



About the artist

Miguel Gutierrez is a New York–based dance artist who creates solo and group pieces with a variety of artists under the moniker of Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People. Gutierrez’s work is centered on process-focused experimental dance while drawing on far-reaching influences such as endurance-based performance art; noise music; ecstatic experience in social and religious rituals; the study of mind/body somatic systems; and various histories of spectacle including Broadway, Vegas, and queer performance in alternative clubs from the eighties to today. Gutierrez assembled the first incarnation of the Powerful People in 2001. Committed to working outside the traditional model of a dance company, Gutierrez sees the participating artists in his work—dancers, composers, designers, and visual artists—as part of an ever-expanding net of inspiring collaborators. Regardless of the scale of the project, Gutierrez’s goal is to create challenging and thought-provoking performance experiences.

Previous works include HEAVENS WHAT HAVE I DONE (2010); I SAY THE WORD (2010), a collaboration with Jenny Holzer; Last Meadow (2009), which received a Bessie Award for Creative Team; Nothing, No thing (2008); Everyone (2007); myendlesslove (2006); and Retrospective Exhibitionist and Difficult Bodies (2005), which received a Bessie Award for Choreography. He has performed at festivals and venues nationally and internationally, including the American Realness Festival in New York, NY; Festival D’Automne in Paris; Antipodes Festival in Brest, France; TBA/PICA in Portland, Oregon; Out There Festival at the Walker Art Center; UNAM in Mexico City; and ImPulsTanz in Vienna, Austria.

More about Miguel Gutierrez