A recent Bessie Award nominee for Most Outstanding Production ( for, The End of Men) Vanessa Anspaugh, is a choreographer who lives and works between Portland Maine, and Northampton MA. and shows her work nationally and internationally. She was a 2020 NEFA NDP Grant Finalist for her current work in process, Aggression Confession which is being co-commissioned by The Bates Dance Festival and New York Live Arts.
At the heart of most all of her work, lies investigations in to various structures of power, examining how power lives in and between bodies. From the macro to the micro, many of the questions surrounding her work address the myriad relationships that exist in collections of groups and individuals. Anspaugh's work has been both commissioned and presented by venues such as, The Joyce Theater, Danspace Project, DTW, New York Live Arts, The River to River Festival, The Sculpture Center, The Hessel Museum of Art, Highways in Los Angles, Studio 303 in Montreal, and in New Englad, SCDT, APE Gallery, Bowdoin College, Smith College among others. She has had funded residencies through The Mac Dowell Colony, DTW, Mount Tremper Arts, Kattsbaan, LMCC, BAX, BOFFO, and Bard College. Anspaugh attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH where she received a BA in Buddhist Studies and Fine Art, and Smith College where she received her MFA in Choreography and Performance. I am a dance artist who works through visual, somatic, and conceptual languages in an effort to facilitate visually alluring, emotional, political, and relational dance works. My particular process methodology hinges on a belief that what is going on inside of the room reflects also what is going on outside of the room, in the culture at large. In my processes driven work, I continue to work collaboratively with performers in order to discover how their interests and concerns can be in dialogue with my own interests exploring the complex power relations embedded in a variety of relationships. From the personal, institutional and sociopolitical, I aim to work through questions around control, collaboration, authorship, domination and surrender. Currently, my research hopes to subvert the dynamics and/or reverse traditional structures that exist in the dancer choreographer paradigm. In my newest work The End of Men, I direct an all male cast for the first time. Under the new Trump regime, Anspaugh finds a renewed relevance in her continued research and critique of male masculinities in The End of Men, Again. From her subject position as a lesbian choreographer and mother to a new son, Anspaugh gets into the studio with an all cis-male cast to explore how power lives in and between all of the participating bodies. This highly spirited work of dance-theater interweaves demanding physicality with spoken dialogue, sonic religiosity, and sublime virtuosity. The work takes on men by investigating masculine vulnerability and the historical and unyielding dynamics of cultural domination. The End of Men, Again functions as an exploration, a critique, a celebration, and as an exorcism of myriad masculine archetypes. The work efforts to exist as an ongoing inquiry into the legacy of maleness her son will be contending with as he grows up. Additionally, We all know that men often sit at the helm of most war and religious hegemony and oppression. And then, so often in contemporary dance, we encounter male choreographers who direct all-female and mixed gender casts, but how often do we see female choreographers directing all male casts? To me, this arrangement implicitly unearths questions of authority and power within creative process and production What happens when men are directed (by me) to embody their intimacies, What does feminist work look like without women as the subject?