My queer body began in my arms, hands and wrists. I wouldn’t have called it “queer” when I was younger; I’d have called it “real” or “strong” or something less “gay.” It was only earlier this year—at a PICA symposium framing Keith Hennessy and A.L. Steiner’s work—that I could embrace a queer body culture. Club dancing was my first love. I haven’t been driven so much by homosexuality, but I’ve always felt alien to the normative regime of heterosexuality. Neighbors—to its infamous credit—was the one of the first places I found public space to dance (foundational hours at Re-bar were huge also). Dancing in clubs has allowed me to make real my critical and crucial body. My arms, hands and wrists have been the location of my bodily insurrection: finesse, latitude, exuberance. I guess the failure I’ve worked hardest on is the failure to dance a body complicit with the violent oppression of conservative masculinity: stoic, essential, oppressed, circumcised from sensation.
Robert Tyree is a dance artist, writer and educator based in Portland, Oregon. He has pursued a concept of intensive dance, dance in late-night contexts—or deterritorialization in discos. Tyree is co-executor of FRONT, a Portland-based newspaper for contemporary dance, and he is currently developing a collaboration of intercrafted poetry and choreography with Romanian writer Andra Rotaru. www.roberttyree.net