Welcome to Discourse: Disabled Artists at The Joyce, our latest collaboration with emerging and established contemporary dance artists who use disability as their aesthetic framework.
Led by award-winning choreographer and dancer Jerron Herman, the series features works by artists Kayla Hamilton, Yo-Yo Lin, and Christopher Unpezverde Núñez.
Each performance includes a discussion with all three artists, Herman, and ASL interpreter Brandon Kazen-Maddox.
Kayla Hamilton is an artist, producer, and educator originally from Texarkana, Texas and now reside in Bronx, NY. Kayla earned a BA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and an MS Ed in Special Education from Hunter College. She is a member of the 2017 Bessie-award winning cast of the Skeleton Architecture, the future of our world's curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. In addition to Skeleton Architecture, Kayla dance with Sydnie L. Mosley Dances and Gesel Mason Performance Projects, teach master classes around the United States, and the recipient of Angela’s Pulses’ Dancing While Black 2017 Fellowship. Under the name K. Hamilton Projects, Kayla self-produced numerous projects, organizes community events, and write arts integrated curriculum throughout NYC. When Kayla is not dancing, she's a special education teacher at the Highbridge Green School who loves to watch Law and Order on Hulu while sipping on peppermint tea.
Jerron Herman is a dancer and writer who is compelled to create images of freedom. His process is supported by personal histories and social legacies of disability aesthetics that undermine notions of production in favor of welcoming. The nuanced pieces Jerron exhibits contend with an early childhood desire to create many worlds in which others inhabit.
In addition to his award-winning works in 2019, Jerron’s pieces include PHYS ED (2018) which premiered at Gibney Dance Center following in-progress showings at Marlboro College and Snug Harbor. a Rest, a multimedia P.E. simulation involving looped video of the dance and an adjoining choreo-map, exhibited at the Dedalus Foundation in ABS’ Art & Disability Cohort’s show, Means of Egress, curated by Lisa Dent. Untitled Red (2019), was a cyclical movement response to Constantina Zavitsanos’ first solo show, L&D Motel, at Participant, Inc.
Jerron has served on the Board of Trustees at Dance/USA since 2017, most recently as Vice Chair. He’s been a Selection Committee member for the NY Performing Arts “Bessie’s” Awards and also served on panels for NYSCA, Dance/NYC, The Lark, Eyebeam, and Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. He was a finalist for the inaugural Lark Play Development Lab/Apothetae Fellowship in 2017 and writes extensively on art & culture. From 2019-2020, Jerron curated the series Access Check 2.0: Mapping Accessibility for the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.
Jerron has also been featured as a model for Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Chromat, and FFORA campaigns. He modeled a prototype of adaptive wear he consulted on during Nike’s Fashion Week show in 2018. He serves as an Ambassador for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and regularly works with designers and artisans to realize beauty.
From 2011-2019 Jerron was a core member of Heidi Latsky Dance, having been featured at Lincoln Center, ADF, and abroad in Greece and Armenia in tandem with his occupation as the Development Director from 2017-2019. He’s since joined Disability Arts collective Kinetic Light as a choreographic collaborator realizing the work Wired. Jerron has guest lectured at The New School, NYU, and Harvard University. He was also a visiting choreographer for Mark Morris Dance Group’s Student Company. He studied Playwriting at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts and received a B.A. from The King’s College.
Brandon Kazen-Maddox is a BIPOC, LGBTQAI+, gender non-conforming third-generation native user of American Sign Language (ASL) and Grandchild of Deaf Adults (GODA). In 2010, Brandon received their undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, where they studied Spanish and French language and literature. After receiving their Bachelor of Arts, they moved to San Francisco, CA where they crafted a seven-year career as a professional circus acrobat.
It was in San Francisco that Brandon began working with the D/deaf community to blend the worlds of American Sign Language with dance and acrobatics, creating their professional multimedia ASL video production company, Body Language Productions.
In May 2019, Brandon graduated with their Master’s degree in Dance and New Technology from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Brandon currently lives, works and creates art in New York City, collaborating with and providing opportunities for Deaf artists who share a passion for bringing artistic works of American Sign Language dance theater to the stage, screen and beyond.
Brandon recently co-founded a new artist collective called UP UNTIL NOW with his partner Kevin Newbury, Director of Photography Marcus Shields, Consulting Producer Jecca Barry and an exciting group of intersectional artists. UP UNTIL NOW COLLECTIVE’s work has recently been commissioned by Broadstream media and profiled in the New York Times and their video for Georgia, part of SOUL(SIGNS): AN ASL PLAYLIST will be presented on 80+ screens in Times Square as part of the Midnight Moment series every night in July.
In the summer of 2021, Brandon is also curating accessibility initiatives as the Lead ASL Interpreter for The Shed and Little Island. Brandon’s social justice work as an interpreter was recently featured on CNN and they will appear in a co-starring role in CBS’ The Good Fight this summer.
Catch Brandon’s most recent group of performances at The Park Avenue Armory’s production of “Deep Blue Sea” in collaboration with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane company.
Brandon has also recently been named as a recipient of the New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project grant: A $56,000 award devoted to the ASL Dance Theatre reimagining of Andrew Lippa’s WILD PARTY.
Yo-Yo Lin 林友友 is a Taiwanese-American, interdisciplinary media artist who explores the possibilities of self-knowledge in the context of emerging, embodied technologies. She often uses video, animation, live performance, and lush sound design to create meditative ‘memoryscapes.’ Her recent body of work reveals and re-values the complex realities of living with chronic illness and intergenerational trauma.
She creates openings into these realities in the form of spaces, performances, or tools. Her practice often facilitates sites for community-centered abundance, developing into physical and virtual media installations, workshops, accessible nightlife parties, and artist collectives.
She was a 2019 Artist in Residence at Eyebeam, a 2020 Open Call Recipient for The Shed, and the 2021 Red Burns Fellow at NYU Tisch ITP/IMA. She has shown works at international multimedia art galleries (Human Resources, Lincoln Center, La Corte Contemporanea), film festivals (New York Film Festival, SXSW), performance venues (Gibney Dance, Ars Nova), and conferences (Allied Media Conference). Her work has been featured on NOWNESS, Art in America, and Surface Magazine. She is the co-founder of ROTATIONS, a collaborative movement practice working towards deepening our understanding of artistry, disability, and access.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Yo-Yo now lives and works in New York City.
(b. Costa Rica, Garífuna descendant) Christopher “Unpezverde” Núñez is a Visually Impaired Choreographer, Educator, Activist, Curator and Accessibility Consultant based in New York City. His performances have been presented at The Brooklyn Museum for The Immigrant Artist Biennale, The Kitchen, Movement Research at The Judson Church, The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, Battery Dance Festival, Performance Mix Festival, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Dixon Place, among others. His work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, The Dance Enthusiast and The Archive: The Leslie-Lohman Museum bi-annual journal. He has held residencies at New Dance Alliance (LiftOff, 2018), Battery Dance Studios (Space Grant, 2017-2019), The Kitchen (DAP, 2019) and is currently an Artist In Residence at Center for Performance Research (AIR, 2020-2021) and Movement Research (2020-2021 Mertz Gilmore Foundation Artist-in-Residence). As a performer, his most recent collaborations include “Dressing Up for Civil Rights” by William Pope L, presented at MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art and “La Procession” by Nacera Belaza presented at Danspace Project. Núñez was invited to share his story as a queer, disabled and formally undocumented artist during Immigrant Heritage Week 2020 by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Núñez received his green card in 2018 but he continues to be an advocate for the rights of undocumented immigrants, particularly those that identify as disabled and queer. He holds a BFA in Science in Performing Arts from the National University of Costa Rica.