MADBOOTS DANCE on Making Moves from a Queer Lens

by Laura Diffenderfer

MADBOOTS DANCE is one of the most exciting new dance companies to emerge in recent years. The company’s leaders, Austin Diaz and Jonathan Campbell, “are making a unique mark on concert dance with highly original movement that pushes skill and stamina to the limit,” says Dance Magazine. We sat down with them to learn more about their unique perspective, and their upcoming debut at The Joyce Theater.


Austin: MADBOOTS DANCE is an all male contemporary dance company that mines topics of queerness and male identity in an athletic yet intimate way.

MADBOOTS is performing at The Joyce Theater in Chelsea for the first time. What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming shows?

Jonathan: If sharing our work at The Joyce wasn't a big enough honor, the fact that we are performing during Pride Week in the heart of Chelsea couldn't make us any happier. It's one of those "right place, right time" kind of moments for us.

You are performing two works in your upcoming Joyce program, Masc and Gay Guerrilla. Can you tell us something about each work?

Austin: MASC is an intimate portrait about being seen, a deconstruction of masculinity, and GAY GUERRILLA is a celebration of [minimalist musician] Julius Eastman's sublime work. It’s a re-painting of an American image that was lost.

Queer identity and culture is at the heart of MADBOOTS. Was this a part of the company’s identity from inception? Is there an ongoing conversation in the company about what it means to be making work from this perspective?

Jonathan: To be perfectly honest, no. Over time, our personal traumas and histories started to penetrate the work and it just made sense to dive into who we are and what we've experienced. We fully intend to continue creating works that ask what it means, for us, to be queer — the beauty, the pain, the struggles and the victories.

Catch MADBOOTS DANCE on stage at The Joyce Theater Jun 19-23, during the theater’s NYC Pride celebration, which also features the work of trailblazing trans choreographer Sean Dorsey.