Anthony Alterio |
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Anthony Alterio

Bio

Anthony Alterio is a choreographer and queer performance artist. Currently on faculty in the Theatre & Dance Department at the University of Kentucky, he explores representations of effeminate gay men in pop culture as part of a larger interest in how dancers present themselves. Anthony works toward creating dance that goes beyond queer identity and heteronormativity, showing the struggle it takes to fit into a socially constructed norm. As a teacher, Anthony strives to create a community and challenges his students to move with intention and passion. His classes are a unique blend of studio hip hop, commercial dance and street dance. Anthony has performed solo work at universities and venues in California, Colorado, Michigan, and New York. He is also a company member of Interweave Dance Theatre, the resident company of the Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop. Anthony attended University of Colorado-Boulder, where he received a BA double-majoring in Dance and Psychology, as well as an MFA from the University of Michigan.

Artistic Statement

My current work investigates reflexivity between popular culture and gay male effeminacy, exploring gender norms and sexuality within dance and everyday performance. Artistically, this is refracted through the lens of my own identity, which spurns the limitations of social norms, lending my choreography idiosyncratic structures parading popular cultural references from history and the present.

The term “queer”often presents itself as a word meaning anything outside the heteronormative spectrum. Queer, for me, represents a diverse range of interruptions to the norm, igniting generative controversy in both homo-social and hetero-social environments. Leaving this term undefined makes it a breeding ground for creativity and growth. As a white gay cis-gender male, I try to learn more about queer culture and how my art and the human experience fit into/connect with relevant experiences that are shared by diverse communities. My choreography and research are energized by queer themes and personal experiences, using them to play on popular sentiments of cultures, societies,and hierarchies, constructing and disassembling a through-line for connectivity between communities. Using theatrical text and extensive research and exploration, I shift through different mediums and projects that lend my malleability to each project.

Training in various styles of dance has helped me to generate material that is truly unique to my aesthetic and queer lens. My relationship to an assortment of techniques gives way for my body, as well as my dancers, to delve into an extensive range of material. A love for rhythms, driving music, and spectacle has led meto teach and choreograph in the styles of Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Contemporary. Beginning from a place of exploration I let both narratives and more abstract themes emerge and shape ongoing discoveries towards performance. My use of props, a scenic set and a varied collection of popular music are manipulated and smashed together, giving the audience tools for placing bodies into context and then pushing them out of it. I am interested in how recognizable cultural objects can allow us to tap into audiences’ kinesthetic empathy and nostalgia to direct them towards emotional reactions. My work swims in excess, it needs to lead to a variety of spectacles that celebrate the body in all discernible and indiscernible forms.

My work aims to share suppressed subculture and reaction to the world around me to create an unrepeatable moment in time, giving light to things that are unknown in the here and now/the present, that people will remember eternally.

Teaching Philosophy

Helping to facilitate a student’s true self-expression and exploration is my primary objective and intent as a teacher and mentor. By unmasking vulnerability through recognition of one’s own potential along with desired goals, I combine dance and movement to show how the combination can create a safe place to explore one’s aspirations. A large part of my philosophy centers around developing a mindset of positive intention and attitude through dance. By asking challenging questions of social norms and recognizing their constructed nature, I focus on the unveiling of constructed social norms in order to lead students to new information and potential world views (not only in dance). I invest in my students’ personal growth as dancers and humans.

I use dance as a form of identity expression/exploration and strive to teach my students that it is important to connect mind and body, whether it be in technique or improvisation. Any movement or creative practice can be valid as a representation of an idea or one’s self in art and the world. By demonstrating and providing students the means to gain skills, I work closely with each individual to help them in moments where hesitation arises. Beyond learning the steps, skills, and techniques it takes to be a proficient dancer, I want my students to understand it takes more than displaying the body as choreography. Outside approaches can make choreography passionate and emotional, helping to connect viewers to performances through kinesthetic empathy. This is what I teach and believe is necessary to make a good dancer and performance be at it’s fullest potential.

Class is a time for productive failure, a time for exploration, a time to learn about one’s own body and to experiment and research new things–just as everyday life is. I create situations in and out of the classroom where students learn or gain access to artistry. One example is asking students regularly to watch their classmates perform combinations and comment on what they saw in their classmates’ performance. Observing diverse qualities of movement, timing, and dynamics of individual style can be just as effective as replicating it on one’s own body. I ask them to elaborate on what they are drawn to and to note what they want to add to their own movement and why. In addition, I want my students to connect with each other. Dance, throughout history, has brought people together and I strive for that to be true for my classes as well.

When I enter a classroom it is always with the intention to make it a safe space for learning and self-expression. When teaching students I offer them my knowledge and ask them to venture into their own discoveries. If theory or technique does not stick, my goal at the very least is for my students to know they can be expressive of who they want to be in my classes and the world at large. I will always be there to help them through any struggle, providing guidance to reach their goals and being a support as they gain a deeper understanding of their own identity.

Bachelor of Fine Arts

University of Colorado, Boulder

Master of Fine Arts

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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