who are we?
We are a queer led, BIPOC centered, collaborative collective of artists that play with the ideas of what is dance, what is theatre, and what is "good".
photo by Justin Locklear
Very Good Dance Theatre is a collective of professional performance artists. We work collaboratively, devising movement and text with each other, to create work somewhere between the scope of dance and theatre. We seek to explore, experiment with, and expand what performance art can be and do while questioning what gives it value and why.
Our work seeks to reflect the gray areas and/or the intersectionality of the human experience, and we magnify this by working in and out of multiple disciplines of performance. At our core we value individuality, experimentation, failure, imagination, and eventual triumph—all with an emphasis on collaboration. We view theatre as a puzzle and each person involved (dancer, singer, actor, mover, shaker, maker, and viewer) holds a special, and vital, piece of that picture. Without each other our picture lacks clarity, color, and meaning. It is through our differences, and not in spite of them, that we can find connection to others.
(not so) Simply put: there are as many ways to be as there are people, and this infinity is not chaos, it is what unifies us. We make work rooted in that infiniteness, and that infiniteness is full of goodness.
Additionally, we know that art is and always has been a catalyst for change, and so we are always working at the intersection of art and activism. We are artists from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, artists of varying races, artists of varying sexual orientations, and artists of varying genders, so we believe that we can never overstate the importance of using our art to highlight injustice and inequity in a way that is honest and genuine. We make work that shows the world as it is, and so sometimes that means creating about uncomfortable truths. However, we also imagine the world as it could be in the hopes that these dreams we speak into existence one day become realities.
We are mourners and celebrators. We are students and teachers. We are speakers and listeners. We are artists. We are creators.
We are humans, and we like to think we're pretty good at that ... or uh- very good.
The mission of Very Good Dance Theatre: a collective of performance artists, is to cultivate community, collaboration, and encourage conversation across diverse groups of people through a playful approach to experimental dance and theatre. Our goal is that our work constantly challenges perceptions of what dance should be, what theatre should do, and what gets deemed "good" to inspire a radical, fully holistic, and more equitable understanding of what performance art(ists) can be and do.
We know that dance and theatre hold the power to educate, empower, and unite. Our vision is that Very Good Dance Theatre's work will offer new ideas, spark conversation, and inspire relationships and collaboration across diverse communities both locally and nationwide.
We dream of strong communities that possess the tools to communicate effectively with one another. We dream of people united in celebration of their differences and a world that works collaboratively towards liberation for all.
Very Good Dance Theatre was founded by Colby Calhoun in the summer of 2018, appearing on stage for the very first time at FIT Underground with Elephant Antonyms. Afterwards, we returned to the Festival of Independent Theatres (FIT) as a part of the 2020 festival on the mainstage with The 1st Annual Gay Show which featured 5 queer performers of color and devised their personal stories into a beauty pageant of sorts which revealed the failures, the dangers, the pain, the beauty, the triumphs, and the diverse truths of living as a queer person of color in America. F.A.G.S. went on to be featured as "Best Physical Theatre of 2019" by Frank Garrett at TheaterJones, showing the power of pushing boundaries and affirming our passion for the work we had just begun to make. Our work has always featured voices from the margins of our society while telling stories that are meant to uplift these communities, ask questions about why our world is the way it is, and start conversations about what we can do and must do for one another.
Since 2018 Very Good Dance Theatre has been asked to return to a virtual version of FIT in 2019, selected to participate in AT&T PAC’s 2020/21 Elevator Project Season, and was chosen amongst the first cohort of Artists In Residence at Arts Mission Oak Cliff in 2021.
Very Good Dance Theatre continues to make work as an independent theatre group through festivals, residencies, and other opportunities like this.