Best Dance Performance/Troupe - 2008
Fresh Meat Productions
Thank goodness for choreographers like Sean Dorsey, who make movement accessible without ever dumbing it down for audiences. Dorsey is the artistic director of Fresh Meat Productions, a company that does away with weird multimedia flourishes, showy couture, and the abstract headiness of modern dance — instead choosing to pare down performances to their most basic components: pure emotion and a riveting narrative framework. Fresh Meat is cutting edge precisely because it doesn't try to be. The company was founded by Dorsey in 2001 in an attempt to remedy the lack of recognition of transgender artists in traditional art institutions. Fresh Meat puts on its own annual multidisciplinary festival and hosts a plethora of rotating exhibits, but it's the dance that tends to choke up sentimental audience members. Using a variety of movement modalities, Dorsey and performers meld storytelling with simple grace and athleticism. Performances are themed around everything from first kisses to deaths in the family — and they're always done with the kind of subtle humor and heartbreaking wonder that summon up the sense of gazing, with nostalgia and slight befuddlement, through a dusty windshield en route to the rest of your life.