Turbulence (a dance about the economy) Circo Zero

November 24–25, 2017

Presented as part of Circuit 3: Infrastructures and Aesthetics of Mutual Aid, Take Care

Purchase advance tickets online

Download the Circuit 3 micropublication featuring project descriptions, artist biographies, and full colour illustrations throughout.

Image: Circo Zero, Turbulence (performance still), 2010-2012.
Photo: David Visnjic. Courtesy the artists.

Turbulence (a dance about the economy)
Circo Zero
Friday, November 24, 8pm. Doors at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 25, 8pm, followed by a post-performance open discussion. Doors at 7:30pm.
Collective Space
221 Sterling Road, Unit 5, Toronto

Advance booking recommended—limited tickets available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.
General Admission: $15
Unemployed/underemployed: Free. PWYC donations at the door always appreciated.

Please book tickets online to avoid disappointment.


A collaborative creation, Turbulence (a dance about the economy) is an experimental hybrid of contemporary dance, improvised happening, and political theatre; it is a bodily response to economic crisis. Initiated before Occupy and engaging with questions of debt, value, and exchange, Turbulence is intended as both a provocation and an affirmation of global movements for economic justice. The work is instigated by San Francisco-based artist Keith Hennessy and produced by Circo Zero, an international performance company that Hennessy directs. Since its inception in 2010, Turbulence has received wide acclaim in the United States and Europe, and this is its premiere presentationin Canada, building upon Hennessy’s performance-lecture as part of the Blackwood Gallery’s 2016 exhibition, I stood before the source.

Turbulence plays with normative disruptions and calculated disregard for generally accepted rules of engagement. Itis a fractured and embodied narrative of economic unrest. Reflecting on disaster capitalism, debt, precarity, propaganda, torture, union busting, magic, collaboration, and war, Turbulence works across a range of performance modes that contemplate economic crises, contradictions, and frustrations. Turbulence engages the performers’ experiences and struggles by enacting varied responses to economic crises along race, gender, ability, and class lines. Throughout the performance, a sense of chaos, abjection, and failure is punctuated by moments of re-thinking, collaborative action, and resistance to power.

Turbulence is not only an experiment in performance but also in alternative modes of producing performance, positioning improvisation as both a survival strategy and a political tactic. Integrating new cast members as generative collaborators for local iterations, the work resists predetermined outcomes. This process of involving local performers supplements Turbulence’s conceptual underpinning: it provides the opportunity to build an international queer community in the face of precarity. For the Canadian presentation, performers have been selected with an eye to the diversity of lived experiences they bring to issues of immigration, settler colonialism, and accumulation by dispossession.

For Hennessy, Turbulence recognizes “the critique that contemporary dancers embody a neoliberal subject: dedicated to individual freedoms, we are always working and rarely paid; prioritizing career over community, we are internationally mobile, serving corporations that acknowledge us only as free content-providers… And still, we play, theorize, dream, and struggle in a queer utopia of our own collective imagining and embodiment. Without delivering a coherent critique or a totalizing vision of resistance and reconstruction, wehope to inspire public engagement, discussion, and action with regards to the economy, particularly its violence, corruption, and injustice.” [1]

Performers: Laura Larry Arrington, Ruairí Donovan, Empress Jupiter, keyon gaskin, Keith Hennessy, Jesse Hewit, Jassem Hindi, Jorge de Hoyos, Shaista Latif, Emily Leap, Allyson Mitchell, Julie Phelps, Brian Solomon, Gabriel Todd, Ravyn Wngz.

Production Manager: Alley Wilde



[1] Keith Hennessy, “Director’s Notes,” Turbulence: http://circozero.org/turbulence/.

Artist & Performer Biographies

Laura Larry Arrington is a dance-artist working in hybrids of idea and practice . Her work in dance (time/space/body/whole) pivots around a desire to orient towards the capacities in us all that can glimpse unseen and unutterable horizons. Her body is her life and her life is her work.

Jorge De Hoyos is an American dancer and choreographer from Southern California based in Berlin since 2012.  He studied Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and was active for five years in the dance/queer/etc. performance community in San Francisco. He has presented his work and performed in collaborative projects in both Berlin and San Francisco.

Ruairí Donovan has been making dances since 2008. He splits his time between Oileán Chléire, a remote Gaeltacht Island off the south coast of Ireland, and Amsterdam. His work has been presented internationally to critical acclaim at venues including SummerWorks Toronto, CounterPulse San Francisco, New York Live Arts, Project Arts Centre Dublin, Chapter Cardiff, HAU Berlin, TanzHaus Zurich, and Zodiak Helsinki. A language activist and a choreographer, he is making ritual objects for a tribe which doesn't exist.

Empress Jupiter is a two-spirit shamanatrix storyteller, performance artist, wordsmith, stylist, and fashion influence. Born in Houston, Jupiter now lives in Miss West Oakland. Jupiter has performed in a wide range of venues, with the mission to support queer and trans people in their self-esteem through fashion, ritual, and performance. Jupiter is the originator of Cunty Calisthenics, a communal improvised workout, and is the curator of the Miss Androgyny Pageant.

keyon gaskin prefers not to contextualize their bio with their credentials.

Keith Hennessy is a performer, choreographer, teacher, writer, and activist. Born in Sudbury, he lives in San Francisco and tours internationally. Ideas and practices inspired by anarchism, critical whiteness, punk, and queer-feminism motivate and mobilize Hennessy’s creative and activist projects. Hennessy directs Circo Zero, and was a member of the collaborative performance companies Contraband with Sara Shelton Mann, CORE, and Cahin-caha, cirque bâtard.

Jesse Hewit is a three-way cross between a diabolical valedictorian fratboy at a therapy intake session, a fussy-but-useful little baby bear who can make a fierce sandwich, and a really old and mostly unremarkable leather shoe. His work, curations, collaborations, and teachings have happened in various parts of the US and Europe, and he currently serves his local community as curator of Aggregate Space Gallery's Friction/Function series (Oakland), and as Program Manager for the ODC Theater (San Francisco). 

Jassem Hindi was born in Saudi Arabia and studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, Paris. As a performer and sound-maker, his work extends internationally , involving mostly politically engaged work and the study of strange objects. As a musician, he is using mainly broken machines and lo-fi field recordings, in the spirit of experimental music. He collaborates widely in writing, performing, and sound-making, and teaches various workshops about sound, performance, and theory.

Shaista Latif is a Queer Afghan-Canadian artist, writer, and facilitator. Her works have been actively presented in Canada by festivals and platforms like Ontario Scene, SummerWorks, Halifax Queer Acts, and Why Not Theatre’s RISER Project. Latif’s work centers on exploring the politics of inclusion and advocating for spaces and processes that support agency and care. She is currently artist-in-residence at STO Union and was named a 2016 Siminovitch Protégé. Her play Graceful Rebellions will be published in 2017.

Emily Leap was inspired by her work with Turbulence to enter into her own personal economics experiment. With one year left before graduation, she’s accumulated $150,000 in student loans. And counting. But soon she will be a doctor. Or merely an acupuncturist. Or a doctor of Chinese medicine. Or just in debt. Or fall back into work as an aging trapeze artist.

Allyson Mitchell is a maximalist artist working in sculpture, performance, installation, and film. Her practice melds feminism and pop culture to investigate contemporary ideas about sexuality, autobiography, and the body. Her works have been exhibited in galleries and festivals across Canada, the US, and Europe. She is based in Toronto, where she is an Associate Professor in the School of Women's Studies at York University. She runs FAG Feminist Art Gallery with Deirdre Logue.

Julie Phelps engages the hybrid strategies of producer, artist, and community activist to generate new knowledge for a world that is more complicated and less capitalistic. Phelps is the Artistic Director of CounterPulse in San Francisco, a performing arts venue and community hub. When not at work, Phelps is (literally) a mover and shaker in the field of contemporary dance, touring nationally and internationally as a speaker and dance artist.

Multiple Dora and Gemini Award-nominated Brian Solomon is of Anishnaabe and Irish descent, from the Northern Ontario community Shebahonaning-Killarney. Solomon is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and has an MA in Performance from the Laban Center (UK). He has presented his multidisciplinary works and performed for a multitude of companies and creators in Canada, the US, and Europe. He has taught for many arts institutions and companies, including H.F.S. Ernst Busch, Berlin.

Gabriel Todd is a dance- and music-based performing artist, choreographer, and sound designer living in Denver, Colorado. He received a BFA in Performance from Naropa University and an MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has performed and collaborated musically across the US and abroad with various artists. He is currently working on a collection of songs, texts, and dances called organ donor.

Alley Wilde is an arts and culture worker based in San Francisco. They create dance-based solo shows, perform drag as Hella Degenerate, and co-founded the queer performance collective Yum Yum Club. As an administrator, they work with Keith Hennessy/Circo Zero and Jess Curtis/Gravity doing grant writing, production management, marketing, and bookkeeping.

Ravyn Wngz is an African, Bermudian, Mohawk, 2Spirit, queer, and transcendent individual. Ravyn aims to challenge mainstream arts and dance spaces, sharing her stories while continuing to create opportunities for marginalized LGBTTIQQ2S people with a focus on African/Black communities. Ravyn is a co-founder of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company and the artistic director of Outrageous Victorious Africans Collective. Ravyn is part of the Black Lives Matter Toronto steering committee, a group committed to eradicating anti-Black racism, supporting Black healing, and liberating Black communities.


Turbulence is funded in part by the Jackman Humanities Institute Program for the Arts and USArtists International, a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the operating support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.


The Blackwood Gallery is grateful for additional support for Circuit 3: Infrastructures and Aesthetics of Mutual Aid from the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information & Technology (UTM); Jackman Humanities Institute Program for the Arts; University of Toronto Affinity Partners Manulife, TD Insurance, and MBNA; USArtists International, a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Women and Gender Studies (UTM).

Funding for additional staff support was made possible through the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations Graduate Internship program, Department of Canadian Heritage. The Canadian Museums Association administers the program on behalf of the Department of Canadian Heritage.