Ishmael Houston-Jones is an award winning choreographer, author, performer, teacher, and curator. His improvised dance and text work has been performed in New York, across the US, and in Europe, Canada, Australia, and Latin America. Drawn to collaborations as a way to move beyond boundaries and the known, Houston-Jones celebrates the political aspect of cooperation.
Houston-Jones and Fred Holland shared a 1984 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Cowboys, Dreams and Ladders, which reintroduced the erased narrative of the Black cowboy back into the mythology of the American west. He was awarded his second “Bessie” Award for the 2010 revival of THEM, his 1985/86 collaboration with writer Dennis Cooper and composer Chris Cochrane. In 2017 he received a third “Bessie” for Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other Works by John Bernd. Houston-Jones is the DraftWork curator for works-in-progress at Danspace Project in New York. He has curated Platform 2012: Parallels which focused on choreographers from the African diaspora and postmodernism and co-curated with Will Rawls Platform 2016: Lost & Found, Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now both at Danspace Project.
As an author Houston-Jones' essays, fiction, interviews, and performance texts have been published in several anthologies and in numerous journals and magazines. His FAT and Other Stories: Some Writing About Sex was published in June 2018 by Yonkers International Press.
Ishmael Houston-Jones sits on the Board of Directors of Movement Research and Performance Space New York and is a member of Middle Collegiate Church and Dias y Flores Community Garden. He has received awards from The Herb Alpert Foundation, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts and The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
Ishmael Houston-Jones received the 2019 Edwin Booth Award, given annually by the Doctoral Theatre Students’ Association of City University of New York which honors “an individual or organization that has had a significant impact on theatre and performance in New York.”