Ralph Lemon, Bebe Miller, Ishmael Houston-Jones, November 2018

Photos by Dan Merlo, October 2018

Last fall, I asked Ishmael Houston-Jones how he felt about being repeatedly asked to speak about experimental and improvised dance of the late 1970s–1990s in downtown New York. Dance history is now regularly examined for the perspectives it has omitted; I wondered if this question was related to his being one of few black dance artists in that scene. Ishmael’s answer was indirect but practical, just like his style of movement: “You know, I’ve never actually performed with Ralph and Bebe. I’d love to do that.”

As the three artists and I began to discuss Relations, it seemed their pasts might be understood more effectively by looking at their dancing bodies in the present—acknowledging where they’ve been, how they create together, and where they will move next. It’s an honor to present them on the Museum of Contemporary Art Stage and in Chicago. Their improvised performances are truly a reunion, as together they navigate their relationships and their artistry.
— Tara Aisha Willis, Associate Curator of Performance, 10/2018