Headlands Center for the Arts

Freddy Gutierrez & David McKenna

California & United Kingdom | performance/choreography/dance
Artist in Residence Program 2019

Artist Statement

We first worked together in 2017, when David obtained an Artist International Development Fund grant for and artist exchange from Arts Council England. David worked for 8 days with The Artistic Ensemble (the performance group Freddy directs) at San Quentin State Prison. He taught movement technique rooted in parkour and contact improvisation to inside ensemble members, and choreographed original work. We also collaborated on fusing movement and text, Freddy’s specialty. This collaboration continued when Freddy traveled to work with David at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, Wales, where we facilitated poetry and dance sessions.

In our time as individual artists, spanning a combined 35 years, we have created breathtaking, expressive, and intensely physical performance in collaboration with artists and community participants. We support and challenge people, creating communities of artists that reflect their own experience in dance, film, words, and theater. Through empathy, care, and sensitivity, David’s movement practice aims to create life-changing experiences. Through agency, access, and critical consciousness, Freddy’s word practice aims to develop well-informed citizen artists. Our work with incarcerated males is a binding tie, where we share a special purpose and commitment to employing performance as a tool for positive male socialization.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands, we will we will have the convenience to develop our creative-collaborative methodology, which incorporates movement and word. The location of Headlands gives a particularly unique opportunity for David to access the Artistic Ensemble in San Quentin Prison (AESQ) where we can try out some of our findings, sharing them with inside members, and continuing ongoing support. As well, the location offers proximity for viewing creative work in the greater Bay Area. The residency offers a ripe environment to explore creative collaborative ideas and create scratch work for further development both in the US and the UK.

Continuing the work that we started in Wales in 2017, we will explore the themes of belonging, place, and experience, with particular intersections of masculinity and mental health. This will result in a small collection of devised work with AESQ members.

Selected Works