Quartet With Three Gay Men (2006)

Greenberg created Quartet with Three Gay Men as a companion piece for the 2006 revival of Not-About-AIDS-Dance. The title of the dance represents a strategy to overlay the work with ideas relating to sexuality and gender, while still remaining very much a movement exploration.

His first dance with only men, QW3GM was also the first of Greenberg’s works to expand on his movement-making process by utilizing source material culled ‘verbatim’ from videotaped improvisations of all the performers (previously he recorded only his own). This evolution in his process in effect decentralizes and expands the movement palette, while the strategy of striving to create a specific form reveals each dancer’s deep individuality and idiosyncrasies, exposing the distinct ways each dancer bumps up again, cannot truly ‘fit,’ the form.

Quartet With Three Gay Men premiered at Dance Theater Workshop in New York City.
11 minutes, four dancers
Music: Zeena Parkins, Ru Paul
Lighting Design: Michael Stiller
Costumes: David Quinn
Originally Performed by: Neil Greenberg, Luke Miller, Antonio Ramos, Colin Stilwell

  1. “The four men occupied the stage like beads fallen from a necklace, disconnected but somehow still parts of a whole.”
    Claudia La Rocca, The New York Times
  2. “… it’s a fantastic dance…like a prism breaking Greenberg into four avatars who render his spacious movement with luscious, queerforward simplicity. Oh, did I mention it’s only 11 minutes? Brevity, the soul of wit.”
    Eva Yaa Asantewaa, InfiniteBody
  3. “There is something languidly sensuous about this work and the spiraling fluidity of its four men…
    With music and movement layered just right, Greenberg achieves what seems to be his forte, deftly assembling the strata of a dance so that new meaning peaks through when we least expect it.”
    Siobhan Burke, ballet.magazine
  4. “Without ever making direct contact with each other, the dancers are at once engaged in an intimate exploration of their personal movement and aware of each other’s presence…
    The title of the piece itself plays with the audience: three out of the four men performing on stage, we are told, are ‘gay men’. What does that mean for the spectator? Are any of them performing ‘gay’ movement more ‘authentically’? Greenberg plays with us and simultaneously brings to the forefront important issues, both in the dance world and in performance at large.”
    Andy Horwitz, Culturebot

THE COLLABORATORS

ZEENA PARKINS

Zeena Parkins, sound artist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, improviser-is well-known as a pioneer of the electric harp, and has also extended the language of the acoustic harp with the inventive use of unusual playing techniques, preparations, and layers of digital and analog processing. Parkins accurately describes her electric harp as a ‘sound machine of limitless capacity.’ She has created numerous scores for film, video, chamber orchestra, theater and, especially, dance—receiving three ‘Bessie’ awards, including a 2007 ‘Bessie’ for sustained achievement as a composer for dance. Her music melds and highlights opposites, blurring boundaries between improvised and composed, acoustic and electric, digital and analog, and processed and concrete sounds. She has collaborated with Greenberg since 1991.


MICHAEL STILLER

Michael Stiller has lit the work of choreographers and theater artists across the United States, Europe and South America. He has created lighting designs for all of Dance By Neil Greenberg’s productions since 1991, and received a 1995 ‘Bessie’ Award for his work on Not-About-AIDS-Dance. He has also served as designer or lighting director for concerts, talk shows, music videos and films. The last few years have seen his practice expand to include architectural lighting design and themed environment. He has been a guest lecturer at Pratt Institute, and is currently an adjunct professor in FIT’s masters degree program in exhibit design.

© Chris Woltmann
© Chris Woltmann

The creation of Quartet With Three Gay Men was made possible by support from the New York State Council on the Arts, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Purchase College Faculty Support Fund and individual contributors.