Jumatatu Poe

Wednesday, May 13th 11am-1pm
Tuesday, May 19th 11am-1pm
Wednesday, May 27th 11am-1pm Co-teaching with Michelle Boulé


The Switching

In this class, we will practice an improvisation strategy that I have been figuring for the past couple of years. I like to imagine that this practice, The Switching, is a strategy in immediate evolution through transubstantiation. I began to practice The Switching in relation to dealing with my curiosities around and frustrations with a question I obsessed over: “Can I change myself?” Our practice will deal with essentialization - kind of through the immediate design of creatures, or ways of being. There are aspects of the practice that will deal with significant restrictions on choice and control, as we try to find ranges of freedom within stringent limitations. For me, there is something deeply spiritual about it, something confusing, something humbling/humiliating about it. I feel like it has theoretical links to code switching, especially as it has to do with my Blackness and queerness, experiences of immediate compartmentalization/contextualization as a defense mechanism, as a means of survival. Like much of what I practice these days, I am interested in how The Switching can help me to figure out something about being a “good” member of this world, and hopefully how to propose other realities. Please join me! I encourage all bodies, all gender expressions.

photo by Tayarisha Poe


California-born/bred, Philadelphia-based choreographer and performer Jumatatu Poe grew up dancing around the living room and at parties with his siblings and cousins. Spending childhood on college campuses as the child of teaching academics, his early exposure to concert dance was through African dance and capoeira performances on these campuses, but he did not start formal dance training until college with contemporary African dance. His style continues to be influenced by various sources, including his foundational training in those living rooms and parties, his early technical training in contemporary African dance, his rigorous studio practices of American and European modern/contemporary/improvisation techniques, and his recent sociological research of and technical training in J-setting. Poe frequently produces dance and performance works with idiosynCrazy productions, a company he founded in 2008 and now co-directs with Shannon Murphy. Since 2012, he has been engaged in a shared, multi-tiered performance practice with NYC-based dance artist Jesse Zaritt. Since 2011, he has been training under and performing with J-Sette artist Jermone Donte Beacham. Previously, Poe has danced with Marianela Boán, Silvana Cardell, Tania Isaac, Charles. O. Anderson/Dance Theatre X, Marissa Perel, Leah Stein, Keith Thompson, Kate Watson-Wallace, and Kariamu Welsh (as a member of Kariamu & Company). As a performer, he also collaborates with Merián Soto. Poe is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Swarthmore College.

photo by Tayarisha Poe