Very Good Dance Theatre & “TENANTS/TENETS: PLAYGROUND RULEZ”(Conjuring Joy at the Bride)

July 2, 2024
Dance, News, Theater

Conjuring Joy at the Bride artist-in-residence

Colby Calhoun/Very Good Dance Theatre, “TENANTS/TENETS: PLAYGROUND RULEZ”

Dance, theater, and afro-futurism

PLAYGROUND RULEZ is a moment to conjure up your inner child, let them loose into playful collaboration and competition, and reflect on the things we can learn from seeking joy together. During this movement workshop series we will play test dance theatre games that call on our collective senses of wonder and our individual willingness to fail – knowing someone else is there to pick us up when we fall and scrape our knees – in hopes that through these games we (re)learn the skills it takes to work better with one another.

We’re imagining our world(s) as places that center queer identities, reframing strangers as potential friends and future community, and kicking each other’s asses in afrofuturist-inspired dance-game pseudo-freeze-tag … or something like that?! PLAYGROUND RULEZ gives us a space to run/jump/leap/fall into the community members we want to be for ourselves and others.

Includes four free, public events – three theater/movement workshops and one interactive performance informed by the workshops. Space is limited, please RSVP below:

  • 8/4: back to the future/playground: conjuring of our childhood nostalgia, and a recounting of what we’ve kept with us (and maybe a question about how we use it)
  • 8/11: show & tell: we’re welcoming everyone to an “open house”, or rather to see the house we built together, or maybe it’s a sports match?! root for your favorite team! or player! or play with/against us?!


TENANTS/TENETS is a futurist dance theatre experiment that changes in each instance! Within the span of the performance The Ants (the performers) and The Tenants (that’s you!) generate a brand new society each night! Through heavy focus on an interview based devising process, which the audience also engages in, TENANTS/TENETS builds a world where the needs, wants, and dreams of Queer and Trans People of Color lie at the center. TENANTS/TENETS originally premiered in Dallas, TX as part of the AT&T PAC’s 2021 Elevator Project Series, now we’re returning to this work in 2024 at the Painted Bride through Conjuring Joy!

PLAYGROUND RULEZ allows us to develop this work collaboratively with our community, building our understanding of how we function as an ensemble, play with/against/for our audiences, and transition the skills we learn through our performance work into tools to catalyze change in our communities. PLAYGROUND RULEZ gives us a space to run/jump/leap/fall into the community members we want to be for ourselves and others. Open to movers, lovers, and/or dreamers ages 18+ of all levels of experience and ability.

Support for TENANTS/TENETS has been provided by The Velocity Fund administered by Philadelphia Contemporary with generous funding from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

– All workshops are FREE to attend, with an option to donate to the ensemble. All donations go directly toward funding original QTBIPOC performance work and community engagement.

– Masks will be provided, but please stay home if you’re feeling sick or have been exposed to COVID-19 with 72 hours of the workshop.

– Modifications for physical movement will be offered and can be made for all attendees, we encourage folx of all levels/experience with movement and performance to attend.

– Consent, personal autonomy, and acceptance is essential. No bigotry, violence, or violation of another attendee’s body or identity will be tolerated.

– This series is intended for adults aged 18+ due to potential mature themes and language.

Upcoming Events

Community Event

Conjuring Joy at the Bride

July – Sept. 2024
Community Event

Workshop: Embodying Anger (Conjuring Joy)

Sun, Jul. 21 from 11am-1pm

About the artist

From Very Good Dance Theatre: We are a queer led, BIPOC centered, collaborative collective of artists that play with the ideas of what is dance, what is theatre, and what is “good”. We devise brand new works of performance that traverse the genres of dance, theatre, and other performance discipline – always at the intersection of arts and activism. Very Good Dance Theatre (VGDT) was founded in 2018 as an artistic home for queer/trans & BIPOC artists in Dallas, TX, Texas at large, and now is expanding to find a similar home in Philadelphia, PA.

Since 2018, selected to participate in AT&T PAC’s 2020/21 Elevator Project Season, and was chosen amongst the first cohort of Artists In Residence at Arts Mission Oak Cliff in 2021. Most recently, in 2023, VGDT was award a BIPOC NWT grant from the Cannonball Festival for their Philadelphia premier, The Other Gardeners, and is excited to be in residency at The Painted Bride in 2024.

Very Good Dance Theatre continues to make work as an independent theatre group through festivals, residencies, and other opportunities like this.