Tabula Rasa Dance Theater
Tabula Rasa Dance Theater was founded in 2018 by artistic director Felipe Escalante with a diverse group of dancers from 9 different countries. The company is concerned with the pressing social justice issues of our times, and with the historical precedents for them. Because Escalante believes choreography must elicit powerful and sometimes difficult emotional responses, TRDT’s pieces have explored the inhumanity of mass incarceration, the brutal practice of conversion therapy, the devastation of gender-based violence, the invisible disabilities caused by the insidious omnipresence of social media, the psychological distress induced by pandemic lockdowns, the plight of refugees, and more. We are in a constant process of learning and searching, questioning what is meaningful in our art and our lives. Our work motivates audiences to examine their values and help repair our damaged society, with the aim of creating a better environment for future generations. Escalante’s dancers are trained to become masters of their physical bodies, and to express ideas and feelings clearly, with pristine technique. To find truth in movement, we observe gestures found in everyday life, study the locomotion of animals, and explore dance forms from multiple cultures and periods. As Escalante’s approach to dance-making is experimental and nonformulaic, he and his performers take many risks, both artistically and physically.