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Paula Josa-Jones/Performance Works

There are few who can establish themselves as original creative artists; what Paula Josa-Jones has done is to bring each aspect of the combined arts of equitation and dance into a new and sublime focus.
- Carly Simon

How can I express the majesty of your performance, the concept and the soul-drive choreography? I witnessed a miracle: the connection between horse and woman, the darkened earth beneath hooves and art. I wept when the dancer put her face to Norman's nostrils as if she were whispering to God.
- Carol Dine, author of Places in the Bone: A Memoir

Since 1985, Paula Josa-Jones/Performance Works has gained a national reputation for risk-taking, adventurous dance theater that explores the borders between states of being, including gender, species, past/present, movement/stillness, light/dark. The dancers and I create works that are visually rich, provocative and grounded a rich improvisational movement practice. We are committed to collaborations with artists in all disciplines, and to fostering relationships with an international creative community.

The horses have been part of our performance work for over twelve years. Poet, horse trainer and philosopher Vicki Hearne says that humans must learn to become "kinesthetically legible" to themselves in order to become legible to other creatures. By that she means that until we can decipher what our own bodies are expressing, we cannot really communicate with other beings. That is why I love horse dancing. It is about waking up to the ripples we transmit and the ripples we feel. The dancers and I have learned that in being better "herd-speakers," we can feel more clearly the connections we share with each other.

Touring Programs
Tours with 3-5 dancers/2-4 horses

Horse Dances  
1) Scarlet, Krump, Pony Dances, All the Pretty Horses

These dances are performed with 2-3 horses, two riders, four dancers and one vocalist in an indoor or outdoor arena.  The program is approximately 60 minutes in duration including a lecture demonstration on horse dancing. 

These dances are part of our Horses Helping Horses programming focused on bringing attention to issues of equine rescue and sanctuary. We often donate performances and educational activities to help equine sanctuaries both increase public awareness and raise funds for their rescue, rehabilitation and education programs.

If performed outdoors, these dances are mounted without theatrical lighting.  Lighting is optional in an indoor riding arena depending upon the time of day and available equipment.  Arena footing must be approved by Ms. Josa-Jones.  Technical specs available upon request.  

2) Flight

Flight is a 45- minute dance with four dancers, three horses and riders and one aerialist.  The rigging is by Flying with Floy.  This dance requires an indoor arena with a 36 foot clearance that allows for a truss and aerial rigging.  Technical specs available from Flying by Foy upon request.  

Human Dances
In addition to company repertory works, Ms. Josa-Jones performs a solo program, Little Fictions & Ragged Memoirs.  

In conjunction with workshops and a broad range of residency activities, Ms. Josa-Jones is available to create new work or mount repertory work for dance companies and university dance programs.


We are available for week-long and month-long residencies
Our activities include performances of dances for humans and/or horses, creation of new commissioned work, residencies, master classes and workshops.

Our goal with our teaching and residency work is to help others connect to their own delicious sense of embodiment through movement and improvisation.

Make a class with Paula a requirement! I learned more about myself and life and thinking and feeling in this class than I have in any experience I've had before.

Paula gave us more love and support than can be expected from any teacher. She gave each student her full attention, always offered correction, but never intruded upon our creative processes. And she knows more about dance than anyone I've ever come across.

Cookbook for the Bonehouse: a playful and strategic approach to movement, voice and performance. Over the past twenty-five years, I have developed a "cookbook" of wild play "recipes" to challenge and focus dancers.

Wild Play: a workshop for dancers and choreographers interested in deepening and expanding their dancemaking practice. Participants learn how to discover an authentic and compelling movement impulse and how to travel from that impulse to the creation of choreographic work without sacrificing freshness and heat.

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