Adrienne Truscott

Doris Duke Impact Award, 2014

New York, NY

For more than 15 years, Adrienne Truscott—choreographer, circus acrobat, dancer, writer, and as of late, comedian—has been making genre-straddling work in New York City and abroad. Her neo-vaudevillian collaboration with Tanya Gagne, The Wau Wau Sisters, won Best International Act at the Brighton Fringe Festival (2008) and Best Cabaret at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival (2004). Her works have been presented at PS122, The Kitchen, Danspace, and Dance Theater Workshop, including the recent Too Freedom, an evening-length piece with people for hire that looks at the state of working, being watched or seen working. Truscott has taught at Wesleyan University Dance Department as a visiting artist, and guest taught at Sarah Lawrence College’s Theater and Dance Departments. Asking For It, a stand-up comedy about rape and rape “culture,” was presented by the The Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Spring 2014.

  • maKe, i mean (2011)
  • Adrienne Truscott's Asking For It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else (2013)
  • Too Freedom (2012)
  • maKe, i mean (2011)

What fuels your impulse to make creative work?

I learned how to and continue to make work in terms of choreographic composition, an early application of form that seemed to allow for the most broad investigation, loose interpretation, and varied possibilities. This impulse remains strong because increasingly live performance strikes me as the most radical way to re-engage people's attention—not just socially or politically, but personally, aesthetically, energetically; the most available way to trigger the act of paying attention. I engage many genres of live performance that look, act, and intend differently. I think my work is held uniquely in common by this understanding of composition, enabling it to remain clear while being complex, sophisticated while accessible, available yet mysterious, personally unique while layered in abstraction, entertaining yet rigorous and serious about being humorous. I have sought out different environments/mandates for my work rather than relegating it to specific economic, social, aesthetic, or geographic contexts. I am curious about how modes of presentation (i.e., experimental, international, commercial, or illegal venues) interact with different forms (dance, cabaret, circus, comedy) and how that can upend assumptions that often accompany these forms and their target audiences, respectively. I'm attracted to the possibility of failure as a mandate for rigor.