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Check Out Jeremy Hahn’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeremy Hahn.

Hi Jeremy, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Each moment and step on my journey became opportunities to practice awareness and equanimity. I am Queer, Gay, white, able-bodied, Millennial, working as a professional artist, scholar, and educator of Dance Theatre and Dance History in academia. As a vibrant canvas filled with inscriptions, I embody my personal positionality keeping me within the world and yet ‘I’ inhabit a Queer identity that is non-fixed and in between. Walking a liberatory path I align my leadership efforts with the intention of supporting myself and others in creative processes that foster self-discovery and temporal ensemble building. Living in a society that stigmatizes Queer bodies motivates me to gain deeper wisdom and cultivate present moment awareness in my art making process.

As an adolescence ostracized from the heteronormative paradigm, I began a quest for an embodied Queer performance practice and in-depth understanding of the arts and consciousness. This creative spark ignited formal academic pursuits with a BA in Studio Arts from Loyola Marymount University in 2004, an M.F.A. in Dance from California State University, Long Beach in 2013, and a 500-hour yoga instructor certification in 2016. My professional performance career began in 2004 including involvement in the arenas of performance art, dance theatre, site-responsive art, circus, and avant-garde opera. During this time, I performed at spaces and events such as: LACMA, Severance Hall, Baik Art, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Skirball Cultural Center, LIB, EDC, The Edison, Grand Park, Vibiana and many others. Gaining an interdisciplinary perspective from these processes informs my creative methodology weaving dance, ritual, and contemplative practice together for the purpose of cultivating an authentic embodied Queer presence on stage and in daily life.

My professional performance making process includes the use of ritual while exploring themes of Queer storytelling and identity. Working with musicians, vocalist, and dancers my methodology incorporating ritual into the rehearsal process grew during the Hothouse Residency in 2013. Inspired by the residency, SkyE, my creative/life partner, and I began making audience inclusive, site-responsive rituals throughout Los Angeles. These offerings featured an ensemble of performers including dancers, opera singers, live musicians, performance artists, historians, visual artists, poets, and actors. SkyE and I conceived Dances for the End of the World Ch.2 in 2016, an internationally recognized screendance celebrating Queer love and created in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida. SPIRITBODY (2016 – ongoing) is a solo durational installation exploring the embodiment of mystical Queer presence performed throughout LA notably at the Hammer Museum, The Brewery Artist Lofts, and the Annenberg Beach House.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My life as a Queer artist is a continual unfolding. The path has many beautiful valleys, distant oceans, sharp snow-covered peaks, and jungles of heteronormativity. Throughout the years engaged in many creative processes, I learned about patience as an artmaker. Living in a high paced digital world I felt the pressure to always be in state of production. This generative process sparked the creation of many exciting projects, but I found most recently during the pandemic a need to grow slowly. In 2020 I had to let go of a lot personally and professionally. Now in 2022 my visions are dissolving and reforming while feeling the echoes of a rigorous performance career. The time during stay-at-home orders contributed to my understanding that speed and constant output is unsustainable. Adaptability, resilience, and patience were major themes particularly during these past two years. As a Queer artist I faced stigmatization living in societies unaccepting of LGBTQIA+ people and as a result I am inspired to create artistic offerings that support the cultivation of self-discovery and joy.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
In 2013 I began facilitating a ritual-based improvisational movement ceremony called Cultivating the Expressive Body (CEB) at festivals, universities, theaters, community centers, and online during the pandemic. Since 2015, I have shared this work at Loyola Marymount University as part of the first-year writing seminar with an emphasis in contemplative practice. For three years beginning in 2016, I taught CEB consistently at the Camera Obsura Art Lab in Santa Monica. This Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion space is available to movers to explore through focused intentional dance, play, being in the joy of movement and features live improvisational music by SkyE.

Currently, these ritual-based ceremonies are tailored for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. In March of 2021 I facilitated “Dance and Queer Embodiment” a four-hour workshop based on the research and practice of CEB featured during the American College Dance Association digital year conference. This was an inclusive space for Queer bodies where dancers felt safe, seen, alive and embodied free from the tropes of prescribed gender identity as reinforced by their dance departments. I discuss my process and experience in a recently published co-authored essay with historian Peter Sebastian Chesney chronicling our embodied teaching practices during remote instruction through the pandemic. In October of 2021, I presented during the Dance Studies Association conference at Rutgers University. This multidimensional dialogue was a tactical disarming of hegemonic structures and internalized homophobia of Queer bodies through an embodied ritual-based practice utilizing Queer strategies and the imaginative potential of the psychic dimension. The surrounding research into ritual, Queer identity, and the movement practice of CEB motivates my continued contributions to the field.

I’m currently focusing on my writing, research, offering CEB ceremonies, cultivating my meditation practice, teaching dance courses in academia, and artistically collaborating with my partner as we design our gallery space ArtlandLA.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
This memory feels more like a fractal of dreams. I grew up frequenting the deserts of the Southwest. The colors, textures, sounds, scents, and landscapes of the indigenous land brought harmony to my bones. I mostly recall the s p a c e. The wideness of the landscape far away from the incessant pulse of the metropolis. Feeling the heat and touching the water, my essence was held. I recently spent ten days in the desert during a meditation program being with my breath and the expanse. Walking in the predawn I inhaled the aromatic scent of the cold damp mesquite trees in the desert and remembered my childhood smelling the same smell. My history merged with the present moment. I paused and smiled.

Contact Info:

  • Email: jmhahnart@gmail.com
  • Instagram @jands.arts
  • Website: jandsarts.com


Image Credits:

Hahn 3,5,8 photography by Stephan SkyE Hahn 7 photography by Joe Lambie

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