With performances on pause, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Maxfield Haynes is back home in Louisville, Kentucky. While they're catching up on Netflix and doing Zoom classes like most dancers sheltering in place, over the past month, the Black, nonbinary ballet dancer has also been taking to the streets, using drag "as a tool for political action" at Black Lives Matter protests, they say.
As part of our "For Your Entertainment" series, Dance Magazine asked Haynes how they're celebrating Pride month and supporting BLM, and what they're watching, reading and listening to at home.
How they're celebrating Pride month:
By showing up to protests in various states of drag. I'm a Black, queer, nonbinary artist sheltering in place in Louisville, Kentucky, which is a little blue dot in a deeply red state. For me, simply existing here is an act of protest and expression of my pride.
Favorite quarantine hobby:
Working on my makeup skills. Painting is such a meditative practice for me. The precision that goes into playing with the features of my face provides endless hours of entertainment. It's also turned into a way to stay connected because I've got so many friends who do drag that I can get ready with over FaceTime as we just chat and kiki and listen to music.
How they're supporting Black Lives Matter:
I've been attending protests and demonstrations since they began in May. Activism looks different for everybody, but I recognize the power my presence has and the power in numbers.
I've also participated in conversations with other members of the dance community like Kim Braylock Olivier on @WorldWideBalletClass to discuss issues of intersectionality and systemic racism within the dance world.
I'm currently working on setting up a scholarship fund to support the next generation of BIPOC artists.
How they're staying in shape:
My friend Diego Cruz and old teacher Rubén Martín Cintas created World Wide Ballet Class which hosts classes on Zoom. They've connected me with so many old friends and familiar faces to take class from.
The dreamboat couple of Javi Perez and Victor Borbolla started a new fitness club on Instagram called @socialclubny that gets everything engaged and is keeping my mom and I fit during quarantine.
Also, Jaime Diaz's @balletandfitnesscoaching gives a crazy-intense HIIT workout.
Books they're reading:
I feel like I'm always in the middle of a three books at once.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is an excellent fantasy series. I've been obsessed with mythology ever since I was a kid, but never found a book that featured a pantheon of gods and goddesses that were rooted in a culture I could identify with until now.
Podcasts they love:
"Oh, Hello: the P'dcast" hosted by John Mulaney and Nick Kroll is absolutely hilarious.
"Shut Up Evan" is about gay sh*t and internet culture hosted by Evan Ross Katz, a notable fashion columnist and Twitter personality.
"The Dance Union" hosted by my friend J. Bouey is also a lovely podcast that exists as a place to share ideas, voice concerns and demand change within the dance community.
What they're watching:
"The Midnight Gospel." It's essentially a fantastically trippy adult cartoon that explores ideas of absolute/relative truth, existentialism, meditation, forgiveness, love and letting go. It's full of interesting lessons that I think the world could take a lot from.
"Pose" Season 2 gave me all the feels. Ryan Murphy is such a genius. I would love to work with him some day.
Laverne Cox's documentary Disclosure breaks down the history of trans representation in Hollywood through the lens of a trans person. It helps you take a walk in somebody else's shoes.
I recently rewatched Clueless and GOOD GOD, THE FASHION IS EVERYTHING!!! Something I learned from Andy Warhol by way of Raja Feather Kelly is that everything we learn about culture comes from film. Movies teach us how to think, how to act and how to react to things that play out in the real world. I really think so much of our modern culture is inspired by this film.
Oh, and Showgirls. Required viewing.
Haynes, here in heels, has also performed on pointe with Complexions.
Steven Trumon Gray, Courtesy Complexions
Who they're following on Instagram:
@indyamoore is 100-percent my girl crush. She's such a beautiful, vibrant soul and a true advocate for the Black trans community who shares information that we need to know about what's going on in the world.
@petshopboy's Instagram stories are hilarious, well-researched and insightful into so many parts of the queer experience.
@tenzmag showcases the BIPOC experience in NYC nightlife, the ballroom scene and queer culture.
Also, if you're not following @balletmoods yet, what are you waiting for!? It's 100-percent relatable content.
What they're listening to:
I make new playlists for every astrological cycle, and currently for Cancer season the vibe is really slowing down and accepting the world for what it is.
Marcos Valle's self-titled album from 1983 has been running on repeat, and transporting me to a beach somewhere in Brazil.
Lady Gaga's sixth studio album Chromatica. I'm particularly enjoying "Sour Candy," "Enigma," "Replay" and "Babylon."
Londrelle's most recent album Stay Free. It's a series of mantras of affirmation, love and acceptance that help me feel a little less scattered when it feels like everything is falling apart.
Also, I've gotta mention my girl, Nija Charles. She's produced songs for pretty much everybody major in the industry, with her most recent success being "Rain on Me" by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. We were at NYU together and it seems like everything she touches turns platinum. I literally can't help but stan.
TikTok in general has just been giving me life. Seeing the way that my generation mobilizes for political action over the app sparks so much joy.
And lastly, the ContraPoints YouTube channel: Natalie Wynn forays into the philosophy of subjects like the apocalypse, pronouns and opulence.