Benedict Nguyen is a writer, dancer, and arts advocate currently based in the South Bronx, NY. They currently serve as an administrator for Donna Uchizono and Jennifer Monson. A member of the National Center for Choreography's year-long laboratory on dance writing, Benedict has written for the Brooklyn Rail, Critical Correspondence, and In Dance. They've performed with Monstah Black in Hyperbolic! (The Last Spectacle), among other projects. Their fiction writing has been supported by an AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship. @bennybooboo_
The author in Nick Mauss' Transmissions at the Whitney Museum. Photo by Paula Court
During a period when I was intentionally taking a step back from performing, I was especially sensitive to the question, "So, are you auditioning for things?" Besides the insecurity of being a freelancer not hustling in that way, I also rankled at the complexity of what it means for a non-binary performer to audition.
To put it bluntly, there aren't many safe opportunities for us. That's because so many audition listings include gender-exclusionary phrases, so trans and non-binary artists either aren't eligible to show up or aren't sure whether or not they'd be welcome.
Dancers are more than just vessels performing set material. We make contributions to creative processes all the time. Some of these are obvious: We often improvise material or generate entire phrases to be incorporated into a work. Others are more innocuous: Dancers are sometimes asked to give feedback that ends up shaping the composition of a work.