The Kennedy Center

Gesel Mason



Biography

Choreographer Gesel Mason combines dance and spoken word in excerpts from "No Less Black," her exploration of stereotypes and social images.

Gesel Mason is co-founder, artistic director, choreographer and performer for Mason/Rhynes Productions. She received her BFA and Teacher's Certification in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. While in Utah, Ms. Mason was a guest performer with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and toured Germany with the Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah. Ms. Mason spent two years in Minnesota where she was Dance Coordinator at Apple Valley High School, a member of Sam Costa's 10,000 Dances and performed for Dance Africa America as a member of Umoja, directed by Chuck Davis. She has also worked with Daniel Nagrin, Sardono Kusumo, Peter Pucci, David Hochoy and Doug Varone. She taught and performed in Poland, in 1995 with the Silesian Dance Theatre as part of the Minnesota Dance Exchange and again in 1999 with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. She has Worked with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange since 1996 and is still involved in special projects. Ms. Mason's work has been presented in Minneapolis, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Dallas, and the Kennedy Center. She has performed at the International Association of Blacks in Dance and was invited to attend the Bates Summer Dance Festival as an Emerging Choreographer. Her choreography has been commissioned by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, University of Maryland, University of Wisconsin, Sandra Organ Dance Company, Houston's High School of Performing and Visual Arts, and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. A native of Dallas, Ms. Mason enjoys the martial arts and furry little animals.

Cheles Rhynes (Lighting Designer) is co-founder and technical and managing director for Mason/Rhynes Productions. Mr. Rhynes has worked as a lighting designer, stage manager, and assistant director for the Pocket Sandwich Theatre in Dallas, TX for the past six years. He has toured with the Flying Karamozov Brothers and with Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. Since moving to Washington, DC, Mr. Rhynes has worked with Living Stage Theatre, DC Jewish Community Center, the Shakespeare Theatre, Georgetown Theater Company, Dance Place and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Currently, he is the technical director for the Jack Guidone Theater at Joy of Motion.

Holly Bass' (Narrator), work has been seen at the Kennedy Center, Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company, and The Studio Theater and published in Callaloo, and the upcoming Venus 2000 anthology. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and received a Masters Degree from Colombia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Ms. Bass has freelanced for the Washington City Paper and the Washington Post. She is a member of Carla and Co., and Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company Playwrights Group. She was recently awarded a fellowship from the National Arts Journalism Program that will put her in residence at Colombia University for the 2000-2001 academic year.

Mason Rhynes Productions (M/R Productions), with Gesel Mason as artistic director, Cheles Rhynes as technical and managing director, and Margo Miller as administrative director, believes in providing quality performing arts workshops, residencies, projects and performances designed to challenge, enlighten and entertain diverse audiences. Upcoming performances will present No Less Black, as part of a two week residence in Houston and one week at Virginia Commonwealth University. As an incubator and producer, M/R Productions assists independent artists and emerging performing arts groups by providing administrative, financial , artistic and technical theatre support, allowing the artist to focus on and fulfill their vision. With Cheles Rhynes as technical director, M/R Productions has assisted many DC area groups, including Ms. Mason's performances at the Kennedy Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Helanius Wilkins' hjw/DIMENSIONS Dance Company in St. Louis, Matt Jones' musical group, Bottomland at Dance Place and Sylvia Soumah's Coyaba Dance Theater performance at Dance Place and Reston Community Center in Virginia. M/R Productions also designs programs in conjunction with schools and community organizations that expose different populations to a variety of performing art disciplines. Currently, M/R Productions is working with Montgomery County's Juvenile Justice System as arts facilitators for Journey's Program. For more information call 202-722-0770.

Gesel Mason