Raja Feather Kelly

Brooklyn, NY

Raja Feather Kelly breaks complicated text into three-dimensional movement landscapes. Inspired by Andy Warhol’s philosophy and aesthetic as a model for repetition, iconography, and cinematic sensibilities, Kelly amplifies mundane, pedestrian movement into scientific and virtuosic choreography. His work appropriates the structures, themes, and aesthetics found in reality television, celebrity culture, and social media, then deconstructs them into new works which combine dance, theater, and visual media. He aims to challenge his audience and collaborators to collectively recognize, interrogate, and celebrate their own implication in popular media: how media has trained and molded their desires, relationships, and identities.

Kelly’s choreographic credits include seven evening-length works that were created and performed in NYC. Off-Broadway credits include choreography for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Lila Neugebauer, Susan-Lori Parks, Lilieana Blain-Cruz, Jim Findlay. Honors include a 2017 and 2018 Princess Grace Award for Choreography, 2016 Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography, 2017 Bessie Schoenberg Fellowship, and the 2016 NYFA Choreography Fellowship.


Raja Feather Kelly breaks complicated text into three-dimensional movement landscapes, amplifying the mundane into scientific and virtuosic movement while interrogating our societal relationship to popular media.

Artist Bio

WEDNESDAY reimagines the film Dog Day Afternoon as a queer-fantasia where psychological realism meets pop soap opera at a cabaret club or a Speculative Dance-Theatre Documentary. In the show, members of Raja Feather Kelly’s dance-theatre-visual media company, the feath3r theory, take on the role of journalists in search of the real and true motivations behind the bank robbery in Dog Day Afternoon—money for a sex change [sic]. WEDNESDAY dismantles Dog Day Afternoon by recentering the story on a fantasy in which Liz Eden—for whom the character Leon in Dog Day Afternoon is loosely based—is the protagonist and the reason why the character Sonny conspires to rob a bank. In this performance, Eden stars in a cabaret act called “The Garden of Eden,” inspired by Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” at the nightclub, Wednesdays. This fantastical spin on the true-life saga is inspired by numerous articles that speculate Eden’s dream of writing a book, owning a discotheque, and performing a cabaret act at a nightclub—which she never got to do, even after receiving what is speculated to be somewhere between $25,000 and $50,000 for her role in inspiring Leon’s story line in Dog Day Afternoon. In this speculative documentary dance theatre queer-fantasia, comedy reveals tragedy in a “Theatrum Mundi” in which music, movement, and speech are inseparable.

Dance, Theater
Award Year