The American Sign Language Dance Theatre Project
Brandon Kazen-Maddox is a director, editor, choreographer and a third-generation native signer of American Sign Language who, through their multimedia ASL production company Body Language Productions, collaborates with and provides opportunities for deaf artists who share a passion for bringing artistic works to the stage, screen, and beyond.Artist Bio
The American Sign Language Dance Theatre Project reimagines Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party, creating a world in which authentically-represented Deaf and signing dancers embark on a musical, textural, and gestural journey through the seedy underbelly of the Deaf community during the Prohibition era of the “Roaring ‘20s.” In reconceiving the story of one wild evening in the New York apartment shared by a vaudeville dancer and a clown, this version reacts to language deprivation, educational inequity, and the sociological oppression of Deaf people and underscores the importance of Black, trans, disabled, and Deaf lives.
Brandon Kazen-Maddox is a Grandchild of Deaf Adults (GODA) and third-generation native signer of American Sign Language (ASL) who identifies as a Queer, Nonbinary, Black Indigenous Person of Color. From 2010 to 2017, Brandon worked as a professional circus acrobat in San Francisco, CA and honed their circus training and dance technique through various collaborations in theatre, film and opera. In May 2019, Kazen-Maddox graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in Dance and New Technology and currently works as a professional artist, choreographer, director, editor and certified ASL interpreter both in New York City and remotely. Alongside fellow co-founders and members of Up Until Now Collective, a newly-established non-profit organization focused on radical empathy and inclusion, Kazen-Maddox collaborates with and provides opportunities for Deaf artists who share a passion for bringing artistic works of ASL Dance Theater to the stage, screen and beyond. Within their commitment to creating work for and with the Deaf community, Kazen-Maddox also highlights and empowers BIPOC and LGBTQAI+ artists, building multicultural bridges of collaboration and community for artists of all backgrounds and abilities.
Kazen-Maddox and Up Until Now Collective were recently commissioned by Broadstream, a brand-new streaming platform that launched in September 2021, to create 10 ASL music videos featuring iconic songs by Black women, which was recently featured in the New York Times and will be featured in the Midnight Moment in Times Square in July 2022. Kazen-Maddox served as the lead liaison for providing ASL Services at The Shed, Little Island, and the Park Avenue Armory, where they are bringing Deaf Directors of ASL into the inner workings of the arts organizations themselves and integrating both the Deaf perspective and Deaf performers themselves onstage, on camera and behind the scenes. Kazen-Maddox’s work as an interpreter and social activist has been featured on CNN and they have appeared as a co-star in The Good Fight for CBS, High Maintenance for HBO, and New Amsterdam on NBC. They are also a recipient of the New England Foundation for the Arts Grant and have recently worked alongside Raja Feather Kelly at New York Live Arts, providing ASL interpretation through their performance interpreting company, Body Language Productions.
Photo: Marcus Shields