I am a dance maker, a movement facilitator, and a choreographer. I am a queer artist. I develop methods to fully inhabit the body, increasing sensitivity and awareness while creating a deeper engagement with the world. My practice is one of relationality. As a community builder, I bring people together through movement to experience being embodied together. I approach training through the cultivation of attention and curiosity. I work from the premise that all aspects of existence are inextricably linked and activated by the movement of a larger universal body. Engaging with this force strengthens self-understanding and allows artistic newness and possibilities to arise.
Butoh is my dance/performance practice, both improvisation and choreography. This dance form emerged from Japan at the time of the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. In its creation, Butoh pushed against Western influence dominating the region and, with it, its dance ascetic, spreading across the globe; to this day, it still does. Instead of trying to fix dance into place, Butoh seeks to unfix it and show its wild and transformational nature. It values the development of presence, spaciousness, and stillness alongside movement. Butoh is taught worldwide yet remains a relatively niche dance expression. I am one of a handful of teachers of this work in North America. I have studied for twenty years with Denise Fujiwara and our master teacher, Natsu Nakajima. Nakajima was the first female butoh dancer and choreographer.
I am a third-generation American by blood, Mexican, and Spanish. I was adopted through ceremony into Lakota Sioux traditions in my early twenties. I have been participating in Sundance, one of the seven high ceremonies of the Lakota people, for twenty-five years. Traditionally, this is not something a Sundancer speaks about; however, as I navigate the complexities of the art world, I find myself in situations where I must divulge information that requires a certain level of opacity to maintain its integrity. My participation in ceremonial dance informs how I approach life, my understanding of movement, and my place in creation. My artistic expressions are translations of an ongoing conversation with the spirit world.
I dance to illuminate our entanglement with creation’s steady and present unfolding. I shed conventional ideas of what dance should be, shifting energy toward what it is moving toward and has yet to become. The cultivation of the moving body reveals relationships between objects, space, and time. Through the rigor of practice, patience, and kindness, trust in embodiment grows, allowing instinct, creativity, and clarity to resound. This approach to choreography is how I confront colonialism and white supremacy within the patriarchal designs inherited through Western dance methodologies and amplified through collective cultural trauma. This is how I move alongside the unknown, with adaptability to the present moment and movement infused with curiosity and palpable presence.
Meshi Chavez holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of the Arts. Through 2021 – 2023, he was Artist In Residence at Middlebury College, where he taught full-time and created artistic works. His career has spanned two decades, allowing him to teach, present, and perform nationally and internationally. His work is predicated on the concept that creativity is our birthright. Through the discipline of training the mind, body, and spirit, we learn to claim this creative force and build from there. He has taught at Schumacher College and Middlebury College, where he choreographed Dance Company Middlebury 2019-2020. His choreography has been presented at The Joan Mitchell Foundation in New Orleans. Chavez is co-founder of Momentum Conscious Movement, where he has been creating in-person and online, ongoing adult movement education programs for more than 20 years. He works internationally with author, scholar, and theologian Matthew Fox, teaching Movement as Meditation with a recent online course through The Shift Network. His mentors include choreographers Denise Fujiwara, Natsu Nakajima, Donna Faye Burchfield, and Thomas DeFrantz. He believes cultivating creativity, strengthening curiosity, and embracing the unknown is the secret to making an artful life.
“Meshi is an extraordinary teacher who teaches with heart, head, and body and from a deep place where Spirit moves, awakens, and heals. Students, of course, love him!” Matthew Fox