Taja Will (pronouns Taja/they) is a queer, Latinx (Chilean) adoptee, performer, choreographer, therapist and restorative justice facilitator based in the Twin Cities (MN), on the stolen and occupied Dakota lands of Wahpekute and Anishinabewaki. Taja’s approach integrates improvisation, somatic modalities, text and vocals in contemporary performance. Their aesthetic is one of spontaneity, bold choice making, sonic and kinetic partnership and the ability to move in relationship to risk and intimacy. Will’s work explores visceral connections to current socio-cultural realities through ritual, archetypes and everyday magic.
‘[She’s] after connection. Looking at Will is like opening the door to a fire: [she] glows’ Lightsey Darst for MN Artists
Will’s work has been presented throughout the Twin Cities and across the United States. Including local performances at the Walker Art Center Choreographer’s Evening, the Red Eye Theater’s New Works 4 Weeks, the Radical Recess series, Right Here Showcase and the Candy Box Dance Festival. Will is the recipient of a 2018 McKnight Choreography Fellowship, administered by the Cowles Center and funded by The McKnight Foundation. Will has recently received support from the National Association of Latinx Arts & Culture, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and was a finalist for Queer Art’s(NYC) Eva Yaa Grant for Queer Women(+) Dance Artists.
As a performer Will has collaborated with Sara Shelton Mann, Rosy Simas, Keith Hennessy, Aniccha Arts (Pramila Vasudevan), Deborah Jinza Thayer, Blake Nellis, Tim Rehborg, Off Leash Area, Vanessa Voskuil, Body Cartography Project and Miguel Gutierrez among others.
As an educator Will has been a guest teacher and adjunct faculty at several institutions across the United States. Will also works in healing justice as a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion consultant, conflict mediator and an advocate for artists in experimental forms, folx of color and the LGBTQIA2+ communities.
My work animates questions of identity.
I value seeing the body in a spectrum from virtuosic spontaneity to blunt gestural unison. My aesthetics insist on attention to revolving state-based material for example a sense of loneliness, or control, or tenderness, or humor, or dissonance, or ritual, or a combination; resulting in multi-dimensional layering of physical and vocal expressivity. Themes in my work comprise of collective humanity; how we exist in our mundane and extraordinary socio-cultural environments.
Identity is at the core of my values and how it unfolds defines my creative process. For Contact Quarterly, I wrote: “Folks with marginalized identities are somatically and psychically guarded, from generations past and a lifetime of systemic oppression; it is in the body and it will enter the dance.”